Friday, 9 August 2013

Music from around the world…

Music is such a huge part of many people’s life and is a pivotal element of many societies. Music has the power to transport and evoke memories of places and people in a way few other things can.

Hindustani music is one form of music from around the world that has influenced the musical styles of elsewhere. Classical north Indian music is formed of two primary elements, the raga which is the melodic structure of the piece, and the tala which is its rhythmic cycle. The distinctive sound of the sitar is for many synonymous with Indian music. One of its most famous players is Ravi Shankar. After a successful early international career he was catapulted into the popular awareness by his association with the Beatles. As most Beatles fans will know, the band travelled to and embraced the Indian culture in the late 60s and it is therefore unsurprising that the influence extended to their music. George Harrison has said that he was inspired by Ravi’s playing when writing tracks such as the 1966 ‘Love To You’, which was the first of the bands attempts at recording a piece with Indian styling. 

Picture source: flickr  

Reggae is another form of world music that has transcended border divides. The Jamaican musical form is commonly identified with the Rastafari religion which sought to empower young black Jamaicans. Reggae as a form encompasses ska, dub, and dancehall among others. Ska gained in popularity in the 1950s and 60s with its upbeat and distinctive sound catching on. Traditional Jamaican folk music, known as mento, was a major influence upon the development of ska along with American jazz and R&B. Ska music continues to influence the work of bands such as Madness and Paulo Nutini. But undoubtedly the most famous of all reggae artists is Bob Marley. Marley was born in a rural Jamaican community to a young mother in 1945 but moved to Trench Town as a teen and it is from here that his most distinctive music derives. He often paid homage to Trench Town in his music and this is clear in tracks such as ‘Trench Town Rock’ and ‘No Woman No Cry’.

 Picture source: flickr 
So even though you may think you know nothing other than the music you grew up with you might surprise yourself with your awareness of international music styles. As an expat you are in a unique position to immerse yourself in a new culture and music will be a major part of this, so why not go along to local festivals or concerts and give it a go?

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