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Saturday, July 10, 2010


Sudarshan Varadhan
Express News Service
First Published : 01 Jun 2010 12:01:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 01 Jun 2010 12:22:17 AM IST

The first thing that strikes you the moment you have a glance at Guthrie Govan is his dressing sense. On May 30, when he walked up to the podium and started strumming his guitar in the Russian center of science and culture for his performance cum workshop, he was confronted with an array of bizarre looks. The legendary guitarist was sporting a Mexican look- a brown tee, a torn dirty pair of jeans and a weird beard that hardly suited him. Only the hat was missing.

The barbaric catcalls from the ill-behaved audience notwithstanding, Govan slowly got into the groove. The fluency and the confidence with which he handled things were an instant hit with the audience. Minutes into the show he was interacting with the audience as if he had been playing to the same set of people throughout his life. All of a sudden, the auditorium was reverberating with refreshing sounds and a fresh lease of life.

Govan’s sense of humour soon joined the party and the audience was treated to a slew of one-liners. One guitar enthusiast came up with an uncanny question “Sir how do you play the song Feed my Frankenstein?,” “Badly!” he quipped. The workshop was a special one for fans of Govan as he added a personal touch to the show. He started off by enlightening the audience about his humble beginnings and drawing parallels between learning a language and learning music. He also delved into the philosophies of music as he talked about picking up the sounds of nature and connecting emotionally to the spirit of music. Dynamics and acoustics of the guitar were also given due importance.

He followed it up with a variety of ideas and tips on the intricacies and the technicalities involved in playing the guitar. The awestruck enthusiasts watched him explain the process of playing the most challenging tricks ranging from tapping to hybrid picking with consummate ease and élan. The most distinguishing feature of the show was that it appealed to the layman as much as it appealed to the veterans. After a riveting interactive session, he switched tracks as he plunged into the concert mode. He played some of his best compositions as he harmoniously blended classical western music with hardcore rock. The audience were on their feet marveling at their master perform a stunning feat.

He concluded with his chartbuster seven and by stressing on the importance of maintaining the tempo and finishing a song on time. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.

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