The Shakti Foundation: 'Miracle 2003' Revisited
This evening I took five minutes out of my schedule to perform an annual ritual; writing a 'letter of support' to the Shakti Foundation.
Back in 2003, I had the rare honor of playing keyboards and bass in a benefit concert organized by the Shakti Foundation entitled 'Miracle 2003.' The concert raised awareness and money for the cause of accessibility for the disabled population of Chennai, India; wheelchair access, elevators, and other such amenities that we take for granted here in the States are sorely lacking.
Headlining the concert were avant-garde guitarist and producer Michael Brook and mandolin virtuoso U. Srinivas--both outstanding musicians. Really, I was just there to back them up. The best way to describe the collaboration would be to declare it a world-music jam band; my job was just to provide some basic harmonic backup to let them do their soloing.
But wow, what a concert...and what an appreciative audience! I had a great time connecting with the fans and media (which I tend to like to do), and I think they rather liked me as well (in fact, the review of the concert in India's national paper, The Hindu, called me amicable and charming! Must have been the haircut...)
Since then, every year when they do their annual 'Miracle' concert, I've been writing a letter that they print in their program pledging my continued support to their cause. It's the least I can do, really....and frankly, I think it's important for musicians and artists to contribute to the greater social good, whether through the beauty of their works, or through championing causes and rallying the public (like the way that St. Bono does). There's just so much crap out there that adds nothing to the world, if you ask me. I yearn for the attitude towards music that was fostered in the 60s--the idea that music had the *responsibility* to be socially involved. But alas, my entire generation has been raised in a fog of apathy.