The time to come to chennai is definately dec through jan - every night there is incredible music - you can't even go to the internet closet (not a cafe by any means) without seeing the most fantastic drumming on a small tv shoved into the corner of an already tiny space with 6 computer stalls...
saw the adorabale 30 ish year old prodigy srinivas and his debonair brother rajesh last night - amazing to say the least - with subash - ganesh's uncle on clay pot/ghatam - absolutely sublime and selva ganesh who plays kanjira with john mclaughlin in shakti and jonus hellborg - he's my friend/teacher krishna's brother/ ganesh kumar's cousin - the whole family - all of them are amazing musicians -
the music academy looked like an old highschool auditorium - not too young people there (ages 15-30) maybe because its "classical" music or maybe the ticket prices are high relatively - not too many westerners there either - just tremendous transcendant music - then out for dinner in a nice downtown restaurant with the ymmiest mint chutney ever and subash picked up the tab!
met cameron who was once an investment banker/guitarist in nyc and moved to portland ore. and became completly devoted to his mrdangam - the long double sided drum - he studies every chance he can with subash (who calls me "johnny" in his clipped hindi accent) cameron knows the carnatic music better than anyone i've met - so far - he's obsessive - we went to this huge cd/video store last night - where he bought 13 discs for 40 dollars! he also filled me in on the dynamics and pressures that indian classical musicians deal with - really interesting/intelligent/friendly guy
anyway its a big practice day today as tomorrow i play with rajesh on x-mas day - one of the best christmas presents i ever bought myself - we'll see - i hope it goes well
i still haven't found the right place to download this camera yet... grrr - many fine splendid fotos for your curious eyes - had all my clothes washed and pressed quite nicely for 2$ - cab rides to the other side of the city cost $1-2 and that's with a bit of haggling - i don't know what's worse almost using my left hand to eat the other day - (a 50 year habit is hard to break) to taking out my camera and asking a woman "can i shoot your cow?" - as george harrison used to sing - its all too much - once again "the quiet one" got it right
merry christmas y'all - down some nog for me - truly kruth