The Score Magazine May 2017 - Page 28

SHREYA BOSE The Indian Inspiration Given its enormously rich history and often bewilderingly multifaceted culture, its no real surprise that all things Indian have been inspiring art since times immemorial. In particular, spiritual ideas that have their origin in this piece of the world have much to do with the crafting of some of the world’s best music. Since a lot of these songs tend to be forgotten unless you are as obsessed with the classic side of Youtube (or you have parents who actually collect vinyl ), it’s a good reason for me to nudge you towards some music made unforgettable because of something Indian. Journey in Satchidananda Alice Coltrane ( Yes, THAT Coltrane) made an incredibly nuanced set of sounds come to life all thanks to her philosophical engagements with the ideas of Swami Satchidananda, a guru hailing from Tamil Nadu who advocated for “internal yoga” – a system of thought, word and action meant to result in a life that was “Easeful, peaceful and useful”. True to her exposure to his means and methods, Coltrane shaped this album as a jazz-infused passage through nirvana. The sounds twinkle and swirl off each other in an effortless, unbothered matrix. The album is apt for nights when you want to float on top of the world, and have your mind flirt with those momentary lapses into enlightenment. Or, at the very least, you get a taste of your own divinity. Heart Full of Soul See My Friends: The more popular version of The Yarbirds’ big fat hit features a dirty fuzz guitar played by Jeff Beck, but my personal favourite happens to be their first recording of the same which features a surreptitious sitar. Incidentally, this was also their first single after Beck replaced Eric Clapton as the lead guitarist. The Kinks’ 1965 single was one of the first pieces of rock to feature the sound of the sitar, despite the fact that the tone was generated by a low-tuned drone guitar. A little disappointing if you are a purist, but try to think of its impact in terms of the proliferation of Indian classical influence. The Beatles: I know, I know. I am Captain Obvious. Its no secret that The Beatles were intrigued by India, though their interaction with the Maharishi did have its share of bumps and bruises (all metaphorical ). They played around with a plethora of sounds, especially those of the Tabla and Sitar. Immediate picks would be Norwegian Wood, Across The Universe and Tomorrow Never Knows (that tanpura buzz). Then there is everything that George Harrison touched during his musical and sentimental alliance with Pandit Ravi Shankar, and I do mean everything. Do yourself an enormous fever and get the four-disc compilation box set of theirs called Collaborations. And this very minute, find “Within You, Without You” by Harrison. 26 The Score Magazine highonscore.com