Putumayo World Music presents India, a CD collection showcasing India’s rich musical variety, from traditional and acoustic music to Bollywood and electronica. India’s emergence as a global economic power has brought increased awareness of this extraordinarily diverse country’s multicultural offerings, its music foremost among them.
India’s thriving popular music scene—an adjunct to the country’s immense Bollywood film industry—is highlighted on this collection. The love ballad “Tere Bina,” from the 2007 blockbuster Guru, was written by acclaimed film composer and Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, who took home the awards in the Best Score and Best Original Song categories for his work on Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire. The song also features Chinmayee, the award-winning female playback singer (an artist who records the songs that actors lip-synch). Rajeshwari Sachdev’s “Maavan Te Tiyan,” is another hit Bollywood song from the film The Perfect Husband. Guitarist Sanjay Divecha, a Mumbai native who performed Western pop music in Los Angeles before returning home in search of his roots, contributes “Naino Sey”. The song features vocalist Kailash Kher, one of the most popular singers in India today thanks to his extensive work in Bollywood and string of pop hits.
Several stellar musicians display their Indian classical music expertise. Satish Vyas, represented by his song “Homeward Journey,” is a renowned master of the santoor, or Indian hammered dulcimer. Deepak Ram (“Ganesha”) is a virtuoso of the bansuri (Indian flute), while Bombay Jayashri (“Zara Zara”) specializes in the Carnatic South Indian vocal tradition.
Taking Indian music in a new direction, evocative British/Indian singer-songwriter Susheela Raman blends her South Indian classical music training with Western jazz and acoustic folk influences in “Nagumomo.” Kiran Ahluwalia, a Canadian vocalist of Indian descent, offers a fresh take on India’s poetic ghazal (love song) tradition through the moving “Vo Kuch.” Kiran worked for Putumayo World Music for three years before pursuing a professional music career.
Finally, Uma Mohan’s ode to the Hindu god Shiva, “Shiva Panchakshara Stotram/Shiva Shadakshara Stotram,” exemplifies the spiritual aspect of Indian music that has appealed to Western musicians ever since the Beatles embraced the sitar and transcendental meditation. These days, Indian devotional music is used by millions of practitioners of yoga and meditation around the world.