Shakti: The Believer
; release date – October 3, 2000
The Believer is the follow up to “Shakti’s” 1999, 2-CD reunion set, titled Remember Shakti which to some extent, was unexpectedly mellower than what the band was dishing out back in the 1970’s. Although violinist L. Shankar is no longer with this latest rendition of the band, original member and tabla master Zakir Hussain joins guitarist John McLaughlin along with amazing electric mandolin virtuoso, U. Shrinivas and ghatam/kanjira/mridangam performer, V. Selvaganesh.
This new release features live material culled from a 1999 European tour, as the overall production is a tad more kinetic than what was presented on Remember Shakti. - The guitarist’s often-fervent interaction with his newest foil, U. Shrinivas, who frequently matches the extraordinarily fast McLaughlin note for note via his astonishingly rapid execution of single note lines, augmented by an angular style brimming with arched voicings and East Indian modalities.
Throughout these six pieces, the band effortlessly whirls through blazing solos and unison choruses, in parallel with Hussain’s maddening rhythmic pulses, alternating statements and some call and response melded with sonorous themes. Yet on the track titled, “Anna”, McLaughlin tosses in an intriguing funk groove as the typical progressions of an East Indian raga intersect with Western harmonies and rhythms. The overall presentation makes for a most gratifying and often charming coalition of the musical spirits as The Believer instills some of the grit and fiery interplay witnessed on those magnificent and altogether groundbreaking 1970’s “Shakti” LP’s.