On Wednesday night two guitarists, Susmit Sen of the Indian Ocean, and Whitesnake’s former guitarist Berrnie Marsden came together to perform at Blue frog, Delhi. The place was buzzing with fans of classic rock and Jazz who knew after the first performance itself that they were in for a treat.
The gig is the first from a series called Masters of Guitar Volume 1 and plans to host six to seven more collaborations in the future. Sen had released his debut album called Depths of the Ocean in 2011. The understated guitarist performs tracks from this album under the name, Susmit Sen Chronicles. Sen had performed at the Guitare En Scène festival, France in July 2012. It was here that he met legends such as Joe Satriani, Steve Morse, Steve Vai, Wayne Kramer, and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. In the same festival, Sen also met Bernie and they decided to perform in India together. “We decided to perform together in India, and also collaborate with other master guitarists soon” he said.
After a tight sound check, the Sen Chronicles began the gig with their track called intimacy which also features in their latest album. The band members Anirban Ghosh (bass guitar), Gyan Singh (tabla), Nikhil Vasudevan (percussions), Amit Sharma (vocals), Sudhir Rikhari (vocals) together with Susmit Sen on the acoustic guitar, then played the track Wild Epiphany, were Vineet Sharma from Studio Beat Route also joined them for backing vocals. They sang a new version of the songs that were sung by Asheem, who was a member of Indian Ocean. “I have known Sudhir closely because when Aseem fell sick Sudhir sang in his place when we had gone on a tour with The Chronicles. When I was going in for our first performance, Amit, came to me and said that he would like to sing with us, so he learnt the pieces in a day and we performed the very next day. These guys are all amazing and full of energy”, says Sen.
The Chronicles gave a soothing performance with less emphasis on lyrics and greater importance to the notes and their ambient harmonisations. Amit Sharma left the crowd enthralled with the sufi texture of his vocals. “Chronicles started six months back for I have been a performer all my life and believe in music and its purity”, adds Sen.
Marsden walked onto stage after The Chronicles played their title song called Depths of the Ocean. The English rock guitarist seemed more than pleased to find the crowd drawn closer to the stage before his gig. After four days of rigorous travelling Marsden said, “Normally in this situation I would say that it’s good to be here, but believe me it’s really good to be here. For there is so much snow in Heathrow and yet we have managed to get to this stage.”
He piped up the pace with his single called Pick it up which he had played with Jimmy Copely for his album called Big Boy Blue in 2002. The crowd mellowed when Marsden began to strum the classic rock track, Ain’t no love in the heart of the city which was famously covered by Whitesnake in 1978 for their debut EP Snake Bite. The performance just kept getting better and only peaked, as Sen joined Marsden on stage for the world wide hit single, Here I go again. “Last year I played this song in America. The first time with I played it, Morgan Freeman was singing with me and the second time it was with Tom Cruise. They are the only famous guys I know, apart from this guy here” said Marsden as he hugged Sen after. The two jammed on stage for over half an hour, complementing each other’s distinct styles of playing.