Before Jai Ho!

Before Indian music (which, like Indian culture, is open to interpretation) was given Grammys and Oscars, there was Norwegian Wood. Not the greatest from the Beatles, maybe, but memorable for Harrison's sitar notes (and of course, the lyrics.... always evocative of the flower child era...) that stood out in this 1960's song- one of the first examples of the fusion of two musical cultures...

A new book from Harper Collins by Peter Lavezzoli, Bhairavi: The Global Impact of Indian Music explores this fusion. "In 1955, Ali Akbar Khan issued an LP called Music of India: Morning and Evening Ragas, with spoken introductions by Western classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Between then and now, there has been an explosion of Indian music and culture in the West. Most visibly, the wonders of Indian musical world were spread by Ravi Shankar and George Harrison of the Beatles, but the music also had a profound effect on Mickey Hart and the Grateful Dead, John McLaughlin, Philip Glass, the Byrds, John Coltrane, and many others. Lavezzoli, in this engaging book explores the relationships between Indian music and jazz, rock, and electronic music."

Today's Mint carries a (not entirely flattering) review of the book by Samanth Subramaniam, who says "As a professional percussionist and singer, and as a student of tabla and dhrupad, Lavezzoli has a natural empathy for the invisible grind of making music and an ear that can pick apart an edifice of sound to examine how it was put together. His discussions on Harrison’s India-touched songs, such as Norwegian Wood, Love You To and The Inner Light, or on Coltrane’s gorgeous four-movement suite A Love Supreme are lucid deconstructions of the music and of how its elements were conceived. Pleasingly, the book’s sharpest insights into the creative process come, in the end, through the music itself." The whole review can be read online here.

In our Music Section. Rs 450, 300 pages, paperback. ISBN: 9788172238070.

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