Shakti: 50th Anniversary Tour Comes to Cary

You may not have heard of the band Shakti, but you’ve probably heard of World Music — an entire genre that wouldn’t exist without them. Lucky for all of us, Shakti is bringing their 50th Anniversary Tour to Cary next month in an unprecedented transcontinental collaboration that you won’t want to miss.  

The band Shakti originally formed in 1973. From the West came legendary British guitarist John McLaughlin, who worked with Miles Davis and toured with Carlos Santana and his own band, The Mahavishnu Orchestra. ​​From the East came co-founder and tabla player Zakir Hussein, son of the greatest Indian tabla player, Alla Rakha. Hussain, who had already collaborated with jazz and rock musicians like The Grateful Dead in the late ’60s, fortuitously met McLaughlin via a music shop owner in Greenwich Village. The rest, as they say, is history.   

“The two of them forged this new sound which the record labels called ‘World Music,’ giving birth to that genre and became a template for so many to follow the path of crossover global music,” said Souvik Dutta, band manager and longtime Cary resident. “About 25 years ago, when the two decided to perform again, they infused fresh young blood in the band with phenomenal musicians — Bollywood singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan, who has sold over 200 million albums and is a household name with over a billion Indians; South Indian percussionist V. Selvaganesh; and violin prodigy Ganesh Rajagopalan. What Shakti represents today is the perfect mix of tradition and youth, and most importantly, uncompromising music —  a fusion of Indian, American jazz, and rock.” 

In anticipation of this one-of-a-kind event, we recently spoke with Dutta about the marvelous tradition that is the Shakti group. 

What was the inspiration behind this tour? 

Around the end of 2019, the band was itching to perform again. It has been almost 7 years after the untimely death of member mandolinist U. Shrinivas in 2014, and the founders felt that bringing the music and the band back was the most fitting tribute to him. We performed two large concerts in India and Singapore. I remember after the concert in Singapore, everyone was quite excited and wanted to work again. The pandemic hit us in March, and then things took a back seat. By the end of the year, the members of the band started to write music and collaborate remotely. Over the next 17 months, we wrote and recorded the entire album from our corners of the world — Mumbai, Chennai, Monaco, San Francisco, Seattle, and Cary. “This Moment” was released worldwide on June 23. 

What can attendees expect to see at the concert?  

You are going to see a one-of-a-kind musical event, featuring one of the greatest Bluegrass and American musicians, Bela Fleck, performing a very special solo before his favorite band, Shakti. Bela told me that he is having a tough time believing it’s really happening. Among all the members on stage, they have over 20 Grammy awards and changed the course of music. It will be a great family friendly multicultural event, a reflection of what our beautiful town has evolved into. 

How does the new music compare to the old?  

Shakti was a revolution in music in 1973 — nothing like that had happened prior, and nothing since then of this caliber and magnitude. The heart and the soul of the music is pure, and the energy is infectious. The musicians are constantly challenging each other, exploring the possibilities in music. 

Why is this show one that residents will NOT want to miss?  

I have been living in Cary since 1998 when I joined IBM out of university. What an amazing area this town and area of ours has become! Cary is global, we have some of the most acclaimed universities, technology, and biotech companies. The music and the family-friendly event on Aug. 27 reflects the vibe and the value of our area. As much as it is fun and entertaining, it also brings together the cultures of America, India, and the world in perfect harmony. 

Anything else you’d like to add!  

Abstract Logix is the name of the agency and record label I founded in 2003 out of my house in Cary, and we are proud and excited to present the 50th Anniversary tour in our town 20 years later. The world only got 28 concerts, and there were offers for at least 100! A full circle and a joyous moment for my wife and I. The musicians of this band are like family to us. I want to thank the wonderful team at Koka Booth and Outback Presents for bringing this event to our area. We are going to have a wonderful evening of music, arts, culture, food, and family-filled fun. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. 

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