Six years in the making, “Is that So?” is one of John McLaughlin‘s deepest and most profound musical collaborations with prolific Indian composer and vocalist Shankar Mahadevan. Joining the duo is their life-long friend and musical brother Ustad Zakir Hussain on the tabla, who has been collaborating with John since they founded Shakti in the early ’70s, acknowledged by most to be the first groundbreaking crossover East-West musical group. “The idea for this album appeared in my mind early 2013. Shankar and I had been touring with Shakti and I was constantly inspired by his superb voice and gigantic talent. Even though I had studied the theory and practice of Indian music for years, I remain a ‘Western’ musician and one aspect of Western music is the magic of harmony”, says John. “From the outset in the early 1970’s, I constantly researched the possibilities of integrating harmony into the traditions of North and South India while at the same time keeping as close as possible to the melodic rules of the Raga system. However, the idea I mention above, was to abandon the rules of the Raga system completely and apply my own western harmonic liberty to the amazing voice of Shankar Mahadevan.” ”Before concerts, John and I used to dabble with free improvisations using Indian scales (Ragas) and different harmonies backing them”, says Shankar Mahadevan. “The whole texture, color, feeling and the canvas of the music excited us as harmonic content does not exist in Indian classical music. In the beginning it was just a fun experiment, but it soon became larger than life and we knew we had to record it. When Zakir Hussain, the great tabla Maestro himself agreed to play in the improvisational sections we knew this would take our recording to a new level. We could not have asked for more.” “Is that So?” is a a new concept in the meeting of musicians, singers, percussionists and the musical cultures of the East and West and takes us into unexplored musical horizons.
Format: CD Cat No.: ABLX-062 Barcode: 0700261477541
John McLaughlin (Guitar), Shankar Mahadevan (Vocals) and Zakir Hussain (Tabla).
1. Kabir 2. Sakhi 3. Tara 4. The Search 5. The Guru 6. The Beloved
Produced by: John McLaughllin
Recorded in India, Monaco and United States
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John McLaughlin, Shankar Mahadevan and Zakir Hussain: Is That So?
"You can have the greatest player in terms of mastering an instrument and you could be yawning your head off when you hear them. So, it's not what you do, but the way you're doing it, and in the end that's all that we have."