Songs of the Soul, the concert at NYU's Skirball Center in Manhattan,
was a tribute to Guru and his music. It offered a glimpse of the
future the near future when Guru's music will capture the heart
and release the soul of humanity to soar into a new era of bliss.
Starting with an inspiration in Homagni's aspiring heart, many
disciples and others contributed to an astonishing success. The
Skirball Center was an ideal venue. It was large enough to give the
feel of a real concert, but intimate enough for the performers and
audience to feel connected. The acoustics were astounding.
Parichayaka produced a stunning poster and flier with the most
beautiful photos of Guru imaginable. Sanjay and Homagni worked
feverishly making all the necessary arrangements and creating the
program. Databir's selfless crews leafleted tirelessly, and disciples
worked all day preparing every detail. Performers gathered in the
afternoon for exhaustive sound checks under the expert guidance of
Jigisha and Mohan. These continued until 5 pm, when the doors opened
for the disciple only concert. The early concert was organized because
it was expected that there wouldn't be room for most disciples to
attend the later concert.
And that's how it turned out. People started lining up outside the
Skirball Center at 6 pm. Eager New Yorkers were thirsting for their
chance to share in what was to be a divinely and supremely auspicious
occasion. Illuminated life-size photos of Guru framed the stage, and
as the house lights dimmed a video of Guru was beamed onto a large
screen while his esraj music filled the air.
Master of ceremonies Devashishu welcomed the audience and introduced
Dundubhi and Shamita, who played several duets. The singers of Paree's
group followed, offering a few of Guru's songs a capella. After each
segment the lights were dimmed while black-clad boys scurried silently
setting up for the next act. Ketan handled stage management with
aplomb worthy of a Broadway show.
Philip Glass is a contemporary musical giant. He emerged from the
wings to warm applause, seated himself at the grand piano and quietly
launched into a musical meditation in his inimitable musical style.
His performance embodied a depth of feeling and presence one can only
feel in a live performance. He captivated the auditorium with his
lucid insights and compelling depth.
The next act saw the return of Equinox, invigorated and more inventive
than ever. Premik and Shambhu's performance was finely nuanced and
playful, revealing the musicians as consummate masters of their
instruments. Tabla player extraordinaire Samir Chatterjee, his friend
Steve Gorn (who draws magic from a large Indian Bansuri wooden flute)
and his memorable vocalist wife Sanghamitra took the stage next. They
began with their own arrangement of Ami Jabo in Indian style. It was a
delightful rendition with intricate rhythmic patterns and traditional
vocal inflections. Next was a truly haunting flute solo on a classical
raga, followed by an absolutely astonishing tabla solo.
When three microphones are carefully and precisely positioned in front
of a tabla player, you feel something special is about to unfold. Sure
enough, we were treated to an unbelievable, almost miraculous
demonstration of the sounds a human being can produce from two tablas.
Subtlety, delicacy, intricacy and bold rhythms all merged into a blur
of fingers and hands that seemed almost occult in its mastery. As they
finished, the house erupted in the exhilaration of the moment.
Panchajanya's Gandharva Loka Orchestra filled the stage with
performers. They offered two new arrangements: a lyrical rendition of
Sundara Hate, followed by a rousing, exultant celebration of I Can
Lift Up 240 Pounds! As they played, the hall was thrilled. It was the
dawn of something momentous in Guru's music-manifestation- march. The
audience responded with a surge of wholehearted enthusiasm. They were
thrilled to be immersed in this a new world of light-flooded
Addwitiya, accompanied by Shelton, her genius music-arranger, closed
the concert with three songs: a heartfelt rendition of Guru's Aum
Govindaya Nama, a rousing gospel song and finally, Bridge Over
Troubled Waters with disciples providing backup vocals. She dedicated
the song to Guru, and she poured her heart and soul into every phrase
of this classic. The applause was tumultuous, acknowledging both
Addwitiya and the entire phenomenal evening. Guru's living presence
flooded every atom in the air and each heart in the hall.
Standing backstage through the entire concert, Sudhahota was
practically breathless and speechless, soaking up the music. He kept
saying how great the concert was, how moving and how emotional. He
spoke for the audience. He spoke for the disciples. He spoke for the
whole of humanity.
Guru has written many victory-songs. This evening's concert was itself
a victory-song and a victory-gong, rejoicing in our beloved Guru's
transcendental and immortal presence, celebrating his earth-elevating
and Heaven-sweetening music-miracles and proclaiming his absolute
world-transformation-victory concert was itself a victory-song
From: Inspiration Sun edition 3
Pictures from Concert: