Playing tracks by
Neyveli Santhanagopalan & Muthuswami Dikshitar, Swetha Mohan, Ranjani-Gayathri, U. Srinivas, Sumanth Swaminathan and more.
After about a year of being on my own music tour I decided to stay in motion. Sometimes stopping cold turkey can be a bit of shock. So, in mid-December I flew to India and attended a few days of the Chennai Music Festival—also known as the December Season. It’s been going on every year for a long time; Yale from Luaka Bop and I poked in to catch part of a performance at least a decade ago when we were there working on the Vijaya Anand record.
I don’t think I ever dozed off, which might be a surprise, as we Westerners tend to associate much Indian music with meditation and a calm sense of spirituality. Although the songs often have spiritual themes, the vibe though not the actual music is more akin to jazz or flamenco— John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders certainly saw their music as an expression of deep spirituality, but, like their music, Carnatic music is hardly soporific.
In my all too brief visit, I only touched the surface; the festival goes on for a whole month.