Yusuf Islam, Formerly Known As Cat Stevens, Embraces Dual Identity With U.S. Tour

December 3, 2014 2:43 PM

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Indian classical music has two main sub-genres: Carnatic and Hindustani. These come from the South and North, respectively. Carnatic music is focused on vocals, but can also feature violin (for melody), mridangam (for rhythm) and tambura (for drone). Carnatic music is believed to have divine origins in the Hindu tradition. In this photo, Indian Hindu devotees play musical instruments during a procession in Allahabad, India. Allahabad, in Southern India, is one of the main gathering sites for the annual Magh Mela festival (and the massive Maha Kumba Mela, which occurs once every 144 years and hosted some 60 million people in 2001, making it the largest gathering in recorded history) on the banks of the Ganges river. The festival is part of one of Hinduism's holiest pilgrimages. Devotional music is a large part of the gathering. In the next slide is video of a modern take on Carnatic music.

Indian classical music began as Vedic chants several thousand years ago and developed into a sophisticated musical system by the 3rd century. The music is based on a single melody line, which is played over a fixed drone and can be quite meditative. The music has been passed down orally. Improvisati...

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