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Sound of Music


After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. ~Aldous Huxley

I have been a music fan for as long as I can remember, a music fan from the very first record I purchased, a 45 rpm of The Candy Man by Sammy Davis Jr., a song that can still be found on YouTube. My tastes have evolved since those early days, evolved in ways that I could never have fathomed. I went from an adolescent with an affinity for pop to a High Schooler digging head banging, heavy metal to a middle aged man with few limits on the music I appreciate and allow to enter my ears. My collection covers a wide array of genres dating as far back as the 1940s through current day.

Wednesday night, I attended a concert by a composer from India named Anoushka Shankar. She plays a sitar in a musical style which she terms as a fusion between Classical Indian music and Spanish flamenco. I first became acquainted with Classical Indian music during a visit to India when my friend, Inayat, took me to a morning raga by one of his favorite Indian musicians.  I have found myself enjoying Classical Indian music ever since so, when I discovered Indian music in the form of Anoushka was to be playing in the Chicago area, I immediately purchased tickets to the event.

She was accompanied by five other artists. Two of them played a variety of Indian instruments including an incredible flute type instrument, one was a percussionist playing western instruments of a less common variety, a flamenco guitarist and a female vocalist who switched between Spanish and haunting Indian vocals. The blend of instruments created a intriguing musical texture with a result that was nothing short of magical. The music was nothing short of incredible in it’s fusing of the East with the West and had me entranced the entire concert.

On the way out, I overhead someone saying he was surprised it was mostly in 6 / 8 beat. He may well have been speaking Hindi for, though I heard the words, I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. I simply cannot connect with music in an academic way. For me, music is never an academic encounter. For me, music is always emotional. I connect with music at a base level, a feeling level. Music drives my body to sway, me feet to tap, my fingers to strum, and my emotions to dance. For me, few things are as gripping as the sound of music.

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