This is my third album of my top ten most personally important albums list. You can see the start of the series here.
Today I’m highlighting an album that has opened a lot of doors for me.
I first heard Ravi Shankar’s The Sounds of India in a music class in college. I recognized the sound of the sitar from various Beatles songs but I had never heard a proper piece of Indian classical music before. I promptly went out and bought the CD and listened to it repeatedly.
For those of you that have never listened to a raag (westerners seem to call them ragas but the Indian musicians call them raags) they are intricate, subtle, complex, and organic. The Hindustani raags place a heavy emphasis on improvisation inside of tight musical framework. To this day I can’t say I really understand the music but it makes sense to me.
In the years since I heard this album I have continued to dive into the unlimited depths of Hindustani classical music. If this was the only impact this album had on me I would still consider it incredibly important to me. What this album actually did for me was to open my mind to enjoying other “world” music. I have since gone on to enjoy Flamencao, Bulgarian, Argentinian, Balkan, and music from who knows what locations. My life is much better for this album opening the world’s music to me.