111. Ravi Shankar - The Sounds Of India
1. Introduction to Indian Music
3. Maru Bihag
The title of this album is actually quite misleading. India is a very vast country, a sub-continent actually and its culture is also extremely diverse. Calling ragas The Sounds of India is wrong, but they are an important music form in Indian classical music and one of the most popular in the West.
They are popular in the West mainly because of this man, Ravi Shankar who taught George Harrison and, mainly through the Beatles, brought Indian Music to the West. And Shankar is definitely the master of ragas, his technical prowess and improvisational capacity is astounding.
If you are not familiar with ragas, it might all sound a bit samey at the beggining, but repeated listenings will quickly solve that. This album is a curious one, it is as much a how of Shankars talent as a little class in ragas. The first track is composed of Ravi Shankar explaining the music, and at the beggining of each track he gives a little introduction of what each track is and how it is structured. So entertaining and educational. There is a problem however, and that is the fact that after 2 or 3 plays you will have to skip the first track if you don't want to hear the introduction again. You cannot stream it from Napster, so buy it at Amazon UK or US.
All but the first one.
From Allmusic.com (wiki is down :P):
Composer Alan Hovhaness provides some rather thorough liner notes describing the systems involved in Indian classical music (with the focus clearly on Hindustani forms), and goes into some detail on the finer points of the four ragas performed (Maru-Bihag, Bhimpalasi, Sindhi-Bhairavi, and Pancham-se-Gara, which is played during the piece titled "Dadra," actually a tala). Throughout the album, short lessons in the forms and techniques are given by Shankar himself before the various pieces are performed.