Shakti – The Way of Beauty (DVD)
The Way of Beauty is the most complete document on Seminal World Music band Shakti.
Having grown up with this music, this dvd is quite special to me and I am sure most lovers of this kind of music will agree.
The DVD has been divided into 5 categories.
1. The Interviews with Zakir Hussain and John McLaughlin are simply worth the price of this dvd. Its great to hear John (Where does he get that cool accent ?) and Zakir speak about the evolution of the band and how it all started. In fact its really cool because it also serves as a small historical document on Indian Music as well. The interviews are also filled with clips of Mahavishnu and Shakti footage throughout the years. Along with Zakir and John, there are short conversations with Selvaganesh, Shankar Mahadevan and U.Shrinivas as well. It would have been better if their interviews were a bit longer.
2. The footage from Live in Bombay was released before as a part of the Remember Shakti Boxset.
The almost hour long concert showcases guests- Shiv Kumar Sharma on the Santoor and Debashish Bhattacharya on Hindustani Slide Guitar as well. A big jam session closes the concert with percussionists Sivamani, and A.K Pallanivel. For those of you that have the dvd already, there is nothing new, but for the rest, you are in for a treat.
3. The Montreux 1976 footage features the Shakti classic Joy. One word for the Performance -Pure Musical Bliss.
The band was young and full of fresh blood. L.Shankar and the great Vikku Vinayakaram along with everyone else is just brilliant. As I was watching the footage, I just could not stop smiling. The most amazing thing is watching John. At a time when very few people from the West could even comprehend yet alone play Indian music, John was killing it with these three amazing Indian musicians- and that is a feat only a very few can acheive. I would have really hoped for more footage of the old band, but you know -its just never enough.
4. The Montreux 2004 footage features an unreleased tune Sakhi that the band has been performing in the recent years.
A beautiful song based on Thumri (Indian Classical Music. The text is in a dialect of Hindi called Brij bhasha and is normally devotional in nature). You get to see sensational vocalist and the fifth Shakti Member Shankar Mahadevan. The band gets into a solid jungle jam in the middle. John who has been experimenting with loops lately takes a whopping solo after U.Shrinivas just amazes with his virtuosity.
5. The Soundcheck is from Paris and is really cool for fans that have never made it a pre show affair. Its quite entertaining as John and Zakir crack jokes all the way. You can hear John play the intro bars from a cut of the Que Alegria record. Nice treat !!
Verdict: A Must Have DVD. Wish they made a double DVD with more footage from the 1976 show. But then again, we have hope for additional releases in the future.