Inspired by India

Autorickshaw - Four Higher
Autorickshaw – Four Higher

Autorickshaw is a world fusion band based in Canada. On its latest release, Four Higher, the band displays a wide range of Indian influences. “Saraswati” is an energetic devotional Hindu song by Suba Sankaran, backed by bass voices, electric bass and tabla. Other pieces fall into the category of Indian classical music.

There are several ragas performed in various ways, from the very traditional Raga Purvi to Raga Ganamurthy, which features spectacular electric bass work, alongside the tabla and other percussion instruments. On “A Night in Tunisia,” Suba Sankaran’s vocals head in a jazzier direction, accompanied by Middle Eastern percussion. On Four Higher there are also two live melodic improvisations, a tabla solo by Ed Hanley, a bass solo by Rich Brown, and a funk jazz piece, Chennai Fife-O.


Tasa - Urban Turban
Tasa – Urban Turban

Canadian world jazz outfit Tasa also draws most of its inspiration from Indian music. On Urban Turban the five musicians combine Western instrumentation with Indian instruments. Tasa uses a powerful rhythm section formed by electric bass, drum set, Indian tabla and konakol (vocal percussion), which supports bansuri flute, guitar and saxophone solos, as well as vigorous Qawwali-style and Hindustani vocals.

Rough Guide to Bhangra Dance</a
Rough Guide to Bhangra DanceRough Guide to Bhangra Dance is a good compilation and it features some of the stars of Bhangra.

The most famous of the artists included is Malkit Singh. It’s a good starter, but it’s worth doing additional research if you are interested in Bhangra. You can begin by checking the previous release in the series, The Rough Guide to Bhangra.

[caption id="attachment_38281" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Asha Bhosle with the Kronos Quartet - You've Stolen My Heart. Asha Bhosle with the Kronos Quartet – You’ve Stolen My Heart.

Bollywood (Indian cinema) star Asha Bhosle has been around for many years and is well known within the South Asian community. She’s become better known in the West thanks to her collaboration with the Kronos Quartet, You’ve Stolen My Heart. New York label Times Square has now released a double CD, entitled Love Supreme. Disc 1 is dedicated to newly-recorded Ghazals (romantic poems of Persian origin) in various formats, including pop, rock, funk and jazz; while disc 2 contains Bhosle‘s favorite
romantic duets. There are a few other CDs that focus on Bhosle: The Rough Guide to Asha Bhosle, Best of Asha Bhosle, and Queen of Bollywood.

Guitarist Nadaka has a recording of instrumental music, Living Colours, where he blends classical Indian music with Western sensibilities such as jazz and blues. Nadaka plays the guitar, an instrument that is played by some Indian musicians, but not very common in Indian classical music

For a different approach to Indian music, Bollyhood Records released what
they claim to be the first ever Indian-infused Hip-Hop and R&B album. Titled
Bhood, the album contains exclusive collaborations of Indian and Urban (R&B and Hip Hop) artists, such as Christion & Bikram Singh, Sumeet & Rich London, G Samra and Jade Foxx, and super group RDB with heavy hitters Elephant Man and Yukmouth.

The sacred traditions of India are featured in Devotion (Arc Music). The compilation includes Hindu devotional songs, Jain, Muslim Sufi, Buddhist chants, Gujarat devotional, Baul songs, Sikh and Qawwali (Muslim).

The ancient dhrupad tradition of Indian classical music is represented by one
of the masters in the category, singer Alaka Lahiri. Her CDInde – Dhrupad is
part of the “Voyages” collection by Deben Bhattacharya.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.