Friday, March 30, 2012

Ravi Shankar & Friends - Towards the Rising Sun

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? - by S. Tsalavoutas,

Artist: Ravi Shankar
Album: Towards the Rising Sun
Year: 1978
Label: Deutsche Grammophone (2005)
Runtime: 69:19

1.  Padhasapa 8:40
2.  Kaharwa 4:59
3.  Improvisation of the Theme of Rokudan 10:46
4.  Namah Shivaya 7:59
5.  Tribute to Nippon 13:20
6.  Homage to Baba Allauddin (Raga Hemant) 23:35

Ravi Shankar (Sitar, Tanpura)
Alla Rakha (Tabla)
Susumu Miyashita (Koto) - 1-5
Hozan Yamamoto (Shakuhachi) - 1-5
Prodyot Sen (Bass Tanpura) - 6
Sunil Kumar Banerjee (Treble Tanpura) - 6


  1. To say that Indian music does not have a structure is absurd. It has a very clearly defined structure, from which the musician cannot depart, yet that structure allows the musician a great deal of freedom in its execution. If S. Tsalavoutas cannot hear any structure in Indian music, it is because he knows nothing about it.



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