Brothers of Jordan
In the month of September 2008, I was in the US. I saw the Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations for the fist time in North Carolina which went on for ten days in Raleigh. A Successful young group of people from Maharashtra were very keen my concert along with Amaan and Ayaan, so while we were there, we performed one weekend. My wife Subhalakshmi was also with us. We were really moved and touched to see the sanctity, reverence and grace with the way they handled and presented the festival. I performed at Washington DC the following weekend. The Washington concert was presented by Asia Society; I have an emotional attachment with this organization as In 1963, I was invited by Asia Society which also marked my US and overseas debut starting in New York. It was a group of young artists whoch also included the star kathak dancer Birju Maharaj. In fact, Birju Maharaj use to play Tabla with me and I use to play Sarod with his dance! Amaan and Ayaan had to rush back to Mumbai for some recording so the organizers were a bit disappointed.

In the same month, A twenty four hours long festival of music and dance was held in Paris, France. In our country we have seen many festivals But the Paris festival was great success and an absolute sell out and also the first of its kind. Outstanding young and talented musicians and dancers from South and North India were there. My concert was between 12 to 3 am and the audience was ninety nine percent French. My Kudos to the French Government and all the people involved to create a festival of this size. The festival held at Cite de la Musique (meaning city of music) is a cultural complex and is one of the main hubs of Paris’s music life, hosting France’s largest music library, a museum of musical instruments, France’s premier school of music (the Paris Conservatoire) as well as three concerts halls dedicated to classical music and a large venue for pop or rock concerts. This twenty four hour extravaganza went on from 6pm on Saturday to 6pm on Sunday; a unique opportunity indeed to explore the full range of the richness of Indian music.

I was in France earlier thios year as well in Nante (pronounced like NONTH). It’s a two hour drive to a small town quite isolated from main city. My stay was arranged in an old palace. The Festival was very beautifully and artistically designed and called Festival LES ORIENTALES in Saint-Florent-Le-Vieil. We stayed at PALAIS BRIAUD, A 19TH Century Italian-style chateau built by one of the early owners of the French railways. LES ORIENTALES is a festival of world music, the best of its kind in France, which takes place on the grounds of the Abbey of St. Florent-Le-Vieil, an ancient holy place which was founded 1200 years ago by early European Christians.

I was not aware that the next morning, a part of the festival concert was scheduled at the foyer of the palatial hotel I was staying in. I got ready to leave for the airport waiting for people to pick me up. I started walking on the balcony and enjoying the music. It was a sound of the oud, violin and guitar. I could not see the musicians and the audience. I did not know what happened to me at that moment, I was so moved and got carried away that I started humming and the musicians from the lobby started following my voice slowly and slowly and then I was singing and they beautifully supported and followed. After half an hour, suddenly I realized that it was time to leave and in appreciation I loudly shouted, Bravo! The Entire audience in the lobby gave very warm and loud applause. It was a bit bizarre that I was a part of a concert without my knowing! Later I came down and met the musicians; three young handsome brothers from Jordan