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Ranjit Barot: Beautiful Collision

By Published: November 30, 2010
AAJ: An odd coincidence, for sure. You reinterpret a couple of traditional Indian songs on Bada Boom. Is there a lot of musical experimentation going on in India, fusing the traditional music with other forms of music?

RB: Yeah, there is, in all sorts of genres. The most common trend for the commercial mainstream, whether it be films or whatever, is taking rural folk songs. We have a rich tradition of rural folk songs, and the thing about Indian folk songs is that it's not primitive—it's highly evolved. The folk music, which we really don't know who the author is, becomes public domain, and it's easy to mess around with without copyright and intellectual property stuff getting in the way. Loosely interpreted, it's plagiarizing folk music, but there's a lot of experimentation around, especially on the young, electronic scene. There's some interesting stuff happening.

AAJ: You were the music director for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games, which were held in Delhi in October 2010. How was that whole experience?

RB: It was extremely exciting, something of such magnitude. Just logistically, there are so many people involved—choreographers, an event manager, a creative consultant, the government and ministers. Dealing with that was tiring; the music was easy. It was an extremely enriching experience.

I went to the rehearsal in Delhi and some of the folk musicians I met—man! I met one tribal group—they had finished rehearsals and they wanted to sing a song for me, and basically it was the blues, man. This is a tribe from central India, you know? Where did they know about the blues? It was the same scale, the same thing. I am now instilled with a burning desire to take a camera and a recorder and travel India. That's what I want to do for the next year.

AAJ: Don't forget to take your drum kit.

RB: Oh yeah, [laughs]. There is just so much music, man.

Selected Discography

Ranjit Barot, Bada Boom (Abstract Logix, 2010)
Henrik Anderson, Indian Heartbeat (EMI / IndiaBeat Records, 2010)
John McLaughlin, Meeting of the Minds—The Making of Floating Point (Abstract Logix, 2008)
John McLaughlin, Floating Point (Abstract Logix, 2008)
Various Artists, Miles from India (Times Square Records, 2008)
Ranjit Barot, Seduction (Music Today, 1997)

Photo Credits
All Photos: Courtesy of Ranjit Barot

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Download jazz mp3 “Singularity” by Ranjit Barot