Ravi Shankar

Tana Mana

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On his first release for Private Music, Ravi Shankar combined the traditional instruments of Indian music (sitar, sarod, tabla, etc.) with synthesizers and heavy sampling keyboard usage. Surprisingly enough, the combination works out for the best on the majority of the tracks. The reverberant quality of the sitar combines rather well with the chosen electronic accompaniments to form a set of coherent songs, unlike many other such attempted combinations of traditional instruments and technology. The sitar playing is, as usual, superb -- who would expect anything else to come from the legend himself (and/or his associate Shubho Shankar). With an extra sarod thrown in, a small front line of synthesizers, and Shankar's friend George Harrison assisting on the autoharp, the pile of musicality that forms allows an unexpectedly coherent, clear, and relatively focused piece of music to emerge. There are no specific highlights to speak of on this album, as all of the tracks are equal, and the level at which they are equal is rather high. The only real gripe to be had with the album is the lack of straight Indian classical playing by Shankar, though with his multitude of other albums, that can be forgiven.

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