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Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain with Rakesh Chaurasia Let the Music Do the Talking at Tour Opener in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

As Béla Fleck (banjo), Edgar Meyer (double bass) and Zakir Hussain (percussion) took the stage at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 they were warmly welcomed by the capacity crowd. Rakesh Chaurasia (bansuri) joined them for song two and the rest of the show. This concert in Nashville, Tennessee was the start of their tour which should run through May 7th. The four are on the road in support of their latest album As We Speak, out May 12th.

Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain with Rakesh Chaurasia in Nashville.

"Across a dozen songs, the quartet glides easily between the cerebral complexity of Indian rhythm and the gut-level groove of a funky bass line, sounding equally at home with the rigors of raga," is how advance press described the project. Sure enough, As We Speak brings artists from different backgrounds into a collaborative space allowing room for improvisation while reflecting each individual's wide range of influences. Both Zakir and Rakesh are titans in the world of Indian classical music while composers Béla and Edgar are very well respected for their innovative approaches to their instruments. Their concert at the Nashville Symphony was exceptional.

"What I think is good about this quartet is that everyone has to stretch in the direction of the other people," states Béla which means that each show will be different even if they are playing a lot of material from As We Speak. There was some chat but for the most part they let the music do the talking which was intermittently lively. One of our favorite pieces of the night was "Rickety Karma" with its dramatic pauses paired with a dynamic musical dialogue.

This group let the music do the talking at the Symphony Center.

"When we are performing on stage, in composing mode or creating mode, we are basically having a conversation," says renowned tabla player, Zakir Hussain, of his bandmates. Zakir aptly describes what we experienced at the Nashville Symphony. At times it was a four-way discourse and other moments were a call and respond between two instruments. The music ebbed and flowed as they explored various tempos, textures and tones. The Nashville audience was appreciative, attentive and remained enthusiastic for two sets of unique, unworldly world music.

The Schermerhorn continues to showcase inventive music such as this quartet. Centrally located downtown, this elegant venue which opened in 2006, hosts classical, jazz, pop, operas, rock and world artists. Please check their website for a complete list of upcoming events and Béla will be back on September 9th, 2023 performing with the Nashville Symphony.

Related Links: For more information on FLECK, HUSSAIN, MEYER & CHAURASIA and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer with Rakesh Chaurasia | Nashville Symphony


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