Just got back from my mid-year break in Durban and one of the highlights was the opportunity to hang out with my cousin’s two year-old son, Erik.
Erik’s father hails from Denmark, and it’s something of a family jest to refer to him as a little Viking. Long before he’d turned two, he had an affinity for music. Initially he developed a liking for Pink Floyd as I remember, probably because his dad has a pretty decent collection of vinyl’s. Back then Erik had already started showing interest in The Beatles, and would demand that everyone played “The Beats” for him. He’s now able to choose the records he likes by identifying the album sleeves, and has picked up a line or two of some of the songs.
He’s currently fixated with Hey Jude, but is always talking about Lady Madonna, another Beatles hit. According to Erik, Lady Madonna is Hey Jude’s sister. But his taste for music is phenomenal for someone so young. He’s into Fleetwood Mac, Peter Frampton and Michael Jackson too.
I got him a half-sized guitar and was lucky to catch him playing on one of my visits.
I’m hoping his parents encourages him to learn to play the guitar as soon as possible. The prospect of an amusing and entertaining visit in the not too distant future is worth savouring.
I don’t know what it is about string instruments that mesmerize me so. The rousing strains of guitar music usually are enough to leave me in fits of ecstasy.
However, sometimes one needs to hear something more soothing. When I’m in this disposition, violins usually do the trick, but there is another instrument originating in the East which looks quite unwieldy, but produces the most orgasmic melodies imaginable – the Sitar.
When it comes to the Sitar, there is no better exponent of its power to tease the senses, than Ravi Shankar. I have chosen this video of a set he performed in 1971 at Madison Square Garden, during what is regarded as the precursor to Live Aid benefit concerts – The Concert for Bangladesh. The concert was organised by George Harrison of TheBeatles, in conjunction with Shankar.
Shankar is accompanied by Ali Akbar Khan, a well-known master of Indian music, on another beautiful string instrument, the Sarod.