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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Sounds Of India

Ravi Shankar

1957

Wikipedia

The Sounds Of India

Rating

2.89

Votes

3217

Reviews

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5

I took a lot of drugs before listening to this. I was whisked off to a magical land, where a talking frog convinced a boy to kill his father. Then a grumpy emo chick started pestering me, trying to get me to choose between fuckin' a zebra or fuckin' a corpse. I chose zebra. Then an abused orphan watched me peel a verucca sock off a disabled ghost. Then a noseless man raped a singing omelette. What's it all about?

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5

I've always loved the sounds of sitar and tabla. It sounded so "alien" to me as a kid. Later, when I finally heard this album in its entirety, I loved how it explained why it seemed so "alien". I wish there were other explanation albums in other musical genres.

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4

An interesting exploration of a type of music and culture that I am not at all familiar with. I enjoy the pauses to explain the music theory behind what makes Indian compositions unique.

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4

Dynamic from front to back the way I find much Indian music is to my novice ear. The explanations were a high point; I didn't expect them after the first track, but can now go back and try to understand each piece a bit better. Whatever the theoretical temptations to relate Indian classical music to jazz, it sounds entirely unique.

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4

Can totally see the influence on various bands of the time. Really interesting, actually

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4

Legend. He actually teaches you about the music before he shreds face.

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4

I very much enjoyed this. At first I was a little taken aback by his, well I guess I’ll call it instructions. But only at the very beginning. I actually really liked it. I was cooking artichokes while I listened and I was able to shut off my kind and just concentrate on the act of cooking. I really liked that. Everything felt very natural and organic. Will listen again. For tomorrow Jason, it’s a 4. It could go a little over or under depending on the mood, but 4 it is

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4

One of life's great mysteries has been solved! I couldn't for the life of me understand why a sitar has at least twice as many tuning pegs as it has strings. Now I know! There are strings that run under the strings that are picked and each of these other strings is attached to a particular fret and needs a separate tuning peg. I learned this by clicking on the word sitar on the wiki page for this album. I didn't get it from Ravi's instructional comments before each song. All I can say for Ravi's comments is "sounds good to me". I suppose George Harrison would have understood what Ravi meant but I doubt anyone other than a music scholar could make heads or tails of it. George Harrison is responsible for the western world hearing a sitar for the first time, but Ravi's playing speaks for itself. His sitar playing is exotic and magical. It's no wonder all the hippy rock stars travelled to India to find this music. The influence on 60s music deserves +1. I'm equally interested in the drums, called tabla, played on this album. My disdain for drum solos by no means extends to the tabla. If you never have, dig up some solo tabla music. It's extraordinary. Tabla are also tuned but they have no strings. Another one of life's great mysteries but this one remains unsolved.

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4

this was gonna go one of two ways, and luckily for me it was good. turns out i am still a dirty, smelly, hairy hippy deep down.

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4

One of the more intriguing albums recommended so far. There was no beginning, middle or end. Just sitar, all the way. Lovely.

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2

Not really my cup of tea. I like how he breaks down the various theory of what he's playing, but an hour of this is a lot.

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2

This is so not my genre. I can tell that Ravi is hella talented but the constant, repetitive, droning of the sitar absolutely gives me anxiety. There are some really interesting bit in here where Ravi gives short lessons on how Indian music is built and what to listen for which is the only thing saving this from a one-star review.

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2

While the Sitar is an interesting instrument, this album sounds more like a 50 minute solo on the Sitar which is just not that enjoyable as an album

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2

More of an historic curiosity than a listenable album.

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1

This album comes with a instructions and I still don't get it.

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5

Ich hab dreimal Rave geschrieben... Brain... Die Introduction hat mir gefallen. War mal was anderes und hat es für mich aufgewertet. Im Folgenden habe ich versucht auf die angesprochenen Details zu achten und habe festgestellt, dass die Musik mir dabei nach einer Weile geordneter erschien. Kann natürlich auch Einbildung sein. Erforderte jedoch Konzentration. Die Art von Musik hatte mir schon vorher zugesagt, als ich sie mir nur mit Improvisation erklärt habe. Anders als das türkische Klacker-Gedudel. Es wirft aber wieder Fragen auf. Sinnliche Background Noise, die der Künstler mir geholfen hat auf einer neuen Eben wertzuschätzen. Merk ich mir und werd ich erneut hören.

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5

Very Interedting.

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5

Loved it

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5

Yes

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5

Really good intro to the whole genre. Ravi is a beast

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5

Ravi alternates giving helpful lessons and absolutely SHREDDING a sitar to within an inch of its life for 45 minutes. First album on this whole list that I feel like is way too short by half.

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5

Great listen. I would like to listen to it a bit more focused with his guidance in mind from the opening track and middle, but the overall sound is so beautiful.

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5

I dig this kind of music, will be listening again and again.

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5

This album is a beautiful soundbath

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5

Indian

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5

I'm not fond of Indian culture, but Ravi Shankar sounds like an exception. First of all, the sole purpose of the album was not only to show but also to explain to the western audience — what is the sounds of India. And personally, I still can't describe the feeling, but there is really something magical that gives a feeling of control over the chaos. Similar to jazz music it requires more time to understand it. I won't lie, I've tried to listen to it the second time and am not able to distinguish one raga from another. But in the end, this album was able to shift my interest towards Indian culture and I'll definitely dig up more similar music

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5

There is something so delightful about the simple and friendly presentation of this album while still demonstrating virtuosic and archetypal classic Indian music.

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5

Amazing and timeless.

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5

5.0 + Ragas for gringos - love it!

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4

T'was great!

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4

Very interesting introduction to Indian classic music!

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4

Legend

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4

הודו

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4

Interesting, different, enjoyable

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4

Groovy and far out

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4

- genuinely hard to rate a genre of music you don't know - nice balance of busy and background - can't tell the different impacts of the ragas but fascinating introductions.

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4

I'm not sure if listening to this is cultural enrichment or cultural appropriation... Nonetheless the journey to Shangri - La was very enjoyable.

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4

I like music I like sitar I like learning

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4

Let's my mind roam free and walk down strange avenues. Standout Tracks: Dádrá, Bhimpalási, Sindhi-Bhairavi

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4

yo eerlijk tof dat die zo tegen u praat

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4

Found myself really enjoying this. The bit of music theory was nice too.

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4

Chill nice music with some good basic explanations.

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4

Very relaxing, rapid scitar is impressive and interesting changes in tempo.

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4

I know nothing about indian music, but I enjoyed this and it's great music to work to.

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4

Really interesting to hear the teaching aspect and theory presenting Indian musical stylings to western audiences alongside the music itself. I like the sound of a lot of Indian music and instrumentation, so glad to have gotten this little bit of insight I would not have had otherwise.

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4

Good but didn't hit the same as my slime shivkumar sharma. I am woefully unqualified to speak on this topic. Plz disregard arbitrary star rating

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4

Well that was fun and different for me.

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4

Felt like a warm invitation into a new cultural experience of music, and clearly a virtuosic one. I wouldn't return to it often, but I'll enjoy it every time I do.

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4

Great Meditation music. The sitar is such a cool instrument and Shankar is the premier Indian musician for 9 decades. You are probably most familiar with his music from The Beatles when they were experimenting in the sixties with middle eastern philosophy.

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4

The commentary needed to be more detailed or nonexistent.

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4

I had read some years ago an anecdote about Ravi Shankar and his combo giving a show, can't remember if it was in Europe or North America but this side of the world; as the show started the musicians played for a minute or so and then they stopped, and the audience got up and cheered. Ravi Shankar went to the mic and said something in the lines of "that's very kind of you but we were only tuning our instruments" On the first track of this album, An Introduction To Indian Music, he takes the time to explain the basis to us Occidental people. Actually, these explanations come and go from time to time across the length of the album. All this might sound somehow condescending, in the sense that he might try to school his audience (us, westerners), but it really is helpful if not necessary, as Indian music has rules of its own that doesn't really relate nor translate to the academic approach to European (and its descendants) music. The question presents itself spontaneously: is music really a universal language? I don't want to start myself on the possibilities of other life forms across the whole universe or even the possibility of the existence of music beyond the boundaries of our planet Earth, and if the aliens exists, do they still have ears? Can those ears hear? Can their brains or whatever those ears are connected to (if they exist, of course), decode the sonic signal the way we understand it? Because, you see, we imagine aliens from our human point of view, but they might be something, someone, completely different. Because we conceive that "somewhere else" from here, from the very place we live and always have lived in. "That" is there because "this" is here, but what if we could make abstraction of "this" and "here"? Where would "there" be?  But, yeah, music might as well be a universal language, but still, besides matters related to personal taste, one might lack the tools to really understand and appreciate "all" the music. Or the interest, right? In the same way that, say, a three year old kid might not have the same understanding of the spoken language than a professor in philosophy, even if they both speak the same "language". Or then again, the interest. Please note that I want to stick with the language thing, because a language is nothing else than a means to communication. And communication (I am about to become very technical here) is about coding, transport, and decoding. Therefore, communication is movement. Communication is evolving. The meaning of that last sentence is deliberately ambiguous, and I will leave it at that for you to interpret.  Me bringing up aliens having or not ears was also deliberate. Because when one chooses to be open, the possibilities become endless.  Ravi is a cool dude, his voice has a soothing quality. Or maybe it's just me fulfilling my own need of an Indian musician who speaks in a soothing way. We will never know. But we know that at the end of the aforementioned Introduction, Shankar says "The Western listener will appreciate and enjoy our music more if he listens with an open and relaxed mind" It's all about that. With everything, everywhere. 

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4

Treating this as a tutorial of Indian music made it fascinating.

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4

I’ve always loved the sitar interesting to listen to it for a full album!

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4

ÄNTLIGEN! det här är anledningen till varför jag signade upp på den här utmaningen. så kul att höra nåt nytt och fräscht. Jaja även om han kanske är den mest västerländskt kända sitar-spelaren (som the beatles skamlöst hm inspirerades av) var det ändå något nytt.

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4

Cool to get some music theory in here. The music is really cool, and it's neat to hear someone explaining what's going on.

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4

Just looking at the cover, I'm glad this wasn't the first album generated for me. I'm guessing this will be a bit challenging to get through. Opening it up and looking at the track lengths yes, potentially a chore but could go either way. Here we go! Turns out the best of anything is often pretty good. I liked it.

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4

Ravi, what a master! Loved hearing this. And his little explainers for the uninitiated were great.

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4

They'll probably be in the Zen room.... The tabla is one of my favourite instruments. This was very enjoyable. Stop! Raga time!

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3

amazing but 3m of this are enough

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3

I would love listening to Ravi Shankar on a trip...I guess that‘s how his music got popular in the west in the first place. I enjoy listening to his music while working.

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3

Liked it as my introduction to Indian music. Don't really know what subgenres there are but the sound was cool. The concept of the album was interesting and a great way to introduce a western audience to the genre. Will probably relisten if I want to listen to Indian music, 5/8. Favorite song An Introduction to Indian Music.

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3

Love the introduction to Indian music. Different scales leading to different sounds. The sitar is an amazing backing instrument, when its the lead it's chimey and annoying. A talented musician for sure but the sound got old fast

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3

Interesting!

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3

Legend

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3

Just not into it enough to listen to multiple 10-15 minute tracks. DNF

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3

Fand ich durchaus sehr interessant. Ist nicht so wirklich meine Musik, aber es war zu hören, dass der Typ Ahnung von der Musik hat und sie gut spielt. War auf alle Fälle mal ein ganz spannender Einblick in die indische Musik.

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3

cool record

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3

I seriously respect what he did and his musicianship is amazing. It’s incredibly difficult to break into the West and his career is worth knowing about. But I simply can’t listen to a 50 minute sitar solo any more than I could a Joe Satriani guitar album. It may sound shallow, but I prefer to listen to the sitar used in a more Western song style. But I would see the traditional sound live 100%.

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3

This album is interesting- I like how the artist is teaching you how to listen to the music. Maybe it's here because it was the first to reach a broader audience?

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3

Rama shalanka Lanka Ravi Shankar

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3

You can see where Norah Jones gets it from

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3

this first track is really hard to listen to because he keeps speaking during the opener. the rest was ok.

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3

Educational, interesting, hypnotic. Probably wouldn't listen to much, but understand it's importance.

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3

Kein Album zum mal eben nebenbei hören, wird etwas nervig auf Dauer. Allerdings geniale Einführung in indische Musik und Einstieg in die Popularisierung der Sitar

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3

5 x 10 minute / song album, recording in 1958. This guy has so much music released, incredible. Known to be a virtuoso from north of India. Very interesting pick, the first song is an introduction to the theory of Indian music.

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3

No desire to listen again, but I respect the skill and artistry. Appreciate the educational intro too.

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3

I liked the tutorial aspect

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3

While it feels more educational than for entertainment purposes, that doesn't diminish the fact that it is interesting and fun to listen to.

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3

If I had to pick my favorite Indian sitar virtuoso,I would always choose the only Indian sitar player I know, Mr. Shankar.

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3

Interesting and informative.

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3

Interesting look at a different music theory. Sounds of India has a fascinating relationship with rhythm that can be jarring for those accustomed to the western or African standards. Good stuff nonetheless!

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3

I understand the melody and musically it is quite intricate just the style to me has to fit a setting and I am rarely in that setting but I could envision myself bumping this in Disney at a Himalayan themed bar

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3

As a music theory nerd, the introduction was fascinating. Overall enjoyable, and good background music for getting work done.

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3

Not my usual cup of tea but nice to listen as background music while working

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3

Ravi's music is excellent and absolutely wonderful. The instructional tracks are interesting, and I think they do add to the album and my understanding of citar music. I was really hoping for more music, though. This seems short for an album.

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3

This was good.

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3

Fantastic introduction to Indian music!

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3

Much better than his western covers in a bangra stylie! This is decent background music.

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3

Great

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3

Are you George Harrison in disguise?

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3

Really fucking excellent. Ravi shagged the shit out of it, didn't he? If it was a TV show, it'd be Big Break and Jim Davidson would be livid.

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3

-He really get shredding at the end of Dádrá. Actually he be shredding at the end of all of them, basically. -Even though the talking about the structure of the songs is cool, it is also an L because it eliminates it from being able to be on my study playlist

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3

This album was cool, but it’s just not something I see myself coming back to frequently

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3

Interesting, can’t really see myself going back to it though

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3

Not bad, if not repetitive

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3

Great, but not one I'd wanna listen to over and over. Though it deserves a closer listen than I gave it...to be honest.

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3

Very accessible introduction to raga. You can clearly hear the inspiration it had on The Beatles following Revolver and the genre psychedelic rock as a whole. Simple with the starring role sitar and complimentary tabla and tambura that align in a similar function with our Western equivalent drums and bass. It does its job. It can get people interested in raga to start learning. First track can get people excited. 2nd and 3rd tracks sound the same and are repetitive but still wonderful compositions, and not bad to listen to know for as long as they are. 4th track is a nice change of pace with noteworthy techniques to learn from. Lost interest in the middle but grabbed my attention near the end. Final 5th track builds up slowly then delivers a third of the way in, then gradually becomes more intense as the song progresses. I like it, but if not for the varying speed and intensity, I would not be able to distinguish these tracks. Largely is repetitive and something I'd only play to learn from or have in the background.

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3

Despite his aim of introdycing us to indian musical theory, i ignored that bit. Pretty good and enjoyable

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3

Me vuelve loco la música hindú como elemento que muestra la vasta cultura que hay en el mundo. Me vuelve más loco aún que sea música de hace más de 500 años. Igualmente, definitivamente no puedo escuchar 1 hora de música hindú porque es demasiado extraña para mis oídos, pero está bueno para ambientar.

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3

Erikoinen opetuslevy. Nykyään intialaiset tekee opetusvideoita youtubeen, aiemmin ilmeisesti LP-levyille! :D Alun opetus oli mielenkiintoista ja kovasti odotin opetusta jatkossakin, mutta loppulevyllä olikin enemmän vain sitä soitantaa. Ihan kivaltahan ne Intian soundit kuulostivat, ei siinä mitään. Harvemmin on tällaista maailmanmusiikkia tullut kuunneltua, virkistävää!

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3

3/5

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3

Interessant, die Erklärungen helfen auch. Ich weiß, dass das hauptsächlich an mir liegt, aber es gefällt mir halt beim Zuhören nicht wirklich.

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3

Okay, this was pretty cool. I came in planning to be pretty bored, but Mr. Shankar set me straight. This is really gorgeous music, showcasing Ravi Shankar's talents beautifully. I will say a little Ravi Shankar goes a long way. I probably won't revisit on my own, but this really was a great introduction to Indian music. Fave Songs: Bhimpalasi, Dadra

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3

Ambiente da Índia.

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3

I liked the explanations of some of the time signatures

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3

I liked this more than I expected. It was cool that it was instructional and intended as an intro to this genre of world music.

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3

Love Ravi's influence on George Harrison.

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3

Cool album. I liked his explanations of harmonies throughout the album.

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3

Áhugaverð plata.

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3

áhugavert

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3

The goal of the raga is to create a trancey state, to broadcast a mood of ecstasy. Maybe I need to be high for this. Good introduction (5/10) FT: Dádrá

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3

The minute this album came I let out an audible groan - all I was thinking was scents of bad incense - elephant print yoga pants and tie dye everything. But … it actually turned out to be a insightful journey into a non-western music form - by which you understand both it and western music principles in contrast - beyond the music Ravi explains what you’re listening to and what is instruments are being played. Not going to dig out my bong again but it was an interesting journey

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3

It is now clear that music education is necessary to appreciate the eccentricities and purpose of this music. In a way, it has the complexity of jazz where to a trained musician or particularly particular ear, the fluctuating beat, timing changes, etc. have their intentional place in which their brilliant execution can be appreciated. Does this make for good music though? Objectively speaking, yes, Ravi Shankar's tutelage on the purpose of each instrument lends a sort of cheat sheet to the Western ear as for what to listen for. There is an enjoyment in what is now a new experience. However, the sustainability of that rudimentary understanding is low over prolonged listening. Eventually, the music goes back to being culturally out of reach for the Western audience. There is much to appreciate here, and this review would never seek to discourage at least one play-through with a little bit of intentional listening. Three stars feels a bit generous, and it is, but two-stars would be disingenuous.

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3

Rating: 6/10

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3

Kinda cool to hear about a different musical style, though I'm so musically disinclined that I admit I didn't understand most of the theory part. The actual songs were fun and great background music for working.

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3

Wasn't really listening to the expository stuff, but I enjoyed bobbing along to the music while I was marking. 3.5/5, but I'll round down because it's not something I'd choose to listen to unless I was in a very specific mood.

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2

Very informative and easy on the ear. Not the kind of music I would choose to listen to but somewhat easier to listen to than other albums on this list. I would like to find time to listen in its entirety. Still, for me it will have to be a 2.5 - so 2/5 stars.

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2

I liked the slower portions, like Bhimpalasi, then the shred your face with Sitar sections... but still 50 minutes of any solo instrument is difficult to get anything besides "interesting". He demonstrates a crazy talent, but not sure when i'd ever want to put this on again.

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2

It's fine. 5/10

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2

First track is a very detailed explanation of how Indian music is composed and structured. The rest of the album is freeform improvisation which at times can be way much too energetic and dissonant "... introduces and explains Hindustani classical music to Western audiences"

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2

I'm sure it was influential, but I'm rating based on what I enjoy

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2

Now what in the hell would I do with this? Seems okay if you’re looking for Indian music 101, because they literally explain what is going on.

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2

Interesting, I at both times like that he explains what he's doing to my western ears and then explores on it, and also find that it takes me out of the music. I get why this is on this list, helps round it out, but is it the best representation of its style? I hardly can believe that

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2

I respect it, but it's hard to want to sit and listen to it recreationally

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2

Raverage

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2

Alright but won't listen again

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2

Enjoyed it for a little while, then I got bored.

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2

Well, I do know a lot more about Indian music now than I ever did before. That said, I have no desire to ever actively listen to it again. It's not the worst and it's absolutely fine for bollywood, for scenes or movies from international productions taking place in India and for Indian restaurants. But I'm unlikely to ever actively choose to listen to traditional Indian music ever again.

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2

Not much of an instrumental man but first few were really good

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2

As an intro to Indian Sitar music this is great, I mean who is more qualified than Ravi Shankar? But is it really his best work and is it a seminal album in this genre? I'm not an expert on Indian music but I suspect there are more iconic albums in this genre that could have been on this list.

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2

I enjoyed the instructional parts of the tracks and I appreciate that Ravi influenced a bunch of influential hippies who, in turn, influenced artists through the decades, all the way up to Cornershop and Thievery Corporation. That said, these (shorter-than-average) ragas are a bit long for me. The improvisation needs a bit more of a framework, like Keith Jarrett's, for example.

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2

First listen. Nice Indian music with commentary.

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2

Quite enjoyable as background music. The lecture would then come on every now and again which was a bit jarring.

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2

I appreciate his influence and skill but didn’t even enjoy it enough to listen again although I had the time. Consequently 2*

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2

YouTube tutorials the soundtrack

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2

Just like being in Tariq's

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2

Can't rate dont understand.

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2

Periaatteessa konseptina mielenkiintoinen, kun tekijä(?) kertoo intialaisesta musiikista ja kunkin kappaleen teemasta. Valitettavasti oma musikaalinen osaaminen (ja kärsivällisyys) ei ihan riitä tulkitsemaan näitä kuunteluohjeita. Taidokkaalta musisoinnilta silti vaikuttaisi ja kyllä tästä elävät flashbackit tulee Intian työreissuihin (erityisesti taksimatkoihin). Vaikka genre ei ihan omani olekaan, ei tämä levy saavuta ykköseen ominaista absoluuttista huonoutta ja ärsyttävyyttä. Kakkonen siis.

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2

Kind of educational. Kind of boring. ⭐️⭐️

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2

Good songwriting, good groove, just not really my cup of tea.

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2

Interesting concept. Liked the 'instructions' on how to make Indian music, but didn't really like the resulting songs.

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2

I get that this influenced 1960s music, but I found it to be somewhat boring and the "lessons" unnecessary.

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2

Not really my thing.

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2

Un tostón. Un 2.

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2

Just play the music, and stop telling us about it! Dammit, 1001-guy, you couldn't have chosen "Music of India: Three Classical Rāgas" for your stupid list? What's wrong with you?

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2

Too long, would have preferred it without the instructional bits.

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2

I’m listening to Indian music I hope that’s okay with you

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2

Very impressive and interesting. Nothing I'd put on to be foreground music though. More of a nice background here and there.

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1

This appears to be an instructional album on how to play Indian music??? Did not finish because why would I want to listen to this? 1/5

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1

Really?!

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1

Arvostin alun opetusjaksoa suuresti! Nyt ymmärrän paremmin intialaisen musiikin perään... NOT!

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1

1

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1

This just isn't my jam.

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1

Kon het helaas niet afluisteren want het is redelijk ongrijpbare muziek voor mij.

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1

I'm too much of a westerner. Not my kind of music. Like, at all. Maybe it got ruined by Bollywood? Probably not.. No Thanks.

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1

no

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1

Not a fan of Sitar lines

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1

Clearly some talent but not my vibe.

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1

I learned many things. One of which is that I probably won't have this in my rotation of music.

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1

I couldn’t listen to. I felt like I was waiting for a curry

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1

Los virtuosos no son lo mio

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1

Not my cup of tea...don’t like it...and it’s an introductory/instructional album filled with four ‘tracks’. What am I missing here? 1 Star!

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1

Awful - not for me

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1

Been thrown into this list to tick a genre box. Absolute wank.

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1

Terrible. Though it had others dancing at the 6A bus stop in their sandals.

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1

Not a fan of this album

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1

No idea why it's in the list. Not my thing but clearly an introductory album and not his best work

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1

Im not even going to listen to this.

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1

I’ve heard aids is more pleasant than this album but I’m lucky enough to have avoided both. What actually is the sound of India? Elephants? Music? Or people shitting in their hands and clapping? I hope it’s an elephant noise album

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1

I get that it’s totally subjective and probably due to cultural bias but this made me super anxious to the point to nausea. I tried to get through it on 5% volume but 50mins was too much for me to handle.

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1

no

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1

Diesen Hippie fueled Hype würde es heute so nicht mehr geben 1.2

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1

Struggled to get through this. I’m not knowledgeable of music so although it was nice to hear some theory, it didn’t make this any more pleasant

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1

The sitar is not a very pleasant instrument to my ear. And the tracks are just too long.

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1

Exactly what it says it is: a recording of a very good teacher and player teaching and playing well. Is that an album?

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1

Boring.

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