Here’s a quick recap of my first 4 weeks at SAM.
Things could not have been better so far. We’ve already had two eminent special guests, one of them being the one and only L Shankar, the visionary violinist from Shakti, who has worked closely with many world renowned artists like Frank Zappa, John McLaughlin, Peter Gabriel, Eric Clapton and so many legends of the music industry. We were all humbled by how he himself was so humble, and his wisdom made many hearts catch fire.
The second being Nyna Vales. After an exciting performance, they showed us a demonstration of basic mouth percussions of France and some tips and tricks for the drummers. They explained how French music and dance were so cloesly interwoven together. It was an entirely new experience for all of us.
The classes and the workshop sessions are an entirely different academic experience for me. Having studied in a traditional academic Indian system, the classes and workshops felt more like conversations and jam sessions :P. The teachers here are so friendly they erase the boundaries between student and teacher. They work closely with us every week for ensemble practice.
These first four weeks were very very eventful. First up we had an Open Mic night, where the students began to perk up a little bit and showcased their talent for the first time. Then we had a faculty jam, where the faculty had prepared to showcase their expertise and skill on their instruments. All of us left feeling quite defeated (:D), amazed at the amount of talent this group of musicians possessed. Remnants of magic was hanging in the air after they burned the stage down.
And then came Ensemble night. Now finally we had a chance to see who’s got what. And boy did my expectations not fail me. The night was graced by 11 ensembles, each of which had tightness levels and musical quality par to professional level. The music ranged from rock to jazz, from blues to metal, from Latin to funk, you name it, we had it.
And quite recently we hosted a duo night. Many groups took on to the stage and showed us even more of what they could do. We had some Leonard Cohen, and some Coldplay, and some Hendrix, and some Adele and then some. Here’s a little bit of my performance with the bass faculty Steve Zerlin (ALL HAIL STEVE) and Sreenath Sreenivasan (dr). That’s me on the left 😛