Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Take Five: Sitar Tracks

If asked to name an Indian instrument, most people would probably say sitar. Twangy sitar notes have almost become a cliche in the West. But there are artists and musicians who know how to use the instrument.Today's Take Five is all about sitars and those who make them sound great in new and innovative ways.

Ananda Shankar - Streets of Calcutta
The nephew of famous Ravi Shankar, Ananda Shankar played with Jimi Hendix and covered songs by the Rolling Stones. Ananda Shankar was one of the first musicians who fused Eastern and Western Music together. Streets of Calcutta is a brilliant piece of phsychedelic sitar funk that sounds ahead of its time. The song was brilliantly remixed by the Punk-A-Wallahs and was recently used in the adverts for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. 

Romay - Heritage
Romay is a dubstep producer who has a Bollywood vinyl collection stored under his stairs. Heritage was my favourite track from his recent album Playing with Sound. The sitar starts off slow and builds wonderfully throughout the track. I love the combination of the classical sitar and the industrial dubstep underneath.

Bebo Best and Super Lounge Orchestra - Bollywood Ghost Dance

I can't remember how I came accross this Bossa Nova / Jazz group, but this song stood out for me. Taken from the album Sitar and Bossa, Bollywood Ghost Dance is full of party beats. The tune is catchy, gets into your head and screams dance floor.

Kamel Nitrate - Tandoori Shakeaway
 Kamel Nitrate takes the sitar cliche and puts it together with the tandoori cliche. But the result is far from cliched. This is a laid back track with choppy vocals and a brass section complimenting the sitar.

Talvin Singh and Niladri Kumar - Ananta
When these two classically trained fusion artists worked together the music they made was fantastic. I was lucky enough to see Talvin Singh and Niladri Kumar on their tour. The live performance was fabulous and there was a real musical connection between the two. The album lacks some of the magic of the live performance, but Ananta is stunning track. Classical in form with a modern edge, Ananta is deceptivly simple and showcases both musicians wonderfully.

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