Make Music Not War – III

New York, August 31, 2014. Continuing from Part I and Part II, this is the third segment of the project Planetary Coalition’s musicians’ series that I’ve showcased here. This video features two-time Juno award winning Indo-Canadian singer Kiran Ahluwalia rehearsing with Alex Skolnick on a new tune, along with acclaimed tabla virtuoso Nitin Mitta, who, among many other projects, is also a part of American jazz pianist Vijay Iyer’s trio “Tirtha”. This tune developed by Alex is termed “Passage to Pranayama.” (For geeks, here’s an article on Pranayama – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pranayama , and on Patanjali – the founder of the Yogasutras: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patanjali)

If you are curious to get a glimpse of how a tune develops, behind the final 5 minutes of audio that you hear on a finished CD, then this video gives a pretty good idea.

August has been one of the most depressing months in recent times, as far as news events were concerned around the world. The savage killings by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, more conflict in Israel and Palestine, an ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine, racial conflict, riots and shootings in the southern US state of Missouri, the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa, and, as a final unfunny joke – one of the most beloved comedians and genius actors of our time – the effervescent Robin Williams – killing himself due to depression: sad news even in the usually escapist world of entertainment.

Here’s to the end of an angsty August, and hoping for a more serene September.

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Make Music, Not War – II

New York, August 5, 2014. In my previous blog post (here) I explained the premise behind melding my work life, creative endeavors and blog life all together due to a shortage of time. Last week’s blog featured a video with Mali’s world-renowned Kora player Yacouba Sissoko.

Today’s blog post features a rehearsal for the project “Planetary Coalition” with eminent Chinese Pipa player Yihan Chen. See for yourself!

This was during the very first meeting between guitarist Alex Skolnick and Ms. Chen. The music had a feeling of water, just as the African one from last week had a more earthy vibe. The final track with Yihan has already been recorded in the studio. Did you know that the Chinese Pipa is an instrument more than 2000 years old? For fact geeks like me, here’s a history of the Pipa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipa

As mentioned earlier, these videos are very exclusive and have not been released yet to a larger audience as we are waiting to do so after the release of the CD. But since I made them, I am showcasing it in a very limited platform through this blog, as a glimpse of what is taking shape.

And more importantly, it is about documenting the dynamic and dialogue between the artists during the process of melody-creation or “feeling out” the music, of creating “conversations” between the instruments and exploring possibilities.  

There is still time to support the project through our ArtistShare website http://www.artistshare.com/v4/projects/experience/325/439/1/6 or directly contact Alex (http://alexskolnick.com/) or me (gipsygeek at gmail dot com) if you’d like to help us out. Or at most, even get the word around.

As another prosaic and tumultuously violent week in world events passed us by, once again – how much better the world would have been or would be if we created art, found common ground and made music instead of war.

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