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Texts/Essays

THE LOST TRIBE OF THE FERENGI SITAR PLAYERS

 

THE LOST TRIBE OF THE FERENGI SITAR PLAYERS

by Al Gromer Khan ©

When Hector Berlioz remarked in the second half of the nineteenth century that “Indian music still finds itself in deepest darkness and barbarism, with hardly any desire for aesthetic form” he overlooked, among other things, the fact that India and Africa, as cultures, are concerned with translating from an ordinary to a metaphysical state. Such musical cultures demand another way of looking at art, one that Hector could not possibly have taken into account. It was the hippie-generation a good hundred years later – however tragically their illusions were subsequently shattered – who for the West shed some light on the universe of classical Indian music. And however much Ravi Shankar may have gone around hippie-bashing, it was only thanks to them (and Cannabis rather than beer?) that enabled him and Indian music to find access to the West on a larger scale.
Those Westerners, often talented, idealistic, sensitive musicians, who, under the influence of Ravi Shankar and Beatles took up learning the sitar sooner or later knew when they were beat, and, even after going through thousands of practice hours, henceforth avoided anything to do with, and anyone involved in, Indian music.

Ambient Music

 

It is true that the term ´Ambient Music´ was coined by Brian Eno. It is also true that Eno is often not all that original. The idea of music representing an interior, for instance, goes back to the French composer Eric Satie. And John Cage – a strong influence on Eno´s work, and one who is often quoted by him – frequently worked with ideas concerning the environment as ´music´. However, Eno did more or less represent the Ambient-Underground in the mid-nineteen seventies.

99 Axioms

 

99 Axioms

 

The 99 Axioms

© Al Gromer Khan