In the western world, the word shakti is taken to mean creative intelligence, beauty and strength. Guitar marvel John McLaughlin, who collaborated with the unique Mahavishnu Orchestra to tell the world of his conversion to Hinduism, created music past comparison with Shakti. Despite the frenzy of mass oriental pilgrimages, it was still unusual that McLaughlin’s ensemble was made up totally of musicians from India.
As the title of the third and last album – “Natural Elements” – suggests, all the participants work with body and soul and make no use of electronic equipment that was so popular in the Seventies. The very real natural energy, which emanates from the flow of melodies and rhythms from both western and eastern musical sources, fires all the musicians. And it is completely intentional that a cheerful fiddle tune, which might well be heard in the Emerald Isle, is joined by plopping volleys of sound on the tabla, inviting one to dance, or that dampened mariachi jubilation appears to be enveloped in the meditative atmosphere of a temple.
The short, light and cheerful pieces on this LP provide easy listening and offer an ideal insight into the world of Shakti. These natural sounds, far from time and space, are still enjoyed today – as is proved by the presence of a large audience at the concert “Remember Shakti”, in which John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain celebrated their 40-year spiritual ties.