Sunday, March 26, 2006

Most replaceable musician

I went to a show at International House this afternoon and there was this fusion band that had two guitarists and a tabla player. In the background there was the familiar drony twang of a tanpura ... but I looked around and there was no tanpura player in sight. After their set was over, one of the guitar players got up and flipped a switch and the droning stopped.

Then I realized that this person,

was replaced by this

Its sad but true. The tanpura player is the most replaceable musician (at least when it comes to Indian classical music). In fact, I am convinced that it takes more talent to play the Kazoo. The fact that it took engineers so long to come up with the idea to create a device to replace the tanpura player is also questionable. I don't want to complain too much though.... shhh, ok I have a confession. No lie. In the late 90's, my family smuggled my cousin to the States with a youth Indian classical music troupe posing as a tanpura player. In fact, she didn't really "pose", my aunt gave her a tanpura, and she went on stage with them and sat and played with no previous experience. All you have to do is hold it and strum it with one hand slowly. It totally worked with the Immigration office! But now I have to think of new ways to smuggle my other cousins over. Any ideas?

Speaking of electronic devices replacing musicians, check out the PLOrk: Princeton Laptop Orchestra. How a bunch of Macintosh geeks got Zakir Hussain to perform with them I don't know, but they have a show coming up in early April.

That reminds me, I saw the amazing to listen to but boring to watch (sans video-projected tropical fish) RJD2 last month and just as my friend and I were inches from the exit door, he grabbed his guitar (I didn't know he played) and did an acoustic version of Making Days Longer. I would die for a recording of that.... its so much better than the album version, where his really really nice voice is manipulated.


Post a Comment

<< Home