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INDO-PROG/RAGA ROCK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Indo-Prog/Raga Rock definition

The private, metaphysical relations to oneself, to the other, the symbolism of existence are connected, transfigured by the particular expression of raga, classical India music. The emotion provided by this music is not only "affective". It's a real message, an aesthetic of the nature, of the divine, a virtue able to guide the listener to a state of emotional trance. In the mid-60's with the launch of international success of raga masters as Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan.European and American artists will become more and more captivated by the dynamical relation between mystical emotion, spirituality and music. The emergence of Raga schools from everywhere (still perpetuating the ancestral musical traditions), the initiatic travels of Western minimalist-modern jazz composers (Terry Riley, Don Cherry...) to India will participate to a growing interest for this musical universe. The emphasis on repetitive circular rhythms, ornamentation (gamaka), the use of acoustic stringed patterns, the sense of beatific endurance and lenghty improvisation are the central characteristics of this music in term of practice and sound aesthetism. Emotionally, the function on the listener is hypnotic, voluntary trying to reach him into a higher state of consciousness, modulating his perception of time and space. The basic conception of "drone" (continuous sound form) will be taken back in popular music and turned into "kosmische" electronica (70's Berlin underground). After Seventh sons' first original but rather discreet effort simply called "raga" (1964) and Malachi's holy music (1966), famous bands as the Beatles in "Revolver" (1966) and Traffic in their album "Mr Fantasy" (1967) will be seduced by the sonorities of Indian raga music. They occasionally incorporate sitar elements to their music. Among the most notorious artists who participate to the original dialogue between proggy rock and Indian music we can notice many jazzy formed musicians influenced by "world" elements (the guitarists Volker Krieger, Steve Tibbetts, the clarinet player Tony Scott). They are often recognised to practice a fusion between jazz rock harmonies and raga's instrumentations (tabla, sitar.). Among them Collin Walcott and Alberto Marsicano were Ravi Shankar's pupils. The world of "raga" rock can also include psych folk / drone-y bands (Quintessance, Fit & Limo, Flute & Voice, GHQ, Pelt...) and which are largely impregnated by mysticism, sonic meditation and sitar.

Philippe Blache

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Indo-Prog/Raga Rock | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.40 | 52 ratings
MIXTUS ORBIS
Clivage, Andre Fertier's
4.11 | 97 ratings
NATURAL ELEMENTS
Shakti With John McLaughlin
4.40 | 15 ratings
DEDICATED TO THE BIRD WE LOVE
Oriental Sunshine
4.12 | 29 ratings
CODONA 3
Codona
4.64 | 6 ratings
ZENDIK - THE ALBUM
Zendik, Wulf
4.32 | 9 ratings
IMAGINATIONS OF LIGHT
Flute & Voice
3.98 | 20 ratings
CODONA
Codona
4.13 | 8 ratings
ROOTS
Ossian / Osjan
3.84 | 26 ratings
A=MH2
Clark Hutchinson
4.48 | 4 ratings
HOLY MUSIC
Malachi
4.07 | 8 ratings
DANZE OF THE COZMIC WARRIORZ
Zendik, Wulf
3.88 | 15 ratings
SATURNIA II - THE GLITTER ODD
Saturnia
3.98 | 9 ratings
DAWN
Robertson, Don
4.20 | 5 ratings
TRADITIONAL MUSIC OF AMYGDALA
Hortobágyi, László
4.20 | 5 ratings
TERRA DEI
Hortobágyi, László
3.98 | 8 ratings
MIRROR IMAGE
Alford, Clem
4.08 | 6 ratings
ANANDA SHANKAR AND HIS MUSIC
Shankar, Ananda
3.80 | 18 ratings
REGINA ASTRIS
Clivage, Andre Fertier's
3.94 | 7 ratings
OSSIAN (WITH TOMASZ STAńKO)
Ossian / Osjan
3.89 | 8 ratings
CODONA 2
Codona

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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TANYET
Ceyleib People, the
OSSIAN (WITH TOMASZ STAńKO)
Ossian / Osjan
ECHO IN LIGHT
Lamp Of The Universe
THE ENTOURAGE MUSIC AND THEATER ENSEMBLE
Entourage Music and Theater Ensemble, The

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Latest Indo-Prog/Raga Rock Music Reviews


 The Codona Trilogy by CODONA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2009
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Codona Trilogy
Codona Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars THE CODONA TRILOGY is as it sounds, the entire three albums in one boxed set (see individual albums for reviews.) I have just a few comments about this particular compilation:

First of all, it is not remastered. The production is very, very good and i cannot find any information about anything being done with it for reissue so i can only assume that it was not. I have not heard any of these albums outside of this release.

I was very disappointed by the packaging. Gone is all of the album cover artwork. The whole package is a white box with each album in a white paper sleeve. Even the discs themselves have NO track listings. The one saving grace of this set as far as special packaging goes is the detailed historical booklet. It tells you everything you could possibly want to know about this band's entire run from 1978-1982.

I got this box set as a convenient way to get all three albums together but they were all released on CD around 1990 and if the sound quality is exactly the same as it is here then i would opt for the actually individual CDs because there are no bonus tracks or any other additional goodies other than the historical info. This is the simplest of reissues with only a nice booklet being the exception.

Although slightly disappointed with the packaging it's the music that counts and it's all here in its entirety and to be fair the album covers on CODONA albums weren't the most artistic of the lot so it's not a horrible loss so i guess i will just have to be happy that i got this package at a decent price which is why it could possibly be so simple in the first place.

 Codona 3 by CODONA album cover Studio Album, 1983
4.12 | 29 ratings

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Codona 3
Codona Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Third and final chapter for the experimental ethnic jazz fusion band CODONA featuring CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry and NA-ná Vasconcelos. Through their three album run on the German jazz label ECM this band explores the many far reaches of the globe with a whole arsenal of musical instruments mixing and commingling like the ancients never thought possible. While the first album was a bit more straight forward offering a glimpse into the possibilities of mixing American jazz, African traditionals and classical Indian music into a sonic cauldron, the second album upped the ante with the experimentation cranking the avant-garde up a few notches and demanding a more dedicated listen to figure out the delicate assembly of parts involved. With CODONA 3 that experimentation is maintained only this time it flows a bit better than that of 2 making it a slightly less demanding listen but still one that will satisfy the adventurous music lover.

The longest track is the opener "Goshakabouchi" which is based on a Japanese traditional piece but takes us much further around the globe than Godzilla ever dared to roam. It begins with sparse Indian bells but eventually is joined by Cherry's signature trumpet sound in an extremely slow tempo and sparsely laid out sonic effect. As the tempo picks up we get new sounds from the caxixi (a high pitched drum), a hammered dulcimer and talking drum. We then move on to an African traditional reminding me of the music of West Africa with the Mandinka tribe coming to mind with "Hey Da Ba Doom" which is heavily percussive and hypnotic because of its repetitive nature. The sanza and doussn'gouni dominate this soundscape.

"Travel By Night" is an odd mid-tempo number with sitar as the dominant instrument with a subordinate trumpet and berimbau peaking in to embellish the rhythmic developments

"Lullaby" is a multi-layered sitar track but sounds more like in an African musical context. It has a strange way of expressing chords through the sitar and one of the most non-Indian pieces i have ever heard using this instrument

"Traya Boia" is a strange multi vocalizing track with multiple chants scattered about eventually accompanied by smooth trumpet notes and high pitched background wails.

"Clicky Clacky" is yet another original design. It begins and ends with a train whistle and the theme is of a hobo during the American Great Depression of the 1930s catching trains and moving on from town to town, however with a sitar and tabla with a blues singing style, it evokes a very surreal sound indeed

"Inner Organs" is the second longest track and is backed up by a Floydian "Saucerful Of Secrets" drone organ sound which gets joined by a tabla, caxixi, sanza (thumb piano), some foreign language spoken lyrics and triangles and takes us on a nice pleasant journey in a nice and mellow way. Cherry contributes his famous trumpet sounds that sound like an elephant. Very cool

CODONA found their sound improving on each album but sadly CO-llin Walcott was killed in a car accident on a 1984 concert tour with his other band Oregon in East Germany. That pretty much ended this ambitious band's existence for it was Walcott who started the whole thing. I have still never heard anything like what this band has done to this degree and it really feels like they were only getting their feet wet and that the best was yet to come.

 Codona 2 by CODONA album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.89 | 8 ratings

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Codona 2
Codona Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Continuing where they left off on their debut album CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry and NA-na Vasconcelos continue their experimental fusion of American jazz, various African styles and Indian influences but this time around they up the experimental ante a notch or two and require the listener to invest a few more listens in order to understand where they are coming from. Upon first listen I didn't like this as much as the debut. Whereas the debut CODONA album kind of had a logic to where they were coming from, this second album throws you for a loop. It's not that it's ridiculously lost in the clouds and creates a whole new musical experience, it's just that the melodies are more intricate and subtle and there are more liberties in the individual instruments creating separate and distinct roles which don't immediately sound pleasant and even ring a little dissonant at times. The band, in effect, are demanding that you evolve as they do in order to understand their progression.

There are all kinds of differences here. For one the band likes to expound on certain ideas. They present a theme and then kind of throw in an extended weirdness, or perhaps you would call it musical variation. On "Malinye" for example, a 12:39 progressive walk through fusion-land, there is an introductory cohesiveness to the song but it changes into a wild vocal frenzy that then turns into an African instrumental affair that incorporates many an ethnic flair to the mix. This is one of the major accomplishments of CODONA, which is the progressive fusion of hitherto unmixed styles of world music. Despite all my praise trying to elevate this album to such heights, I still like it a tad less than the debut, however it is very much recommended for fusion freaks who like a bit more bite and unexpected tumult to their music. This album can be quite exciting and surprising at moments but for an overall appreciation must be heard a few times. A particular sound that remains unique in the musical world as far as I know. I also really like how DO-n Cherry makes his trumpet sound like an elephant at times. 3.5 rounded up

 Dedicated to the bird we love by ORIENTAL SUNSHINE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.40 | 15 ratings

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Dedicated to the bird we love
Oriental Sunshine Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Lear'sFool

5 stars A beautiful record, particularly drenched in Indian traditional music. A lot of this album starts off with prog keyboards, but then soon sitar, bansuri, and dhol all join in. Our vocalists all sing their hearts out as beautifully as the rest of the music, completing psychedelia's dream of a wonderful raga record. Words can't quite describe how wonderful it is, in playing, in its small amount of complexity, in its uniqueness. It is very exceptional, in several meanings of the word. Opener "Across Your Life" is the best track, starting with keys and then introducing the other elements at their best, and "Visions" and "My Way To Be Hurt", both free of keys, are tied for second, with the latter having acoustic guitar as well, but all is pretty and relaxing. Excellent, a one of a kind treat.
 Codona by CODONA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.98 | 20 ratings

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Codona
Codona Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Other than Shakti I have found most other artists listed as Indo / raga jazz fusion don't sound very Indian or raga, rather having the title based on more of a drone that is influenced by such exotica. CODONA is an obvious exception with Indo / raga just bursting into the scene from the getgo with sitars, tablas, dulcimers, timpanis and other exotic elements such as droning chanting vocals in the background adding a Tibetan getaway feel to the whole thing.

CODONA was a trio of talented musicians and cleverly the name of the group is the combination of the first two letters of each of the member's first names: CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry, NA-na Vasconcelos. How's that for democracy? The band released three albums from 1978-82 with this eponymous release being the first. This kind of music probably sounds somewhat familiar since world fusion has blossomed and repeated itself a million-fold since this was released, but this 70s collaboration is dripping with a sublime soul and innovative phrasings that leave me feeling transported to the time and place that this was constructed when the world wasn't quite such a global village and the results of which seem exotic even by today's standards.

Collin Walcott was a disciple of Ravi Shankar and generously handles all of the Indian instruments previously mentioned while the presence of Don Cherry more often associated as a free jazz solo artist as well as with his works with Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Sun Ra and a gazillion others offers his trumpet and free jazz talents to the mix. He not only blows his horn but also throws in a few flute performances and his lesser known talents on doussn'gouni, an African percussion instrument. Naná Vasconcelos is a Brazilian Latin jazz percussionist and berimbau (looks like a Chinese erhu) player. He handles all percussion, the cuica, talking drum as well as his signature berimbau.

The music on this album is sensual and light, contemplative and only subtlety complex as the instruments weave around each other but never deviate from the main musical frame. All is designed to support the other on this meditative trip around the globe. This is light and fluffy music that makes you feel like you are on the verge of an astral trip or in another realm of consciousness altogether. Whereas Shakti was all about the highest tempos possible, CODONA has no problem letting the music breathe in and out just like a student of vipassana would allowing the soul to contemplate every beautiful construct and enigmatic insight the universe has to offer.

 Requiem For Bhopal by GHQ album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Requiem For Bhopal
GHQ Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by draumurist

— First review of this album —
5 stars drone music seems to lend itself to a completely altered state of mind, and easily at that... there is something utterly, unspeakably psychedelic about the psychology of a drone, the vast and aching stretches of barren, desolate soundscape, yet somehow simultaneously overgrown with vines, flowering with life, teeming with feelings of hope, love, despair, solitude, isolation, somehow, sometimes even desire and lust.

this kind of music taps directly into your consciousness, and it does so quietly, gently, painlessly, artfully, skilfully. The thick haze in which you find yourself when you listen to a record like this is suffocating, but it is warm and it is calming. It's like smoking opium.

Requiem for Bhopal is a very short, two track record on meditative drones, evoking images of distant movement on the ridge of a foggy, misty valley at sunset... something of that sort without sounding to "pretentious".

not everyone can understand music like this. little changes, no recognizable or hummable melodies... this is not pop music. This is celestial music, the sound of planets and stars colliding with each other in 1000x slow motion.

listen carefully.

 Silver Trees by ABSTRACT TRUTH album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.59 | 24 ratings

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Silver Trees
Abstract Truth Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by PROGNATURE BEAST

4 stars Very good progressive rock from South Africa, tinged with Psychedelic and Jazz leanings similar in style with the sound of mid-Traffic or even Manfred Mann's Chapter Three. It's a period piece for sure but, considering the year (1970) and the place (South Africa) you can only admire the effort of the musicians participated. Check out also their first album of the same year Totum, but this one is more mature I think. Totum, had covers played with gusto, but this one contains only original compostions all of them full of moods and worth to mention. I particularly like the longest one " Silver Trees " also " Pollution " and " In A Space ". " Blue Wednesday Speaks " adds a more traditional South African style to the composition with very good results. It's a shame they couldn't go on. A nice addition to your Prog-rock collection.
 Shakti with John McLaughlin by SHAKTI WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN album cover Live, 1976
3.45 | 44 ratings

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Shakti with John McLaughlin
Shakti With John McLaughlin Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars John McLaughlin's first major reinvention of his musical vision occurred in 1976 when he hooked up with both Northern and Southern Indian musicians to create a new band called SHAKTI. Despite a lame looking cover and John's name attached for apparent recognition, the music is a give-and-take affair with each musician contributing his all to the whole. Out of the three albums they released in the 70s, the first simply titled SHAKTI WITH JOHN McLAUGHLIN was a live album displaying all members' abilities to shred like nobody's business. It is stunning that the live album and the studio albums are almost indistinguishable save the audience applause since the studio albums were basically recorded live on the spot.

This is a kind of music I seem to like more than most. It is true that of all the three albums there is not a lot of musical variation. You get lots of Indian percussion, violin solos reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and John's guitar skills breaking the sound barrier. All tracks are based on traditional Indian music of both North and South India with American jazz fusion added to the mix. The musicianship is outstanding and as a fan of technically challenging musical displays, I find this quite an exciting listen. If, on the other hand, you only have patience for one of these types of albums, I would head straight to the best of the lot, "Natural Elements" which is the most refined of the original three albums. I on the other hand find this just as good as the next album "A Handful Of Beauty." Great pacing of slow and fast with emotive passages allows a smooth listen from beginning to end. The well-seasoned musicians display their chops effortlessly and as a lover of classical Indian music AND jazz I dig this stuff a great deal.

 Lang'syne by LANGSYNE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.40 | 13 ratings

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Lang'syne
Langsyne Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars The German folk trio LANGSYNE from Wuppertal area never got support from record companies during their eight years of activity, but their self-budgeted sole album has become a valuable collector's item and has seen numerous re-releases on vinyl and CD. I was happy to receive the Garden of Delights edition with 15 (!) bonus tracks and an exhausting article. Not that I'd ever care to read all details about the various re-releases. I'm surprisingly only the third reviewer.

I couldn't invent a better name than the Scottish word for "long since" for this group, who doesn't sound German at all. Indo-Prog / Raga-Rock is a bit misleading category, as this is primarily Medieval / Renaissance -inspired folk. GRYPHON is mentioned as the trio's mutual idol, but the music comes closer to AMAZING BLONDEL, slightly seasoned with INCREDIBLE STRING BAND's Indo-flavoured psychedelia. Ethnic instruments such as psalter, sitar or koto are used to a small degree. Multiple acoustic guitars form the spine, even flute, organ and percussion are often put aside.

Perhaps the main album's long tracks are the clearest highlights in their melancholic and nearly mystic atmosphere. I prefer the earthly, unspectacular vocals and vocal harmonies over the oversweetness of Blondel. One guy occasionally resembles distantly Neil Young. Well, thankfully only a little.

Also the luxurious bonuses have a very good sound quality. Strangely the text doesn't seem to tell anything about them. They're much shorter in average: they take the same 39˝-minute space as the seven album tracks. They are less atavistic, more contemporary sounding songs and instrumentals. Instead of tasting like inferior bonus material as usual, they practically from a whole decent folk album of their own. A very worthy release to all friends of acoustic folk-rock and especially of the aforementioned British bands.

 Silver Trees by ABSTRACT TRUTH album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.59 | 24 ratings

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Silver Trees
Abstract Truth Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars South African prog is not all that familiar to me. As in any country or continent there are bound to be acts playing something relating to the term progressive rock and Abstract Truth certainly is one of those.

Progressive rock in it's infancy is often pleasant. Sometimes complex and brilliant, sometimes only brilliant and on occasion simply pleasant. This album balances between brilliant and pleasant, with emphasis on the latter. Now, that is not bad at all. It is actually quite good. Really.

When I listen to "Silver trees" I get the same feeling as I do when I hear Tamam Shud. It is sort of fragile and shaky at times. That could be labelled charming and it could be labelled annoying. I find it, after all, quite charming. The music of Abstract Truth and Tamam Shud is connected in some ways. It holds specific trademarksof it's origins, in this case a flavor of african music in the track "Pollution", and that is, I think, great.

The music can be described as organ-laden progressive on the softer side. There are no real outbursts of heavy rock or anything like that. Instead it is melodious, very pleasant and very enjoyable. The album holds only a few real standouts of which "Silver trees" is the best and most epic, due to it's length. The remaining songs are all good but it all blends together a bit I feel.

The instrumentation is good, the vocals great and the overall feel is one of warmth and sincerity. This is progressive rock when it is in it's infancy and produced in a country and continent not primarily associated with that sort of music. I think that the album is sadly overlooked, actually. It is not the greatest of prog albums and certainly not the boldest or most complex of the lot. It is however a well constructed album, drawing influence from the '60's west coast and the comings of musical progression and lands in the same territory as Gracious!, Skin Alley and the likes.

Conclusion: Three solid stars and a plea to all of you to give it a spin.

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Indo-Prog/Raga Rock bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
500MG United States
ABSTRACT TRUTH South Africa
CLEM ALFORD United Kingdom
ALUMBRADOS United States
ERIK AMLEE United States
AMPS FOR CHRIST United States
OKKO BEKKER Germany
BROTHER AH United States
BOBBY CALLENDER United States
THE CEYLEIB PEOPLE United States
CLARK HUTCHINSON United Kingdom
ANDRE FERTIER'S CLIVAGE France
CODONA Multi-National
COSMIC EYE Multi-National
THE ENTOURAGE MUSIC AND THEATER ENSEMBLE United States
FIT & LIMO Germany
FLOATING FLOWER Japan
FLUTE & VOICE Germany
GENSHI-KYODOTAI (PRIMITIVE COMMUNITY) Japan
GHQ United States
THE HABIBIYYA United Kingdom
HARVESTER Sweden
LÁSZLÓ HORTOBÁGYI Hungary
KALA United Kingdom
KALACAKRA Germany
KANGURU Australia
LAMP OF THE UNIVERSE New Zealand
LANGSYNE Germany
MAGIC CARPET United Kingdom
MALACHI United States
ALBERTO MARSICANO Brazil
MONTIBUS COMMUNITAS Peru
THE ORIENT EXPRESS Multi-National
ORIENT SQUEEZERS Sweden
ORIENTAL SUNSHINE Multi-National
OSSIAN / OSJAN Poland
PELT United States
QUINTESSENCE United Kingdom
DON ROBERTSON United States
SADDAR BAZAAR United Kingdom
SATURNIA Portugal
SATWA Brazil
SEVENTH SONS United States
SHAKTI WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Multi-National
ANANDA SHANKAR India
SHANTI Multi-National
SMASH Spain
JIM SULLIVAN United Kingdom
THIRD EAR BAND United Kingdom
VASANT RAI Multi-National
WULF ZENDIK United States

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