Various Artists

World Is India

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At first glance, Starbucks' World Is India compilation might seem like a rather random collection of Indian music featuring well-known and somewhat obscure talents. That said, appearances can be, and in this case most definitely are, deceiving. The music presented here ranges across nearly 50 years and is programmed from a wide variety of music both classical in origin as well as popular, both inside and outside India. While Ravi Shankar is here representing the tradition of Indian classical music as it has developed over nearly a thousand years, we also get the music of the great Bollywood vocalists Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, and Mukesh Chand Mathur, as well as composers both classic -- Rahul Dev Burman -- and modern -- Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi. But this budget-priced set goes even deeper than that by offering us the sounds of the electronic underground from Tabla Beat Science, Black Star Liner, and Ursula 1000, as well as hip-hop from Panjabi MC. In addition, this comp offers proof as to how Indian music has also influenced the West. There are selection here from DJ/producer Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra that have sampled deeply from India's well, and collaborations between Dan the Automator and the Shah Brothers as well as American blues guitarist Bob Brozman with Debashish Bhattacharya, a distinguished, classically trained Indian musician who plays that music on a lap steel slide guitar. For the money, this is an eye- as well as ear-opening experience.