Jethro Tull, Anoushka dedicate concert to Mumbai terror victims


New Delhi : Jethro Tull, one of the world’s leading western music bands, and sitar exponent Anoushka Shankar dedicated their two-hour concert in the capital to the “security forces who lost their lives defending Mumbai against terrorists and to victims of the three-day siege”.

Support TwoCircles

Spokesperson for the band, lead vocalist and flutist Ian Anderson, appealed to the crowd Sunday night to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the victims.

As more than 5,000 Jethro Tull and Anoushka fans remembered the dead at the packed Hamsadhwani stadium in Pragati Maidan, several eyes turned misty.

The concert that began with a solo recital by Anoushka, the daughter of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, acquired an element of pathos and sobriety because of the Mumbai terror attack – snapshots of which loomed large over the show.

Till minutes before the concert, people exchanged notes on Mumbai, recounted personal losses and regretted the fact that Jethro Tull and Anoushka were unable to perform in the “maximum city”. The Mumbai concert, part of their five city tour, was called off Nov 29 because of the terror strikes.

“But we are planning to go back to Mumbai later this week for a benefit concert to help the victims,” Anderson said.

The concert was divided into three acts. A solo performance by Anoushka was followed by Jethro Tull and a “tea with Anoushka jugalbandi session”.

The high point was the Jethro Tull and Anoushka collaborative session, which saw a foot-tapping blend of rock, Western classical, Celtic and Indian classical music.

It featured fusion tracks, especially composed for the concert by Anderson, like “Tea with Anoushka” – a peppy lounge dance number and “Little grass folk” – a folksy-rock improvisation of German composer J.S. Bach’s music written 300 years ago.

The track, from the band’s farm series, used the banjo (Indian hand drums), block flutes, guitars, sitar and vocals.

“Celtic cradle”, drawn from traditional Celtic music of north-west Europe – Anderson’s homeland, evoked nostalgia of the centuries bygone with shades of Mesopotamian music.

“Breathing underwater”, from the band’s latest fusion album, blended traditional Western classical music with Indian classical.

The jugalbandi closed with “Mother goose” – one of the band’s old numbers with a special composition for Anoushka. The hysterical audience screamed for more.

Anoushka earlier began her recital with a composition in Raag Jog – an evening raga and followed it up with Raag Panchamsegar – a classical raga created by her father Pandit Ravi Shankar.

The Shankar scion, clad in a lavender and blue churidar-kurta, held the audience, including her father, spell-bound with her performance.

Jethro Tull took the stage minutes after Anouska left it. With veterans Doane Perry and Martin Barre on drums and guitar respectively, and relative newcomers to the band David Goodier on the bass guitars and John O’ Hara on the keyboards – the band led by Anderson cut an electrifying presence.

Anderson’s virtuosity with the flute and his “maverick piper image” on the stage added glitz to the show.

The band played all the old 60s hits, including its 1969 signature number “Living in the past”, “My sunday feeling” (1966), a Rashaan Roland Kirk’s jazz improvisation, “Serenade to a cuckoo” and “Heavy horses” from the 1970s. The band is known for its farm songs, most of which were written after Anderson moved to the countryside to manage his own farms in the 1970s.

The band even belted out its progressive rock hit of the 1970, “Thick As a Brick”, and an extended version of “Aqualung”, a 1971 chart buster that almost became the band’s anthem song.

A music-struck Delhi on a chilly late November night could not have asked for more.