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2-07-11 - How great the Baajaa Gaajaa festival of Indian music was from various classical concerts to fusion unlike any I've heard, workshops, lectures that were actually interesting, lots of drums, great food.

Met an American classical Indian bamboo flute player named Steve Gorn  who gave a spellbinding performance yesterday. Check out his site. and listen to his music. His wife remembers Suzuki Roshi so I'm emailing her for any memories she's got. Maybe I should put a notice up top here asking for such. Here, I'll do it now. There it is top right on the home page.

Spent time with this artist named Mumbiram. Just looked at his website and am favorably impressed:

Mumbiram & Party - Esoteric Sanskrit Classics, Contemporary Art

He's also got Distant Drummer dot org

Clay and I have been flooded with great music and people since we came. Our last day in Chennai, Feb. 1, we went to the home of master mridangam player Anantha R. Krishnan (Mister Mridangam), met his family and went with him to a three hour Carnatic (classical southern Indian) music concert at a packed community center featuring him on mridangam, a singer, and a violin - mesmerizing. Here's  his MySpace site.

The first night in Puna (Feb. 2) we went with Linda Hess to a presentation on Kabir in which her comments on that mystic poet and readings from her new book on him (see yesterday cuke) were interspersed with the poems being sung beautifully by Pushkar Lele - accompanied by tabla and tambura.

The next day Pushkar drove Clay and me to an all day music fest honoring recently deceased devotional vocalist Bhimsen Joshi, awarded the highest civilian award, jewel of India. We heard three hours of devotional vocals with various accompaniment. Some of it was so beautiful.

Our first night in India we went to the final concert of the Saraang music festival at the Chennai campus of the Indian Inst. of Technology (IIT) and heard three metal bands, the first two Indian, the third, Pain of Salvation from Sweden. The second band was Nerverek. Their guitarist is Arjun, son of Gita Giyatri, recently ordained as a priest at the SFZC. She was there too. They were great - for those of us who like loud rock n roll. Here's Nerverek's MySpace page and there's more interesting stuff on them on Wikipedia.

That's it for now - lots of music intertwined with deep spiritual messages, not superficial views.

Must leave our room with a fast connection now. Our time as honored guests has come to an end. Now to search for a cheap place to stay. - dc

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