Drunken Madman of Santa Barbara

Profile of Kavi Alexander, founder and genius behind Water Lily Acoustics

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Mullah Naseeruddin

In 1994 the albumA Meeting by the River,a fabulous cross-cultural improvisation between Pandit Vishwamohan Bhatt and American guitarist Ry Cooder took out the Grammy for Best World Music Album. In accepting their award both men seemed awkward and hesitant in front of a global audience of millions. In a nervous, truncated acceptance speech, Ry Cooder leaned into the microphone and simply said, “…we’d like to thankKaviAlexander who forced us to do this.” The men then turned their backs and walked off stage.

You would not have been alone in being a bit bemused by this mini-est of speeches. Such award ceremonies are occasions for tears and spontaneous jumping. For effusive expressions of gratitude to parents, mentors, collaborators and gods. But here, two excellent musicians of their respective countries spend barely 2 minutes on stage and deliver nothing but a backhanded compliment to someone no one…

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