Friday, 9 April 2010

Cross-cultural music

Youtube, in my opinion, is one of the most important "inventions" of the century. I cannot imagine my life without this portal now. The affiliation gets stronger by the day. Initially, it did start with the mundane things that anybody does on this site - movie clips, trailers, gossip news, blah blah - the works.
Then one day,I came across this piece by an artiste, Talvin Singh. And that was the day I was introduced to this concept of world music. I have heard a lot of music in international festivals and art celebration gatherings, but never quite comprehended the all-encompassing nature of world music till now. 'Fusion music', as it is called, in layman terms, was never an attraction to me. Most often, these 'fusion music' recos that I received from friends turned out to be jarring remixes of Carnatic classics or Sanskrit shlokas with a generous dose of rap and drumbeats thrown in. Some of them were worth the appreciation. The others were pure junk. And as an ardent lover of music, I couldn't help but feel offended on listening to such "music".
Now I am of the opinion that it is impossible to restrain music within boundaries. The difference arises when we look at two or more genres and then try to bring them together in an unharmonious way. The result is a pain on the auditory senses. Music, in its purity and sanctity, is bliss. A compendium of notes to produce joy. Global music, as I have perceived in the last few days, has transcended established boundaries. It seems hard and even sinful to me to separate the elements as Carnatic or Jazz or Hindustani. The blend is so impeccable and it seems to be a genre in itself- assuming varying dimensions every time I hear something different. I'm not trying to invalidate the established genres. I'm a passionate fan of Carnatic and it'll never leave me. But having listened to some really good music, as collaborative efforts between Indian and International artistes, I only feel proud that our music is going places and its versatility is coming to fore.
To be very honest, I wrote this post after listening to this album by Karsh Kale, an Indian American musician, and Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Pandit. Ravishankar and an extremely talented Sitar player herself. It made me realize that our music is truly beautiful and with the right mix of artisitic sense and creativity, it surpasses itself beyond compare.