• ananda shankar A Musical Discovery of India / Sá-Re-Gá Machán (CD, £6.95)

    OK, so everyone knows that the oft-reissued Ananda Shankar & his Music has been considered legendary since the inclusion of Streets of Calcutta and Dancing Drums on a Blue Note break-beat compilation. But what most people don't know is that there is plenty more material of the same caliber. Later, rarer albums like the two included on this single CD yield equally impressive music with plenty of tracks waiting to be discovered by adventurous Djs! The seven tracks on A Musical Discovery of India were included on a 45 RPM 12" made for India Tourism Development Corp., released by EMI Gramophone India in 1978. Kaziranga Beat is a terrific long jam highlighting the tabla, and other tracks like Namaskar, The Hill Train, Akbar's Jewels, and Brindavan Revel, all have their champions. Then came Sa-Re-Ga Machan, a funky, strange, and exotic madhouse from 1981, which may be the true masterpiece among Ananda Shankars albums. His rarest record, it is filled to the brim with hard driving funk and trippy exotica(Jungle King even reprises Streets of Calcutta). The material ranges from dreamy swirling instrumentals with electronics and sitar, to deep exotica with organs, flutes, tablas & string sections that will devastate you with their beauty. To most people, "India's greatest musician" means Ravi Shankar; but it was Ravi's nephew Ananda Shankar who became the voice of modern India in all its contrasting elements. In ways never previously imagined? Much less executed by other master musicians he alone merged Indian and western, classical and rock traditions; he alone merged the lyrical and the funky, the exotic and the commercial, the traditional and the progressive.

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