Monday, August 31, 2020

Woodford 2019-20 with Sunita Tikare, and a few more shows with Sangeet Mishra

After my 2019 Japan tour in October, things were pretty quiet for me until Woodford-time, when we were graced with performances by visiting Mumbai-based artists Sunita Tikare (vocal) and Sangeet Mishra (sarangi). Sunita flew in just for her Woodford performances, which were just lovely, while Sangeet stayed on for a week afterwards for a few little home and community concerts. Little did we know at the time that these would be my last concerts accompanying international artists for some time...

Fri 27 Dec - Wed 1 Jan Shen & Yuki @ Woodford Folk Festival 2019/20
Day 1: "Bombay In Morning Light" - Shen with Sunita Tikare and Sangeet Mishra

Day 2: "The Worldly Violin" - sarangi solo by Sangeet with Shen on tabla.

Day 3: "Melodic Beauty of Indian Ragas" - Shen, Sunita and Sangeet.

Day 4: "Indian Music Under the Stars" at the Folklorica Outdoor Stage: Shen, Sunita and Sangeet.

Day 5: "Indian Sunset Concert"

Day 6: Sangeet and I joined Tenzin Choegyal's "Hilltop Sunrise Ceremony"

Day 6: "Raags: Serene to the Ecstatic" (Sangeet and I had another concert on Day 5, but no photos.)

For the 50th anniversary of John and Yoko's "Bed Peace" - Shen, Yuki and Saraswati.

Fri 3 Jan Willawong: Kirtan Sangeet - Devotional Music and Sarangi Concert feat. Sangeet Mishra - Sangeet and I joined devotional singer Atul Deshpande for a community event.

Sat 4 Jan Sunshine Coast: Sarangi master Sangeet Mishra with Shen (tabla) - Home concert hosted by the Jha family in Buderim - many thanks for hosting my last classical concert before COVID times.

Sun 5 Jan morning Brisbane: Alaap Meditation #2: Sangeet Mishra (sarangi) - The second edition of our "Alaap Meditation" series, where we have renowned artists performing just alaap for a meditative morning audience. Thanks to Sanjeev Hiremath for hosting this event.

Alaap Meditation #2 audience and artist.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Japan Tour 2019

In October 2019 I had my first trip to Japan in 3 years, and my first concerts there since 2014! Although my partner Yuki visits Japan every year for time with family and some intensive work, for the last few years I've been concentrating on work at home in Australia rather than trying to make a music trip to Japan pay (which is a lot harder nowadays than when I used to go regularly in the early 2000s). Anyway, I'd really been missing my friends over there, the yummy food and especially the onsens (hot spring baths), so I thought I'll ask my old friends if I can come and visit and play some music together. Thanks to everyone who hosted concerts for me! I had a great time! 

I started playing tabla in 1994 so I billed this as my "25th tabla anniversary" tour.

Mon Oct 14 Hayama: 森のインド古典会 - Forest and Indian Music - The opening event of my tour was a lovely outdoor event dedicated to Late Pt Nikhil Banerjee, with a lineup of some of the most senior Indian classical artists in Japan as well as special guest Pt Ritwik Sanyal (Dhrupad vocal - Varanasi). I had a great time accompanying Setsuo "Jimi" Miyashita (santoor) for the first time in 10 years, and my regular music partner Taro Terahara (bansuri), as well as joining the final all-star jam. There was a bit of rain blowing around the stage at the last item, so I innovated and threw my shawl over the mic and tabla, playing "under-cover"!

with Setsuo "Jimi" Miyashita (santoor) - playing together after 10 years gap!

with Taro Terahara (bansuri)

All-Star Jam: L to R: Tetsuya Kaneko (pakhawaj), Kenji Inoue (sitar), Pt Ritwik Sanyal (vocal), Taro Terahara (bansuri), Shen Flindell (tabla). (Shree and Jimi-san on tanpuras in background.)

Thu Oct 17 Kunitachi: Taro Terahara private booking - I kicked off my trip to Kansai with a little college concert in Tokyo with Taro-san, a kind of lecture-demonstration at a music college. From the concert I caught the shinkansen to Kyoto...

Fri Oct 18 Kyoto: Sitar&Tabla Indian Music Concert - Minamizawa Yasuhiro + Shen - Thanks to Yasuhiro Minamizawa for inviting me to play with him at Nyan-Nyan Gallery in Kyoto. Minamizawa-san and I used to practise together regularly when I lived in Kyoto in the early 2000s.

Sat Oct 19 Osaka: インドの音楽 インドのスパイス - Tadao (sitar) and Shen - Thanks also to Tadao for hosting me in Osaka. We played together easily and naturally as always. Good times!

While in Kyoto I invited a couple of other old friends to come for practice. Carlos Guerra (bansuri) and Yohei Iwashita (sitar) had never met, and we had a great time playing together.

It was so nice going for a big long walk around my old home town...

Tue Oct 22 Tokyo: アムルート・マンタン#12 - Back in Tokyo, I accompanied amazing Kathak dancer Atsuko Maeda, along with excellent sarangi player Shinsuke Nishizawa.

Fri Oct 25 Tokyo: YOGINI(ヨギーニ) マントラ&バジャン ワークショップとコンサート - Yuki and Shen - I joined Yuki for her chanting workshop, playing a couple of bhajans at the end.

Sun Oct 27 Tokyo: ヨシダダイキチ&シェン・フリンデル  - My tour closer was with experienced Japanese sitarist Yoshida Daikiti, a very sensitive and beautiful player. Thanks Yoshida-san!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A quick trip to Melbourne in Sep 2019

In early September 2019, I took a quick trip to Melbourne. I had been planning to attend a performance by great Kathak dancer Pt Birju Maharaj, and take lessons from his tabla accompanist, my senior guru-bhai Pt Govinda Chakraborty, but their trip was cancelled due to illness. I had non-refundable flight tickets so I thought, "why not go and see what happens?" It was nice to stay with my cousin and catch up with a few friends, while at the same time meeting and practising with various Indian classical music lovers and performers there. 

On arrival I visited my first tabla guru, Sri Debu Bhattacharya, then went for practice with my old friend, sitarist Saikat Bhattacharya who had recently moved to Melbourne. After that I headed to a little gathering of amateur music lovers who practise together weekly, before wrapping up the evening at my cousin Ed's.

Saturday was more relaxed, but on the Sunday I headed to the other side of town where I had been suddenly and unexpectedly invited to join a home concert, accompanying Saikat! The main artist was an sarangi maestro from Delhi, Pt Bharat Bhushan Goswami, accompanied on tabla by a really old friend, Abhinav Garg, who I actually share-housed with in Kyoto in 2001! I took the chance to visit Bhushan-ji early for my own little practice, which was really such a blessing.

Accompanying Saikat Bhattacharya at a home concert in Pt Cook.

L to R: Abhinav Garg, Pt Bharat Bhushan Goswami, Saikat Bhattacharya, Shen

Aug 2019: Josh Feinberg (USA), Tibet2Timbuk2 (Tibet), Kenshin Okada (Japan)

Continuing my review of past concerts... In August 2019 I was lucky to host brilliant US sitarist Josh Feinberg for a few concerts in and around Brisbane, before he headed off to Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. It really was a pleasure to accompany Josh and to have some fun chats and games in the evenings too. Unfortunately I was a bit lax with getting photos of the concerts...

Tour flyer

Driving to Byron soon after Josh's arrival...

Fri 9 Aug Ocean Shores: Soul Sangeet Intimate & Unplugged SITAR Maestro - a home concert at the Temple of Melodious Sound, with local guest artist Shivam Rath (slide guitar).
Sat 10 Aug West End: Sitar Maestro Josh Feinberg (USA) - held at Haiku and very well attended!
Sun 11 Aug Tarragindi: Alaap Meditation #1 - Sitar Maestro Josh Feinberg (USA) - held at our home event space, "Space Saraswati", we launched the concept of an alaap-only morning concert for meditation, and it was very popular!

Sun 11 Aug Sunshine Coast: Sitar Maestro Josh Feinberg (USA) - held at the home of Dr Pankaj Jha and again very well attended!

The following week, Tibet2Timbuk2 had a little tour down to central NSW to promote our new CD, Apo Gaga. Thanks to Wauchope Arts Council and Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival for hosting us.
Sat 17 Aug Wauchope: Tibet2Timbuk2
Sun 18 Aug Dorrigo: Tibet2Timbuk2
Tibet2Timbuk2 @ Dorrigo

Then the following week we hosted a small event at Space Saraswati again, featuring several Indian music artists either from Japan or connected to and active in Japan, the second in our series of concerts entitled "Japan Gharana". ("Japan Gharana #1" was held in January 2018.) This edition featured sarangi player Kenshin Okada, Chhau dance by Yogeshwari Giri, mantra by Mico Sundari, slide guitar by Shivam Rath, and tabla by myself.