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Sounds without borders

Transcending countries and languages, read about some Indian musicians who have roamed, inspired and captivated.

art and culture Updated: Jun 22, 2007 13:55 IST
Hindustan Times

Here are some Indian musicians who have transcended borders towards creating worldwide music.

Zakir Hussain
India's youngest percussionist to ever be awarded the title of Padmashri, co-composer of the open ing music for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and the son Ustad Allah Rakha among other things, Ustad Zakir Hussain has been instrumental in bringing the Indian percussion sound to the world stage.

Producing many works of fusion with Indian and western artists most notably Planet Drum, an album co-created and produced by Zakir and Mickey Hart, that won a Grammy for the Best World Music Album.

He has performed with artists like George Harrison, Ali Akbar Khan, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Jack Bruce, the Hong Kong Symphony and the New Orleans Symphony. He is also a visiting professor at Stanford University and the Univer , sity of Princeton.

Trilok Gurtu A master of Indian music, tabla, percussion, and western drumming, Gurtu plays a unique hybrid East-West drum set up.

He is also a visionary composer whose musical adventurousness has led him to creative fusions of Indian music with jazz, rock, classical, and ethnic music from all over the world.

Well known in the jazz community through his collaborations with Don Cherry, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, and Pat Metheny, Gurtu first became known to U S audiences as a member of the world/jazz fusion band Oregon.

AR Rahman India's top film composer and one of the world's most popular musicians, Rahman is the man who redefined contemporary Indian music.

In 2004 fresh from his first western theatrical success with the musical Bombay Dreams, he created his first full work for symphony orchestra in Between Heaven and Earth, a richly evocative concept album that captures the cultural drama, grandeur and mystery that exists along the historic link between East and West known as The Silk Road.

Nitin Sawhney Fusing instruments and vocal styles from all over the world, Nitin's music breaks barriers of language and genres, and questions things about our times.

The Guardian called him ‘One of the most talented artists in Britain'. He's been nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, has won multiple EMMA awards.

His latest is the OST for Mira Nair's The Namesake. Renowned for his DJ Sets, Nitin's chartbuster CD All mixed up showcases dance-mixes of his popular tracks.

Pandit Ravi Shankar George Harrison, described Ravi Shankar as the ‘Godfather of world music'. He holds the Guin ness Record for the longest international career of over six decades.

His first International performance was in the Soviet Union in 1953. Since then he has been invited to play venues unusual for a classical musician, such as the Monterey Pop Festival in Monterey California. He was also one , of the artistes who performed at the Woodstock Festival in 1969.

Shankar has written two concertos for sitar and orchestra, violin-sitar compositions for Yehudi Menuhin and himself, music for flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal and koto virtuoso Musumi Miyashita.

Having composed extensively for films in India, Canada, Europe, and the US, Gandhi won him a nomination for an Academy Award. In 1998 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize with Ray Charles.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan In a tribute to qawwali exponent Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the late American rock singer Jeff Buckley in his album Live at Sin-e had said, "Nusrat, he's my Elvis."

Synonymous with qawwali and noted for bringing Sufi devotional music to Western audiences, Khan has worked with several western artistes including Peter Gabriel, lending his voice to the soundtrack of The Last Temptation of Christ, Eddie Vedder for Dead Man Walking and Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers.

Singing in Urdu, Punjabi and Persian, his incredibly powerful voice infused performances with the air of a rock concert more than a concert of devotional music.

He released about 125 albums, including Musst Musst, The Last Prophet and Body and Soul.. Khan died of a cardiac arrest in 1997 at the age of 48.

Asha Puthli Her recordings, which span styles of the blues, pop, rock, soul, funk, disco, and techno have been produced by the likes of Del Newman, Elton John, Cat Stevens, Teo Macero Miles Davis, Ver non Reid.

She has recorded and shared stage space with Barry White, Dewey Redman, Grace Jones, Charlie Haden, Cy Coleman, Duke Ellington, Roy Ayers, Tom Jones, The Rolling Stones and The Pointer Sisters etc.

Best known for her stirring vocals on free jazz legend Ornette Coleman's Science Fiction album, Asha is a cosmopolitan pioneer of jazz, funk, soul and electronic dance music who has recorded ten solo albums over the years.

First Published: Jun 22, 2007 13:13 IST