Everybody knows the Beatles studied with the Maharishi, but not everyone knows Ananda Shankar -- one of the first musicians to really bring Indian music to western pop. Nephew to Ravi Shankar and the son of classical dancers, Shankar grew up in a music-saturated environment. After completing his academic studies, he turned to the sitar. Rather than pursue classical Hindustani music, however, Shankar was interested in fusion almost from the get-go. A trip to California in the late 1960s cemented Shankar's passion for genre-mixing, and he laid down a self-titled album that became a cult favorite -- primarily because of his adventurous eastern takes on songs like "Light My Fire" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." A new generation of Asian breakbeat artists rediscovered Shankar nuggets in the mid-1990s, and Shankar found himself touring in Peter Gabriel's Womad festival and recording with Asian hipsters State of Bengal. The resulting album, Walking On, is a playful disc that has a harder edge than most Real World releases, though it's certainly not for purists. Shankar died in 1999.
|A Life In Music Best Of The EMI Years|