Shakti are back! The Indo-jazz super-group marks 50th anniversary with 2023 tour and new album

Mike Flynn
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The celebrated group return with a studio album and world tour to mark their half-century milestone

Shakti L-R: Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, John McLaughlin, Ganesh Rajagopalan and V. Selvaganesh
Shakti L-R: Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, John McLaughlin, Ganesh Rajagopalan and V. Selvaganesh

Internationally renowned Indo-jazz pioneers, Shakti – whose founding members include guitar virtuoso John McLaughlin and tabla master Zakir Hussain – are set to mark their 50th anniversary with a world tour and new studio album in 2023. The group’s current line-

up also features dynamic Indian superstar vocalist and composer Shankar Mahadevan, percussion maestro Selvaganesh Vinayakram and violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan. The band’s huge global following supersedes geographical borders and musical genres and puts them in a unique place in musical history.

Forging the template for what is now called “world music”, McLaughlin stunned the music world when he walked away from his hugely successful Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1973 and went to play with three Indian musicians as he sought “music that reflected his evolving spiritual practice while feeding his insatiable hunger to converse, communicate, and explore”.

Alongside Hussain, he joined forces with violinist L. Shankar, and ghatam player T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram, and founded Shakti. “For me,” McLaughlin reflects, “it was an imperative that Shakti become my permanent group after the Mahavishnu Orchestra.” Together they honed an ecstatic new fusion, blazing uncharted pathways and demonstrating the potential of such global composites to generations of musicians around the world

Now McLaughlin and Hussain are preparing to resume their journey – joined by percussionist V. Selvaganesh (T.H. Vinayakram’s son), vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, and violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan – for an album of new compositions and a world tour marking Shakti’s 50th anniversary. Today’s Shakti honours the legacy of the original band by acknowledging their tradition while continuing to push beyond existing boundaries into new musical landscapes. “It’s really a thrill,” McLaughlin says of Shakti’s 50th anniversary plans. “I’m delighted to be part of this marvelous tradition of the Shakti group.”  

Stay tuned over the next couple of months on album release date, tour schedules, support acts, special guests and much more.

See the June issue of Jazzwise (on-sale 19 May) for an exclusive interview with John McLaughlin – for more info visit


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