Shakti50: Celebrating Shakti’s Golden Anniversary

After an excellent jazz fusion album (Extrapolation, 1969), a superb psychedelic explosion (Devotion, 1970), and four seminal recordings with Miles Davis, John McLaughlin surprised many when My Goal’s Beyond appeared in 1971, listed as Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. Side one of the album featured two riveting compositions that introduced many of us to “world music,” with a strong Indian influence. That was followed shortly by the first of eight incendiary fusion albums from The Mahavishnu Orchestra.

In 1976, we were truly “rocked” when Shakti with John McLaughlin hit record stores, giving many of us a look into music we knew only through Ravi Shankar, fusing Western and Indian music (both north and south), also featuring tabla master Zakir Hussain. In short order, the group would release two more albums: Handful of Beauty (1976) and Natural Elements (1977). After several tours, the group disbanded. Shakti then were: John McLaughlin, guitar; L. Shankar, violin; Ramnad Raghavan, mridangam; T. H. Vinayakaram, ghatam, mridangam; and Zakir Hussain, tabla.

McLaughlin would reunite with Hussain, Jan Garbarek, and Hariprasad Chaurasia for the 1986 album Making Music. In 1996, McLaughlin and Hussain toured as Remember Shakti, but another album with Hussain would not surface until 2020, Is That So?, also featuring Shankar Mahadevan.

Shakti reformed at the beginning of 2023, with a European tour now behind the band and a U.S. tour beginning Thursday in Boston. They would also record a new album, This Moment, which was issued in June. 

The tour is called Shakti50. Shakti are: John McLaughlin, guitar; Zakir Hussain, tabla; Selvaganesh Vinayakram (aka V. Selvaganesh), percussion; Shankar Mahadevan, vocals; Ganesh Rajagopalan, violin. McLaughlin is using an electric guitar rather than acoustic. 

Joining the band for select shows are John Scofield, Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, and Bill Frisell. McLaughlin enthused:

We are so much looking forward to having these four truly fine musicians whom I’ve admired for decades come on the road with Shakti in the U.S. 

And McLaughlin, Hussain, and Shakti fans are rejoicing! Check out this great new album, and go see them if they are anywhere near you.




08/17  Wang Theater | Boston MA  **w/ John Scofield
08/19  The Capitol Theatre | Port Chester NY  **w/ John Scofield
08/20  NJPAC | Newark NJ  **w/ Béla Fleck
08/22  The Keswick | Glenside PA
08/23  Wolftrap | Vienna VA  **w/ Béla Fleck
08/25  Cobb Energy Center | Atlanta GA  **w/ Béla Fleck
08/27  Koka Booth Amp | Cary NC  **w/ Béla Fleck
08/29  Palace Theatre | Columbus OH  **w/ Béla Fleck
08/31  Ryman Auditorium | Nashville TN
09/03  Ravinia Festival | Highland Park IL  **w/ Béla Fleck
09/05  Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall | Portland OR  **w/ Jerry Douglas
09/06  Paramount Theatre | Seattle WA  **w/ Béla Fleck
09/08  Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts | Davis CA **w/ Bill Frisell
09/09  Davies Symphony Hall | San Francisco CA
09/11  Irvine Barclay Theatre | Irvine CA
09/14  Hill Auditorium | Ann Arbor MI  **w/ Béla Fleck
09/16  Riverbend Centre of the Arts | Austin TX 


John McLaughlin





Comments are closed.