“East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet...” English poet Rudyard Kipling wrote in his ‘The Ballad of East and West’ more than a century ago. That was ages ago though, and thankfully, he was wrong. Music from the subcontinent has found a way to influence the best of the West, and the result is an absolute goldmine for audiophiles.
This Independence season, we’ve put together a list of tracks showcasing this influence and celebrating the music that India gave the world.
Derek Trucks Band - Slide guitar virtuoso Derek Trucks puts his signature Southern blues touch on Sahib Teri Bandi. Trucks is one of the many blues musicians deeply influenced by Indian music, especially Carnatic and Sufi music.
Steve Smith and the Vital Information - Steve Smith has had an eclectic career, playing jazz fusion, hard rock, heavy metal and funk with everyone from Journey and Jean-Luc Ponty to Savage Garden and Mariah Carey. Doing exactly what the its title says, Interwoven Rhythms layers Indian tabla bols with a classic funk beat and bassline.
Monsoon - This highly under-rated prog rock band from the UK has strong Indian influences in all of their music. Here’s one of my personal favourites, Wings of Dawn. Originally recorded in English in 1982, this Hindi version was on the 1995 re-release of their album Third Eye.
Siouxsie & the Banshees - Another UK-based band, the Banshees played avant-garde and post-punk music rife with sonic experimentation. One of their experiments led them to an unmistakably Indian sound on 1991’s Kiss Them For Me.
The Rolling Stones - Released in 1966, this is one of the first tracks from the Western world to include a sitar riff. Paint it Black went on to become one of the most popular, not to mention most covered songs by the Stones, with artists from genres as varied as bubblegum pop to heavy metal and groove metal releasing their interpretations of it.
And of course, no discussion on Indian music influences is complete without mentioning The Beatles. Here’s Norwegian Wood, George Harrison’s little sitar experiment that forever changed the course of music.
With a musical system based on a 24 note scale and more than 5000 years of culture, India definitely has a lot to teach the Western world. Indian music has found it’s way into all genres of Western music, from jazz and blues to pop, hip-hop and EDM too.
This Indian Independence season, celebrate Indian pride with the music from India that has colonized the West in the best way possible!
Article By: Viren Fernandes
Image Credit: deviantart.net, gbeye.com, kevchino.com
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