Raam’s Samyo Diary

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October was a very busy month for Samyo with two concerts, three rehearsals and a reunion! The first concert was at The Capstone Theatre with the Grand Union Orchestra, featuring our three leaders. Next was a Samyo Too concert, with twelve selected musicians also performing in Liverpool at The Capstone Theatre. The next day they were back for a reunion with the other members.

The first venture for Samyo was the wonderful opportunity to share the stage with the Grand Union Orchestra, featuring maestros from all genres of music. The orchestra consists of a tabla, electric guitar, trumpet and Chinese flute to name a few! Following two rehearsals with Yousuf Ali Khan (Yousufji) and Tony, a former composer for Samyo, Gobi, Naviena and I headed up to Liverpool for arguably the best concert we have ever performed in. Following a long and unusually relaxed Soundcheck, and quality time with the great Milapfest staff, we took to the stage in the second half of the “Trading Roots” concert. We performed three Indian music pieces as well as two African pieces in which we were all challenged with duets with a Grand Union musician. The atmosphere on stage was incredible and this was shared with the phenomenal audience who agreed to dance to our last song!

A week later, we were back into preparations for the Samyo Too concert which was a week away. We started the day welcoming our guest artists from Tarang, violinist Bhavana and tabla player, Rishii. We went though our repertoire, perfecting each piece as much as possible. In addition, we had times for interviews and clips which were used in our promo video created especially for the concert! After a mid week rehearsal, we headed up to Liverpool the day before and endured a long six hour rehearsal, ensuring each song was no less than the standard we expected. Each piece was done at least twice, in a surprisingly relaxed mood, something we aren’t usually used to just before a concert! Afterwards we had enough time to master each other’s instruments, all captured on camera by Mithushan and Yuva.

The next day, we had our Soundcheck and got ready for the concert. We wore red, instead of our usual blue and headed backstage whilst a huge crowd assembled in the theatre. Overall the performance was good, with certain pieces, such as the percussion piece and Saraswathi Vandana turning out to sound amazing and highly appreciated by the audience. We then quickly got ready and headed back to a London on a train journey far more comfortable than the one to Liverpool, cherishing the rest we needed.

The next day we all went to Patidar House for our first proper reunion since Music India. We firstly reflected on our Samyo Too concert and discussed our ambitions for the QEH concert in March as well as our plans for the year. We began by learning a wonderful new piece, Agaaman, a composition you will hear at our concert in 2014. In the afternoon we enjoyed learning a dog in Bageshri specially composed for my duet with Veena, our sitar player. The piece was an instant hit with us all, severely building our momentum and desire to carry on. After practising a few old pieces we headed off, feeling positive about what the musical year ahead had to offer us.

See Samyo at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre on Saturday 22nd March 2014.

Check out Raam’s ‘Have you heard’ featuring  Zakir Hussain (former Samyo Tutor) and John McLaughlin (guitar).

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