Reference Entry


Barry Kernfeld

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2002 |
Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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Fusion group. It was formed in the USA in 1973 as a trio by John McLaughlin, the South Indian violinist Lakshminarayana Shankar (brother of L. Subramaniam), and the North Indian tablā player Zakir Hussain; to suit the character of the other instruments, McLaughlin played a specially designed acoustic guitar based on the Indian ṇā. After giving concerts before small audiences on the East Coast the group recorded Shakti (1975, Col. PC34162), in which the original members were joined by the percussionists Vikku (T. H.) Vinayakaram (whose main instrument was the ghaṭam, a clay pot drum) and R. Raghavan (mṛdaṅgam, a wooden, double-headed barrel drum). As a quartet (without Raghavan) Shakti recorded A Handful of Beauty (1976, Col. PC34372), then in 1977 it toured Europe and made another recording before disbanding later in the year. The name Shakti, meaning “together,” refers to the union of jazz guitar improvisation with North and South Indian rhythms. The group favored fast tempos in complex meters, but its use of repetitive patterns and simple harmonies suggested links with jazz-rock. In the late 1990s Shakti re-formed to record, with the ...

Reference Entry.  248 words. 

Subjects: Jazz

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