Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ananda Shankar - Ananda Shankar + Okko - Sitar and Electronics

Two artifacts of the late 60's sitar craze. The first one is an eponymous album by Ananda Shankar, Ravi's nephew, and a great musician in his own right. Ananda plays a psychedelic/funk/raga fusion. This may sound like a sardines/ice cream fusion, but in fact, Ananda excercises enough taste and restraint to allow the flavors to complement and enrich each other. The result is a head-bobbing, finger-snapping stew of sounds, spiced up by the Rolling Stones' and the Doors' covers, expertly balancing the exotic and the familiar, the traditional and the experimental.
He enjoyed some fame in the US in the late 60s and 70s, and his career picked up again in the 90s, after the exposure his music received on the rare grooves compilations like The Blue Note Breakbeats and Rhino's What It Is. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1999 from heart failure.

Ananda Shankar - Ananda Shankar (Snow Flower), 1970
192 kbps
REUP: megaupload
1. Jumpin' Jack Flash
2. Snow flower
3. Light My Fire
4. Mamata (Affection)
5. Metamorphosis
6. Sagar (The Ocean)
7. Dance Indra
8. Raghupati

Also, get his 1975 LP Ananda Shankar and His Music at the consistently wonderful Lost In Tyme blog.

The other one is an album by a Dutch hippie Okko. This LP is much more obscure, but equally good. As the name suggests, Okko plays sitar and moog over the psychedelic rock backing. There are two Beatles covers (and I should mention that Okko displays none of the Harrison excesses and his music never degrades into the boring Blue Jay Way-like noodling), and the rest are originals that draw on the contemporary psychedelic rock as much as on the Indina tradition. I will speculate that East Indian Traffic is inspired by Hendrix' Crosstown Traffic. A great album all around!

Okko - Sitar and Electronics, 1971
192 kbps, 31 mb
REUP: megaupload
1. Ganges Delta
2. Himalaya Highway
3. East Indian Traffic
4. If I Needed Someone
5. Shivas Lullaby
6. Painted Sails on Ganges
7. Santana
8. A Day in the Life


  1. Many thanks for this obscure little sitar gem; much appreciated & well worth a listen.

  2. Fantastic. It was "The Doors Covers" that attracted my attention to this