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Fusion Music

The concept of fusion music was introduced to the world by George Harrison of the Beatles, who played the sitar. Pt. Ravi Shankar played with many Western artists and brought Indian fusion - jazz to the forefront of the international audiences. There are millions of fusion bands all over the world now. Some of the pop artistes known world-wide are Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Alla Rakha, U. Srininvasan etc.

Although fusion music is popular today, Indian music will continue to retain its originality and traditions and at the same time adapt itself continuously in the new millenium.



In the 1960s, classical Indian music entered a new phase when leading Indian musicians like Pandit Ravi Shankar Ustad Ali Akbar Khan began to give performances abroad and started teaching instrumental music to Western students. The renowned Indian filmmaker, Satyajit Ray, also brought classical Indian music to the attention of Westerners through the music scores of some of his early films, which were composed by Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan. In the course of time collaborations ensued between Indians musicians and Western musicians and a new kind of experimentation on fusion music began.


Pandit Ravi Shankar was one of the earliest musicians to have collaborated with western musicians. He joined hands with the renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin and produced a number of East-West albums. In recent years, Pandit Ravi Shankar has collaborated with the American minimalist composer, Philip Glass, on Passages. Ravi Shankar was also present at the music extravaganza known as "Woodstock". In subsequent years, the Sarod maestro, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and the tabla maestros, Ustad Alla Rakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain, also worked with Western musicians.


Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia brought out an experimental album called the Eternity, which incorporates many western elements alongside North Indian Classical. The Grammy Award winner and creator of the Mohan Veena, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, did a historic jugalbandi with a Chinese Erhu Player, Jei Bing Chen to become the first ever Indian to strike a jugalbandi with a Chinese artiste in the thousands of years of history of India and China. Vishwa also combined with the ace American Dobro guitar player Jerry Douglas, with the American country music singer Taj Mahal and a rare combination with the Arabian Oudh player Simon Shaheen. Other successful collaborations over the years have been between Ustad Sultan Khan (on the Sarangi) and Marco Guinar (on the Spanish guitar) and Roy Cooder and L. Shankar and L. Subramaniam (both violinists). 


The growing popularity of Fusion Music, both vocal and instrumental, indicates that multiculturalism and globalisation are influencing tastes and creativity in music worldwide. National boundaries or limitations of their own music and culture no longer circumscribe musicians, who are keen to experiment and explore new horizons.  In the recent times, the Indian mandolin virtuoso, U. Srinivasan, produced an album called Dream, in collaboration with the Candian guitarist Michael Brook. Pakistan-born Adnan Sami was the first person to play Indian classical music on the electric piano. Recently, a renowned Indian tabla maestro Talvin Singh has bagged UK's prestigious


Technics Mercury Music Prize for his album OK, which represents a fusion of Indian classical music and contemporary British dance rhythms. Talvin has also played with starts like Madonna and Bjork. Talvin has planned two more music albums: Soundz of the Asian Underground and Soundz of the Asian Overground. In the vocal music, the fusion album The Colonial Cousins of Hariharan and Lindsey Levie became an instant hit in India and abroad. The music wizard, A.R.Rahman, who had produced an album along with late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, came up with an album Ekam Satyam with Michael Jackson in 1999. In the new millennium, Rahman plans to release another album Bombay Dreams, which is a musical jugalbandi with Andrew Lloyd Weber. A.R.Rahman is already well known for his album Vande Matram and film scores of Roja, Bombay and Earth.


Anand Shankar - The Fusion Genius

Anand Shankar was probably one of the 'pionners' of what many address it as 'fusion' music! He had a head start on this fusion role wayyyyyyy b4 some other were familiar with this term. I hear so many people going nuts over Ravi Shankar, but i don't think Ravi's mucic is as melodious as Ananda's were!!! Ravi is more widely known; where as, Ananda kept a very low profile. Ananda produced less but Quality cuts. Such a great blend of sitar, guitar, drum, tabla...aah list goes on. Another word, if you are looking for an instrumental cd, i don't think there are too many of this kind! I bought every single cd with his name on it and i'm still looking for more (knowing there aren't any new ones). If you have good ear for the music, i can't see how you can be disappointe by this master piece!!!

Excellent Fusion
This is a great companion to the "Ananda Shankar" album. The beats are body movers and it's great to hear more than just the sitar as a lead instrument. The sheer genius of this man shows in his arrangements once again because you hardly notice that the eastern instruments are playing alongside the western ones and you get 60's rock beats as well. Where there is singing it is more like skilled melodic blend rather than solo vocals. The tracks have been cleaned up too to give a clean sound. Who wants to buy scratchy vinal remnants after hearing this?


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