I enjoyed a beautiful 30k bike ride today on my dad’s bike (click HERE) after my physio and tonight, Kelly and I are enjoying our first childless evening in, well, forever, by feasting over a plate of nachos and pints of Redline Brewing ‘Oh, Sorry’ and watching Big Brother. So at the moment, I’m chopping up all the tomatoes, onions, lettuce and peppers and listening to the ‘Sound of the Sitar‘ album by Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha.
Because when you chop veggies, you may as well listen to Hindi sitar music, right?
By far the most famous of all sitar players, Ravi Shankar has long been a beacon of light for Indian music worldwide. This 1965 release is most noted for having been George Harrison‘s introduction to Indian music. So, if you want to honor ‘ol George or get your “Harrison-Shankar” on…this is your album.
Of course, this makes it then one great World addition to the ‘ol collection.
Essentially, ‘Sound of the Sitar‘ is made up of four compositions. The first, ‘Raga Malkauns: Alap‘ is a slow, reflective piece that I will likely use again in future home yoga sessions. According to Shankar, the section of a raga known as the “Alap” is difficult to play because it is an invocation, a prayer meant to be performed with great humility. The second piece is, ‘Raga Malkauns: Jor‘. The “Jor” section of a raga is based on a rhythmic pulse and does not a have a strict rhythmic time cycle like the Alap. As this piece develops, much like Western music, it becomes more dense and climactic. The third piece, ‘Tala Sawari‘ includes a wonderful tabla solo by Alla Rakha and uses boles, vocal mnemonics that imitate the various tones produced on the drums. The final selection, ‘Pahar Dhun‘ is a cheerful improvisation based on the folk melodies of India.
While I admit that I don’t necessarily listen to World or sitar music very often, I felt that in order to consider myself as a well rounded (musically, not physically) music aficionado that it would be wise to have at least one go-to album in my collection that I a) reflects that, and b) I actually enjoy and will play again.
This album accomplishes both.
I have to say, there is something strangely therapeutic about chopping veg and listening to sitar music. Oscar the Cat, however, would disagree wholeheartedly. Myself? I find it extremely relaxing; almost meditative in nature. Never mind “Yoga with Goats” or “Dancing with Llamas”, this is the next best thing in hipster entrepreneurial endeavors: “Chopping Vegetables with Sitars”.
Coming to a studio near you!