Orpheus Raga

It’s a great time we live in.. The cultures of the world collide and bring about mixtures and concoction of unrelated ideas, concepts and themes..

When it comes to music, such collaborations have always fascinated me, especially when one party is playing something that’s Indian or related to something Indian (simply because that one music I somewhat understand).

In January, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of New York, played the piece they had commissioned Pt. Ravi Shankar to compose for them. While that itself is an interesting combination of music and talent, Orpheus also performed the concerto along with Anoushka Shankar, who played the Sitar parts. Anoushka has already made her name in the contemporary Indian music field, as well as the various fusionistic projects she has taken up.

The best part of this project, was the Raga Saga. Orpheus worked with filmmakers Chris and Alex Browne to records many rehearsals and interviews with the various artists, and decided to publish them online, weekly leading up to the concert. It was really interesting to see what goes behind the scenes of such a project. Espcially since we see two great cultures and traditions meeting and working with each other to create something new and wonderful. The webisodes also give us an insite on the challenges faced by the artists and the way they resolved them. Anyone who’s interested in the scientific aspect of music would surely enjoy watching it.

Furthermore, it is really amazing to see musicians using new media like webcasts to deliver their content. Especially musicians in this field. And I am sure this moved has helped. Without this webcast I would have never known about Orpheus or this project, and now I will probably buy the CD if they come out with one..

The usual banter about how industries should use new media aside, I would urge everyone with remote interest in Indian Classical or Western Classical or Fusion Music to check out the Orpheus Raga website, and especially the Raga Saga series of webisodes (you will have to register for a free account. Trust me it’s not THAT hard.. ). The live concert is avaliable for listening at the website also.

2 comments so far

  1. Ivan Chew on

    Hi NTT, do you know where I can buy Anoushka Shankar’s CDs in Singapore? And is there a particular CD to recommend?

  2. NTT on

    Hey Ivan. I saw a few of her CDs at HMV under the “World Music” section. I would personally recommend “Breathing Under Water”, but that has heavy eletronica influence. So if you are into it.

    Also you can listen to the album here if you wanna sample before you buy it. http://www.musicindiaonline.com/music/pop/s/album.7246/

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