Musical Treasures of the World

By Elizabeth Doyle

Ravi & Anoushka Shankar – Ravi is probably the most famous sitar player in the world, according to his charitable foundation, “Nada Brahma — Sound is God.” He’s an extremely prolific composer, and plays his instrument in a soulful musical language that anyone can understand. He taught the art to his daughter, Anoushka, and she has become a brilliant composer and celebrity sitar player in her own right. Her playing has airy streams of smoke in it; his playing is more moist.  Both of them are tremendous world ambassadors for the music of India, and they are both huge public advocates for ending cruelty to animals.  Here they are: Click here.

Buffy Sainte-Marie – She was one of the first Native Americans to become a folk music star. Buffy Sainte-Marie is part of the Cree tribe (an Algonquin-speaking people who lived in the northern USA and Canada before Europeans arrived.)  She was born on a reservation, and began writing songs and singing professionally in the early 1960s. She’s still an active musician today, and I still collect every new album she puts out. Her music has always been very political, her messages of peace teetering ironically on the edge of fury. Her style of voice has always been uncompromisingly Native American, with a traditional emphasis on raw, vocal power and a quaking vibrato: Click here.

Djur Djura – This artist is a folk hero to a lot of women. The lore is this: She was born in Algeria, but her family had been very disappointed to have a girl, and so she was raised by her grandmother. Later, the entire family moved to France, where Djura’s wonderful singing voice was discovered. But when she was offered a very prestigious job performing on a French television show, her father refused on her behalf, and began arranging her marriage. It wasn’t long before Djura ran away and eventually formed her own band. The band, Djur Djura has been performing since the 1970s.  Djura usually mixes traditional Berber folk melodies with her own original lyrics. She sings with joy, but it’s an insistence on joy – a determination to be happy rather than just a natural inclination.  Her lyrics emphasize the importance of liberating women all across the world. Click here.

Leave a Reply