Monday, December 22, 2008

Indian-Jazz Rock Fusion Music of the 1960s and 1970s

Key Facts About Indian Fusion Music by Shweta Suri

The collaboration story of the Indian and western music is not very old to the Indian music. The fusion became a genre in the year 1955, when the sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan performed with western musicians in the United States. During this era, various other legends including Ali Akbar Khan and Alla Rakha also worked with the western musicians.

In the 1960's, the great sitar player, Pandit Ravi Shankar occupied the stage of the Indian-fusion music. Pt Shankar along with Bud Shank started fussing the jazz music and the Indian traditional music. This trend of Indian fusion music was appreciated and adopted by the people, as a result of which George Harrison played "Norwegian wood" on his sitar in the year 1965. After this the trend was imitated by a number of artists and bands including Miles Davis, Bihari Sharma, Badal Roy, the Rolling Stones, String Band etc.

In the mid-1970s, John McLaughlin's orchestra 'The Mahavishnu' pursued Indian fusion music with the two imperative elements, integrity as well as authenticity. During this process John also joined hands with the legendary artists like L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain and others. Through this way, in the late 1980s, the trend of the Indian fusion music captured the Indian-British artists.

However in the new millennium, America started a new trend to fuse the Bhangra music with the Indian films. The great filmmaker of Indian film industry, Satyajit Ray also made an endeavour to bring the classical music to the limelight through the popular music tracks of his past productions which had the compositions of the great artists and singers, Vilayat Khan and Ravi Shankar.

For the first time in the history of the Indian fusion music, Vishwas Mohan Bhatt, the great Grammy award winner did a jugalbandi with Jei Bing Chen, the famous Chinese Erhu Player. This was the historical master piece of the Indian-Chinese music fusion.

Thus, the rising popularity of the Indian fusion music, with the help of vocals as well as instruments, highlights the multiculturalism and globalisation that are liked and appreciated by the music enthusiasts worldwide.

If you wish to know more about Indian fusion music, please visit

Shweta Suri, music reviewer

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  1. Sure, I can dig the similarities of Indian Rock and Jazz.. FUSION is a good word..Check me out to learn all about JAZZ during the NEW YEAR! With Obama in the White House We will have Jazz coming out of the windows!

  2. You can listen to the 1970's John McLaughlin and Ravi Shankar's 'Shakti' album on Fusion 101 Radio. It's the most intense Indian/jazz-rock.


    Music Man

  3. Correction: is L. Shankar, not Ravi Shankar, on the Shakti group.