Deutsche Grammophon releases Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic's performances of the complete Charles Ives symphony cycle. Called "a revelation" by the Los Angeles Times, the rarely heard symphony cycle was recorded in early 2020 as part of the LA Phil's Dvořák and Ives festival.
THE CLASSIC REVIEW's David A. McConnell writes.....Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and DG deserve our warmest thanks for releasing new recordings of these endlessly fascinating works. The label "Complete Symphonies" is misleading however, since the "New England Holidays" Symphony is not included. Given the excellence of these performances, I hope Dudamel and Los Angeles turn their attention to that work in the future. Nevertheless, it is fantastic that one of America's finest orchestras has recorded this repertoire.
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FanFare's Henry Fogel writes.....Gregoriadou is a Greek guitarist who draws a remarkably wide range of color from her guitar. The calm beauty of the third movement of the Bach violin sonata, simply marked Andante, is followed by a brilliantly executed final Allegro that manages to wed crisp articulation with lyrical flow.
Britten's Nocturnal after John Dowland, written for Julian Bream, is given a superb reading. The music is a set of variations that appear before the Dowland theme itself emerges at the end. Britten said that the music contained "disturbing images," though he never specified what they were. This is unsettled music that seems to stop and start, building tension in its halting, quiet way. Release, at least to a degree, is found at the end with Dowland's original theme. Gregoriadou's performance emphasizes the work's underlying tension without overplaying it.
Sofia Gubaidulina's Serenade was composed in 1960 when the composer was 29, and is a gentler and more introspective work than we are used to from her. At three minutes, it is also very brief. Not unlike the Britten, the music is tonally ambiguous until resolving in what Gregoriadou, in her excellent notes, calls "a therapeutic G major chord."
Jacques Hétu was a Canadian composer (1938–2010) who wrote his Suite pour guitare in 1986. It is predominantly a lyrical work, much of it at soft dynamics. The third movement, "Ballade," is marked by an underlying darkness that is relieved in the following "Rêverie." After these two quiet movements the work ends with a brilliant finale, in the style of a moto perpetuo.
What is special about this recording is Gregoriadou's focus on timbre. Her technique is exceptional, but it is always at the service of creating a sound world with a wide spectrum. Her dynamic shading in the last movement of the Hétu is astonishing, and it is so effortlessly achieved that you don't think about technique as you listen. I don't think of Gregoriadou as a guitarist. I think of her as a musician who happens to play the guitar. This is a very beautiful guitar recital, with recorded sound that makes it seem as if you are in the room with Gregoriadou, and at just the right distance for the best perspective.
HAPPY's Rian Howlett writes.....2020 was an incredible year for gaming for a few reasons. A lot of free time went around the place, imminent next-gen releases pushed everyone into a gaming frenzy, and Keanu Reeves called another man, and all of us, breathtaking. And just like the titles they represent, the video game soundtracks released in 2020 were top notch.
We trawled back through the year that was to single out who we thought brought true heat to the musical table. For the most part, these OSTs are albums you can listen to in their own right, some of them however just complemented the game so perfectly that now it's hard to think of one without the other.
From electrically charged thrash metal to spine-tingling orchestral scores, HAPPY picks the 10 best video game soundtracks of 2020. On the list is Gustavo Santaolalla - The Last Of Us Part 2.
Gustavo Santaolalla has stood as the invisible third piece of the Joel and Ellie puzzle for as long as we've known them. The guitar in the original TLOU was a sparse, exquisite affair. Barely noticeable builds, and almost entirely acoustic. It was haunting and instantly recognisable.
With all of the weapons of the contemporary music producer at his arsenal, he brought a much bigger world for our ears to play in. While absolutely different to the original, there wasn't anything lost through the shift in the music from part one to two. The Last Of Us Part 2's soundtrack is a gorgeous, expansive experience that complemented the jump from adolescence to adulthood that Ellie makes between the games.
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99.5CRB - Boston - CHRIS VOSS writes.......When I asked Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital about his newest album and how it differed from his previous mandolin albums, he answered me with a wry, winking smile: "I don't have other mandolin albums."
Which is true enough.
Avital's past albums - like the 2012 Bach album or the 2015 Vivaldi album - have mostly included pieces composed for other instruments, like the keyboard, violin, or guitar, in arrangements for mandolin. The mandolin was not the focus. As he puts it, those albums featured works that he enjoys playing "because it's beautiful music." To this day, that he plays the mandolin is simply "is a technical fact."
But with Art of the Mandolin, music written for his instrument takes center stage.
In our discussion we explore the ins and outs of the instrument, talk about how composers's social perception of the mandolin shaped how they wrote for it, hear a work that was assumed to be for keyboard but simply makes more sense played on mandolin, and chat about Avital's passion for expanding the repertoire for his instrument through frequent commissioned works.
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Welcome to a new edition of the Neon Jazz interview series with Jazz Composer & Pianist Sarah Mckenzie. When the corona virus hit in early March., she was just on tour in France and all her shows got cancelled. At the same time the US government implemented a travel ban for everyone who was traveling from the Schengen territory so Sarah was unable to return to her home in Los Angeles immediately. ‘In order not to get stuck during lockdown in a big city – she rented an old school house in the very South of England, in Hastings at the English Channel coast. It was a very romantic place from the 17th century. They had planned to stay for two weeks, in the end it was 3 1/2 months. She explains was ensured .. Enjoy ..
Neon Jazz is a radio program airing since 2011. Hosted by Joe Dimino and Engineered by John Christopher in Kansas City, Missouri giving listeners a journey into one of America's finest inventions. Take a listen on KCXL (102.9 FM / 1140 AM) out of Liberty, MO. Listen to KCXL on Tunein Radio at http://tunein.com/radio/Neon-Jazz-Wit.... You can now catch Neon Jazz on KOJH 104.7 FM out of the Mutual Musicians Foundation from Noon - 1 p.m. CST Monday-Friday at https://www.kojhfm.org/. Check us out at All About Jazz @ https://kansascity.jazznearyou.com/ne.... For all things Neon Jazz, visit http://theneonjazz.blogspot.com/
lab.fm writes....Saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom and bassist Mark Helias have released Some Kind of Tomorrow, an improvised duo album they worked on during coronavirus lockdown.
Bloom (soprano saxophone) and Helias (double bass) worked on the 11-track record together over the course of 2020, collaborating remotely online. The two recorded simultaneously in their respective homes and combined the tracks together in post-production, Helias explained in a Facebook post. "The first time that Jane and I improvised together through Wi-Fi sometime in April or May 2020 was a very high experience on so many levels," he said in a statement.
"We were sorting out the possibilities of making music remotely and assessing the technology and our relation to it. Once we made peace with the situation and the medium, listening, feeling, hearing and responding was the same as it ever was."
Bloom added, "There is a vibration between us that's uncanny given the circumstances and a deep need to play what was real to us just then. It's as real as it gets for two musicians who needed to create music together to try to find some way to mend the world."
Listen to the adventurous title track and purchase Some Kind of Tomorrow in its entirety via Helias' Bandcamp below.
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Michael Bonner writes.......This month's Uncut contains a rare interview with Sonny Rollins – the last of the true jazz titans, whose music Dylan once described as "big league sound, covering all bases". John Lewis's superb interview reads like history unfolding, as Rollins takes us through his memories of some of the 20th century's most profound musical and cultural revolutions, including jazz, the civil rights movement and more. I'm thrilled.
Theodore Walter Rollins was born on September 7, 1930 in New York City. He grew up in Harlem not far from the Savoy Ballroom, the Apollo Theatre, and the doorstep of his idol, Coleman Hawkins. After early discovery of Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong, he started out on alto saxophone, inspired by Louis Jordan. At the age of sixteen, he switched to tenor, trying to emulate Hawkins. He also fell under the spell of the musical revolution that surrounded him, Bebop.
He began to follow Charlie Parker, and soon came under the wing of Thelonious Monk, who became his musical mentor and guru. Living in Sugar Hill, his neighborhood musical peers included Jackie McLean, Kenny Drew and Art Taylor, but it was young Sonny who was first out of the pack, working and recording with Babs Gonzales, J.J. Johnson, Bud Powell and Miles Davis before he turned twenty.
In 1956, Sonny began recording the first of a series of landmark recordings issued under his own name: Valse Hot introduced the practice, now common, of playing bop in 3/4 meter; St. Thomasinitiated his explorations of calypso patterns; and Blue 7 was hailed by Gunther Schuller as demonstrating a new manner of "thematic improvisation," in which the soloist develops motifs extracted from his theme. Way Out West (1957), Rollins's first album using a trio of saxophone, double bass, and drums, offered a solution to his longstanding difficulties with incompatible pianists, and exemplified his witty ability to improvise on hackneyed material (Wagon Wheels, I'm an Old Cowhand). It Could Happen to You (also 1957) was the first in a long series of unaccompanied solo recordings, and The Freedom Suite (1958) foreshadowed the political stances taken in jazz in the 1960s. During the years 1956 to 1958 Rollins was widely regarded as the most talented and innovative tenor saxophonist in jazz.
Sonny remembers that he took his leave of absence from the scene because "I was getting very famous at the time and I felt I needed to brush up on various aspects of my craft. I felt I was getting too much, too soon, so I said, wait a minute, I'm going to do it my way. I wasn't going to let people push me out there, so I could fall down. I wanted to get myself together, on my own. I used to practice on the Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge because I was living on the Lower East Side at the time."
When he returned to action in early `62, his first recording was appropriately titled The Bridge. By the mid 60′s, his live sets became grand, marathon stream-of-consciousness solos where he would call forth melodies from his encyclopedic knowledge of popular songs, including startling segues and sometimes barely visiting one theme before surging into dazzling variations upon the next. Rollins was brilliant, yet restless. The period between 1962 and `66 saw him returning to action and striking productive relationships with Jim Hall, Don Cherry, Paul Bley, and his idol Hawkins, yet he grew dissatisfied with the music business once again and started yet another sabbatical in `66. "I was getting into eastern religions," he remembers. "I've always been my own man. I've always done, tried to do, what I wanted to do for myself. So these are things I wanted to do. I wanted to go on the Bridge. I wanted to get into religion. But also, the Jazz music business is always bad. It's never good. So that led me to stop playing in public for a while, again. During the second sabbatical, I worked in Japan a little bit, and went to India after that and spent a lot of time in a monastery. I resurfaced in the early 70s, and made my first record in `72. I took some time off to get myself together and I think it's a good thing for anybody to do."
In 1972, with the encouragement and support of his wife Lucille, who had become his business manager, Rollins returned to performing and recording, signing with Milestone and releasing Next Album. (Working at first with Orrin Keepnews, Sonny was by the early '80s producing his own Milestone sessions with Lucille.) His lengthy association with the Berkeley-based label produced two dozen albums in various settings – from his working groups to all-star ensembles (Tommy Flanagan, Jack DeJohnette, Stanley Clarke, Tony Williams); from a solo recital to tour recordings with the Milestone Jazzstars (Ron Carter, McCoy Tyner); in the studio and on the concert stage (Montreux, San Francisco, New York, Boston). Sonny was also the subject of a mid-'80s documentary by Robert Mugge entitled Saxophone Colossus; part of its soundtrack is available as G-Man.
He won his first performance Grammy for This Is What I Do (2000), and his second for 2004's Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert), in the Best Jazz Instrumental Solo category (for "Why Was I Born"). In addition, Sonny received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2004.
In June 2006 Rollins was inducted into the Academy of Achievement – and gave a solo performance – at the International Achievement Summit in Los Angeles. The event was hosted by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and attended by world leaders as well as distinguished figures in the arts and sciences.
Rollins was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, in November 2009. The award is one of Austria's highest honors, given to leading international figures for distinguished achievements. The only other American artists who have received this recognition are Frank Sinatra and Jessye Norman.
In 2010 on the eve of his 80th birthday, Sonny Rollins is one of 229 leaders in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, business, and public affairs who have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A center for independent policy research, the Academy is among the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and celebrates the 230th anniversary of its founding this year.
In August 2010, Rollins was named the Edward MacDowell Medalist, the first jazz composer to be so honored. The Medal has been awarded annually since 1960 to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her field.
Yet another major award was bestowed on Rollins on March 2, 2011, when he received the Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony. Rollins accepted the award, the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence, "on behalf of the gods of our music."
Since 2006, Rollins has been releasing his music on his own label, Doxy Records. The first Doxy album was Sonny, Please, Rollins's first studio recording since This Is What I Do. That was followed by the acclaimed Road Shows, vol. 1 (2008), the first in a planned series of recordings from Rollins's audio archives.
Mr. Rollins released Road Shows, vol. 2 in the fall of 2011. In addition to material recorded in Sapporo and Tokyo, Japan during an October 2010 tour, the recording contains several tracks from Sonny's September 2010 80th birthday concert in New York-including the historic and electrifying encounter with Ornette Coleman.
On December 3, 2011 Sonny Rollins was one of five 2011 Kennedy Center honorees, alongside actress Meryl Streep, singer Barbara Cook, singer/songwriter Neil Diamond and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Rollins said of the honor, "I am deeply appreciative of this great honor. In honoring me, the Kennedy Center honors jazz, America's classical music. For that, I am very grateful."
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"The London-based trio The Comet Is Coming-made up of the saxophonist King Shabaka, the percussionist Betamax, and the keyboardist Danalogue-thrusts empyrean jazz into an apocalyptic future, where raucous psych rock and danceable electro-grooves ride lush tenor lines to outer space.
Sony Music Masterworks today announces the release of THE PROM (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX FILM), an album of music from the forthcoming Netflix film directed by Ryan Murphy and based on the hit Broadway musical from Bob Martin, Chad Beguelin, and Matthew Sklar.
Anoushka Shankar emerges as a potent and creative force with Rise
Posted: August 26, 2013 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
The sitarist & composer Anoushka Shankar's fourth album, Rise, marks a defining moment in the career of the young woman whose surname is synonymous with Indian music. Having previously recorded strictly in the classical tradition of her father, the legendary Ravi Shankar, Anoushka truly emerges as a potent creative force with her newest release.
"It's very much my own music and my journey and who I am right now," says Anoushka, who turned 24 in June. "I felt like I was rising into that. On a personal level, Rise signifies growth. It was a step up for me. Not even up, just more into my own."On Rise which was composed, produced and arranged by Anoushka she collaborated with a select crew of virtuoso Eastern and Western musicians wielding a variety of both acoustic and electronic instruments, often engaging in unexpected ways to create tantalizing new sounds. And while Anoushka's own sitar playing has evolved measurably, there are several tracks on Rise on which she eschews the sitar all together in favor of allowing her voice to be heard by way of her compositions and arrangements instead. The result is a stunning and evocative work that will surely catapult Anoushka into the vanguard of the world music scene.
Two back-to-back concerts in New York this Fall will accentuate the breadth and dedication of Anoushka's musicianship when on Oct. 27 she performs the music from Rise with her own ensemble at Joe's Pub, and on Oct. 28 she is a featured performer on Ravi Shankar's Festival of India III at Carnegie Hall. Further Festival of India tour dates include stops in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Boston, Baltimore, Washington DC and Chicago.
Anoushka's side projects of late have included everything from a guest appearance on an electro-Indian project, composing a film soundtrack, acting in a Bollywood film, and writing a biography of her father.
MIDIval Punditz, the electro-Indian outfit, enlisted Anoushka to contribute her sitar to "Rebirth," a track on their latest release MIDIval Times. Gaurav Raina, one the group's two founding members, was also the recording engineer on Anoushka's new CD Rise. Anoushka also composed the score for the short film Ancient Marks, which was screened at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. She also made her film acting debut last year portraying a dancer in the Bollywood film Dance Like A Man. Anoushka also penned a biography of her father, the legendary sitarist Ravi Shankar, titled Bapi, The Love of My Life.
"I was going to go disappear for a while but wouldn't you know it, I made an album," she says. "The sabbatical gave me the space to take risks. It was really an organic, natural experience. I was traveling from India to the States and meeting friends and adding people along the way. It was really beautiful."
From the first notes of "Prayer In Passing," which opens Rise, it becomes instantly clear that Anoushka is on to something inspiring and uncommon here. The track features Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, a renowned Indian slide guitarist, providing melodic direction alongside the flamenco-style piano of Ricardo Mino, Pedro Eustache's bansuri flute and duduk (a Middle Eastern wind instrument) and Anoushka's sitar. "This one's very languid," says Anoushka. "It's just nice and dreamy-it's set in a morning raga that's very moody and simple. It was lovely to have so many different things that shouldn't go together but seemed to flow really nicely."
"Red Sun," the second track, features Anoushka on keyboards and is highlighted by the percussive Indian "bol" vocalizing of Bikram Ghosh and Tanmoy Bose, her longtime tabla players. "We've always incorporated that into my shows when they play with me, and I definitely wanted to feature that-they're improvising on that," says Anoushka.
"Mahadeva" is based on a four-line song by Ravi Shankar that was re-composed and arranged by Anoushka. "He never developed it into a piece of music," Anoushka explains. "It was just something that I sang as a kid and it came into my head while we were in Calcutta recording. It started developing into a really strong rhythmic, dark-feeling track, which I was really excited about. Mahadeva is another name for Shiva, and one aspect of Shiva is that he's the destroyer. This sort of brings out that feeling of anger and insanity."
"Naked" turns the mood around completely-Anoushka, all alone, on sitar and keyboards. "It was a very conscious decision to add a little pretty track with sitar being the focus," she says. "We'd gone very mysterious and heavy and it seemed nice to have something light."
"Solea" was co-written by Anoushka and pianist Ricardo Mi?o. The luminous background sounds, Anoushka explains, were all created on the piano. "I'm holding the piano strings muted while he's playing one of the other background synth sounds. It was really creative and fun for me, and very physical, too, because of the rhythm, the flamenco approach."
The album's other sitar-less track, "'Beloved,'" says Anoushka, "was my first experience writing lyrics from scratch and fitting it to a melody. It was flute-focused and I thought it would be nice to have it be about Krishna because he's always associated with the flute. The lyrics are from the viewpoint of Radha, who's his eternal lover. She's searching for him everywhere and then she understands that the reason she hasn't been able to find him is because she's not looking within herself."
The intriguingly titled "Sinister Grains," like "Prayer In Passing," is another instance where Anoushka has juxtaposed seemingly incongruous ingredients, here using Indian shehnai and vocals, didjeridoo, South American vocal percussion, bass and electronic elements, including her sitar which was fed through a filter to create some of the track's ambient effects. "It's just a funky little mysterious track," she says. "The song is in a Sufi-sort of mood where he's talking about the pain of living, and the music is also very moody."
Anoushka compares "Voice Of The Moon," which matches the Western cello and violin to the Eastern sitar, tabla and santoor, to her father's collaborations with the late violinist Yehudi Menuhin. "It's very much composed within an Indian raga yet the fact that the cello is there gives it a smoothness," she says. The Indian percussion is amended with an electronic HandSonic drum pad as well, "to give it a little more depth," Anoushka explains.
Finally, "Ancient Love," the longest track on Rise, is "my favorite one by far," says Anoushka. "This is the one closest to my heart. It was also the easiest track because it constantly flowed. Every time someone added to this track, it would get more beautiful. We ended up taking out a lot, too, to retain a bit of simplicity. It's got a nice mix of the electronics and several flavors."
The sequencing of the tracks on Rise, adds Anoushka, is hardly random. "Each one is in a certain raga, and it flows from morning to evening through the course of the album, which is a pretty unique feature. It's not something that happens very often or that can be made to work, but if you do believe that ragas have moods and have significance it does enhance the overall flow."
Although Rise is a bold departure for Anoushka and she is cognizant of her expanding horizons as an artist since embarking on the project, she ensures that, like her previous work, it is a "very Indian album. Coming into my own in this way musically has made me a better sitar player, but Rise is something that can connect to a lot more people."
‘Love Letters' marks a different direction for the internationally celebrated artist; it offers a shift in intimacy and content and comes at a pivotal time in her career as she signs to her new record label, Mercury KX. Hailed by the Guardian as a "virtuoso sitar player", Anoushka truly pushes the boundaries of how the instrument is heard and perceived and "uses it as a vehicle for creativity" (Times).
Love Letters documents a time of profound flux for Anoushka: health issues, heartbreak, domestic upheaval – "These were difficult times, which pushed me into some very vulnerable places. I've written from a personal place before, of course, but there was something particularly tender about the process this time, and it was a creative challenge to be brave enough to allow the music to remain as raw as it began" she says.
Land of Gold, Anoushka Shankar's fourth album for Deutsche Grammophon, is her heartfelt response to the trauma and injustice experienced by refugees and victims of war. Offering an uplifting message of hope for dark times, its music was inspired by recent news images of people fleeing civil war, oppression, poverty and unbearable hardship. The album contemplates the common thread of humanity and its power to reconnect people divided by hatred and fear. "The seeds of Land of Gold originated in the context of the humanitarian plight of refugees," Anoushka recalls. "It coincided with the time when I had recently given birth to my second child. I was deeply troubled by the intense contrast between my ability to provide for my baby, and others who desperately wanted to provide the same security for their children but were unable to do so."
15 NEW 132 Total
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After several stunning experimental/crossover albums, including the Grammy®-nominated recordings Rise, Traveller and Traces Of You,Anoushka Shankar returns to her classical roots, paying homage to the teachings of her father and guru Ravi Shankar. Home features two ragas, one of which is a creation of Ravi Shankar's, and with them Anoushka shares an intimate, heartfelt live performance in the traditional style. Indian classical music is not written down, but has been improvised and passed down through an oral tradition for centuries; Home is a paradigm of this genre, exemplifying the unique dichotomy between the ancient structure and in-the-moment improvisations. Home is self-produced by Anoushka, and on it she strove torecord the ancient instruments at an unprecedented, "high-definition" quality, working with a team of experts to design a studio in her own home that would be uniquely suited to the timbre of her instrument.
16 NEW 43 Total
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Inspired by the loss of her legendary father, Ravi Shankar, and by the idea that everything in the universe leaves an indelible mark on everything else, Anoushka Shankar releases her first Deutsche Grammophon recording: Traces of You. The work is a juxtaposition of sorrow surrounding the loss of her father during the recording process and the joy of raising her son, Zubin. Anoushka Shankar has been nominated for three Grammy® Awards, making her the first Indian female and youngest-ever nominee in the World Music category. As a classical sitarist her professional debut was at the age of thirteen and she has championed her father's orchestral works with the world's leading orchestras. Shankar will tour the U.S. in support of the album.
24 NEW 'ON' 196 Total
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From the time that the great sitar maestro Ravi Shankar attuned Western ears to the eloquence of Indian Classical music, the world has been fertile ground for creating new fusions of culture and music. The evidence is heard in music from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin, as well as that of Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale. East meets West with the Anoushka Shankar, Karsh Kale collaboration on Breathing Under Water. The new CD on Manhattan records includes guest tracks by Sting, and Anoushka's sister Norah Jones
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Sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar releases: Rise, her first studio recording in 5 years, and first release since 2001's Grammy-Nominated CD Live At Carnegie Hall.
TIME Asia wrote: "Anoushka Shankar has made her sitar an instrument not just of a silky melody but of a cultural revival, injecting freshness and energy into traditional Indian music, and broadening its appeal for a younger generation."
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