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Ravi Shankar & Friends - Towards The Rising Sun

Monday, July 13, 2009 ·

As Ravi Shankar explains in the notes to this cd all music in the East, despite other differences, is based on similar structures. This fact gives him the oportunity to explore a merging of the music of India with that of Japan. So here Ravi Shankar uses ancient indian ragas (system of melody forms which form the structure of Indian music) which use five notes and are similar to the modes used in Japanese music to execute his experiment. Of the six pieces contained in the cd five are permormed with the use of both Indian (sitar, tanpura, tabla) and Japanese instruments (the stringed koto and the shakuchachi flute). Of these, four are based on Indian ragas as mentioned above specifically composed to accomodate the use of Japanese instruments and make for very pleasing and meditative listening. The other piece which is called "Improvisations on the theme of Rokudan" is a 17th century Japanese composition for koto and here it is performed with the addition of Indian instruments. Whereas all the pieces on this record including the sixth which is a straight Indian raga are mesmerizingly beautiful, "Rokudan" is the showcase. There is an ascending structure to this piece which concludes with a magnificent crescendo that Shankar himself composed. Overall the music on this cd seems to have a stucture as opposed to other recordings of Indian music I have listened to which feel more free-form that makes it more easily comprehended the way western music is. So from India we travel east to meet Japan and further east to meet the West?

Padhasapa [East Greets East]
Kaharwa [East Greets East]
Improvisation on the Theme of "Rokudan" [East Greets East]
Namah Shivaya [East Greets East]
Tribute to Nippon [East Greets East]
Raga Hemant - Vilambit Gat in Teental - Drut Gat in Ektal [Homage to Baba Allauddin]



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