janaki 1104171 JanakiJanaki spent a major part of adolescence in Indian ashrams. In her teens she lived the life of an Indian Monk, complete with shaven head, orange robes and hard work. Indian music was her passion and it helped her through those hard Indian years. She received music lessons and learned to play the harmonium, tambura and sing. Also having learned to speak Hindi fluidly, with a perfect pronunciation, it is hard to tell that Janaki is not a native Indian.

A few years ago she recorded a selection of her most favorite Indian bhajans and stotrams. One of these, the Sufi song “Agar Hai – Shoka Milane Ka”, was picked up by Nick Vernier Band, who decided to go ahead and compose a new musical interpretation of (and for) it. The result is a fusion of Indian music and ‘Rave’.

“Agaraga” presents the words of Mansur Mastana, a Sufi saint who lived about 900 AD. Producer Eric Van Den Brink played the instruments and is joined by Matt Malley (co-founder of Counting Crows, on mohan veena) and Iason Chronis (on electric violin).

“Agaraga” badge itunes sm Janaki

Early fusion of Indian and non-Indian music

Ali Akbar Khan’s 1955 U.S. performance was perhaps the beginning of a trend that fuses Indian music with non-Indian music. Jazz musician John Coltrane, who recorded a composition entitled “India”, also embraced this fusion. In 1965, George Harrison started playing sitar on Beatles records, which sparked interest from Ravi Shankar. He subsequently took Harrison as his apprentice. It was the ‘Beatle-link’ perhaps, which brought Indian music to the well-deserved attention of a global audience. Other Western artists such as Miles Davis, John McLaughlin, Traffic, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, and The Incredible String Band soon incorporated Indian influences and instruments.In the new millennium, mainstream hip-hop artists such as Timaland have sampled songs from Bollywood movies and have collaborated with Indian artists. The Black Eyed Peas sampled Asha Bhosle’s song “Yeh Mera Dil” in their hit single “Don’t Phunk With My Heart”. British band Cornershop paid tribute to Asha Bhosle with their song “Brimful of Asha”, which became an international hit.

“Agacoda” (ft. Iason Chronis & Matt Malley) badge itunes sm Janaki

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

m.j.s.sreekanth May 11, 2011 at 7:55 am

that’s really an amazing job. It’s very interesting to explore the nooks and cornors of the indian fusion music as this episode took its inception in an admirable way. Thanx for knowledging us with this great piece of work.


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