Friday, April 9, 2010

Victor Wooten - Prasana Lay it Down in Mumbai, India

When four stalwart musicians gather, entertainment is guaranteed. But guitarist Prasanna, and bassist Victor Wooten were not touring just to entertain. Along with Bangalore Amrit (kanjira) and Dr. Karthick S (ghatam) their energetic ensemble toured Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai for a purpose. And, the purpose was to raise funds for the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (Chennai), a music school started by guitarist Prasanna.

Going back to the concert, the connection between Prasanna and Wooten was quite evident right from the start, be it through their performance, or some teasing each other through musical notes. One thing is for sure, Victor Wooten should be lauded for the way he adapted himself to carnatic scales and patterns.

Like their other concerts, their last leg in Mumbai was quite inspiring. While Prasanna, who is known for his carnatic chops, spell bounds you. Victor Wooten with his sturdy hands, slaps, picks, bends and churns notes after notes. The grammy winning bass player is certainly a music genius, both in technique and composition. In fact, there was a moments when Wooten was matching his bass to the intricate rhythms played by Dr. Karthick S on Ghatam, incredible stuff!

One of the biggest highlights of the concert was when Wooten treated listeners to an instrumental version of 'Yesterday' (Beatles) using a loop station.

A majority of the songs played through the concert were from Prasanna's album 'Be the Change'. He rocked, he rollicked, and he had listeners in awe with his ability to blend any genre into his trademark carnatic chops – be it blues, jazz, rock or Indian classical. Unassumingly, his technique and sound is so unique that you can probably notice it’s him on a record after hearing him just once. The other thing that makes Prasanna stand out from the rest is that at no moment one feels that his sound over powers other instruments in the band. However, he does go into those loud and dirty blues mode when he wants – but it's so well timed, it sends your heart racing.

There was one more unique thing about this ensemble, with Karthick S and Bangalore Amrit taking care of the percussion department, it literally drops the notion that 'one needs to have a drummer'. The duo is one of the best accompaniments a musician can ever have, they often threw bananna skins under the feet of Prasanna and Victor with their odd timed rhythms. With an interactive audience, woo-ting, and some jaw dropping moments this was one of the best concerts to have happened to Mumbai. I even saw the sound engineer's dancing in sync to Wooten’s groove!

Thanks to Chirag Sutar @ Radio and Music .Com


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