Category Archives: Lila- Divine Play

Martin Lancelot Barre and Lila rocking through the changes

Young Martin

Marin Barre and band play at the Bayerischer Hof Nightclub November 2013

Martin Lancelot Barre

This weekend I met a dear childhood friend in Manhattan to go see a guitarist that had played in a band that all but defined my bliss and ambition in high school and college.  My friend lives in Brooklyn but as he has a family and our lives become entangled in the tending of the locomotive, we rarely get to see one another.   As with any great friendship, we pick up right away and the delight we derive from one another launches us right into an active appreciation that makes any activity an event.

It turns out that after many years at a job he excelled at, my friend saw the corporate writing on the wall. He walked away with a severance package and time to consider not just what job he could get, but what he really wants to do next. He conducted one hundred interviews in a hundred days.  Now, he is in the receiving space and is hopeful to hear something in the next two weeks.  He is one of those people who will bring so much to the table, they will have to have a feast.

It was appropriate that we were off to see the Martin (Lancelot) Barre band together.  Martin played guitar for Jethro Tull from their second album Stand Up in 1969. While they went through many personnel changes through the years, Ian Anderson said that it would be always be Tull if Martin was in the group.  Ian has gone solo but true to his word, is not touring around parading as Jethro Tull by himself.  I believe this was Ian’s choice to part ways but Martin didn’t choose to sulk over a bitter brandy.  I’m not sure he had a hundred interviews in a hundred days but he did put together a fine rock quartet that allows him to tour.  I have always considered Martin to be rock royalty and one of the most lyrical guitarists I have had the pleasure of listening to.  Not only was he humble and humorous but what was apparent was that he loves to play for its own sake.

The Sanskrit word Lila means divine play.  There is a Hindu concept that the whole of the universe is the result of this cosmic or divine play.  There were moments in the show when Martin would walk up to his singer/guitarist and bass player and the three would bring the intensity down to playfully harmonize instrumentally.  The joy generated in those moments was a little Lila for us all.  Even if you weren’t there; the circuit was completed by the audience and I feel that goes out concentrically.

In moments when the unknown overtakes you, may Lila carry you through.

PS- Attached is not one of the great rocking moments from the show, but a light jig : )

Martin Barre Band Jig