Music is a strange thing, and it is hard to say what it means for me. I have a reasonably wide range, or collection, of music and often choose my music depending on my mood. But, I have been planning to write about ‘Driving Music’ for a very long time, so maybe this is a good time to do it.
Sometimes, in the morning, or particularly when I am stuck in the traffic, I will listen to calming music. Something like ‘The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra’, or ‘Wahe Guru’, or ‘Aum Man Padme Hum’.
There are times when I will listen to some Indian maestros, like Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia on the flute, or Pandit Shivkumar Sharma on the santoor. They don’t find their way into Western lists of the world’s greatest this, or that. However, their music is divine.
At others, I will listen to the Tuvan throat singing of Huun-Huur-Tu, or the music of Mamer, the singer from West China. I love the singing of Tenger, or Mongolian pop music.
If I listen to ‘Bollywood’ music, it is normally the music of the 1960’s and 1970’s. What is produced these days (with a few exceptions like ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’) is really awful What you see below, are two absolute classics from Bollywood’s earlier years.
The first is about Bombay, and the second is a magnificent dance number called “Eeena Meena Deeka”. I remember dancing to it in Shanghai. Yep. I danced!
The other thing I like a lot, is shaman drumming, or some traditional Japanse drum groups like Tao, or the Kato drummers.
When I am in a more rocky mood, I will listen to good old rock music. Pink Floyd, the early music of Jethro Tull, the early music of Deep Purple, Dire Straits, Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead, Grand Funk, ELP, Donovan, The Byrds, Long John Baldry. The list can go on and on.
What I have discovered recently, is goth metal, and groups like Leaves Eyes come to mind. Or, Epica.
And, what I also really like is pagan music. I have discovered some more European groups like Omnia or Faun, who are brilliant in this form of music.
I must say that some of these North European groups are really interesting.
Music is a mood thing. It needs to match the mood you are in. It can uplift you, or depress you. I generally listen to a lot of music when I am at the computer, especially when I am editing my photographs, or writing.
Other ones I like, from a more instrumental perspective, are Tangerine Dream, Hevia or Mike Oldfield.
Hevia, as you will see from this video, plays the bagpipes, and his sister is on percussion.
The waveforms of music have an intimate relationship with us, as human beings.
Death Metal, on the one hand, rouses the beast in us. It hammers at our consciousness, and can take you into an entirely different dimension. It is violent. It speaks a different language.
Much pop music of today is empty. It is, as Bowie is once said to have remarked (and, I don’t know if it is true) plastic pop that reflects today’s plastic soul.
On the one hand, like shaman drumming – they bring us back to our roots. When you listen to Shiv Kumar Sharma’s music of the mountains / Hari Prasad’s music of the rivers / Huun-Huur-Tu, you are transported back into the bowels of the earth, and you can feel the spirit of the natural world flow through you.
This then, is pure music.
Our choice of music reflects our stage in life, our growth as individuals, our society, our culture, and the state of our soul.
When I was sixteen, the Woodstock film came to India. All of us were awestruck. There was such a sense of liberation that we all experienced when we saw that movie. Did it influence my choice of career? Subconsciously? Maybe? I then went into the groovy world of beads around my neck, torn clothes and shoulder length hair. Out went the Army.
Then, my first Holi during my engineering college. After consuming copious amounts of bhaang, which is quite psychedelic, I then listened to Pink Floyd’s ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’. I still remember the inner world that was being played out. It was a moving canvas, painted in the style of the Renaissance painters, with God dragging a screaming girl by her hair through the heavens and, at the end of the song, flinging her at the feet of The Devil with the words – “Here, one more of your fans”, being the only thing he said. Soon after, I started to study the occult, and life was never the same.
We each choose our own path, and music accompanies us on the highway of life.