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Ravi Shankar: Chants of India

At 75, Ravi Shankar is going strong and deep, a world music legend whose music is as intimate as it is vast. With his latest project, Chants of India (Angel 7243; 63:41), Shankar has created a family affair of an extended sort-included in the ensemble are his 15-year-old daughter Anoushka, a fine sitarist in her own right, and Shankar’s old friend, George Harrison, who produced the album and also contributes vocal and instrumental parts. Basing the music on ancient Indian chants, in addition to his own original pieces, Shankar has produced a surprisingly colorful and accessible set of 16 pieces. Recorded in Madras and at Harrison’s studio in London, this is perhaps the most joyful celebration of ancient Sanskrit mantras around. Apart from his musical advocacy, Harrison has collaborated with Shankar directly in the past, including albums put out on Harrison’s Dark Horse label, and interactions on Harrison’s Wonderwall soundtrack album, a cult classic reissued on CD a few years back. Harrison reestablished his working relationship with Shankar last year by compiling the impressive four-CD retrospective, Ravi: In Celebration. This new album marks a fresh step, dipping in a venerable past with new footing.

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