Music Review of Taranga by Prem Joshua

Multi-instrumentalist and composer Prem Joshua is considered to be a pioneer in the field of World Music. I have been reviewing Joshua’s innovative synthesis of East and West since the mid-90s, with Tales of a Dancing River, Hamsafar and Desert Visions still among my favorites. I’m delighted to be able to tell you about Taranga, Joshua’s latest CD.

Taranga, which means “colorful waves of joy and enthusiasm” in Sanskrit, features captivating melodies on the sitar, bamboo flute and soprano sax. Joshua’s compositions soar over driving tabla rhythms as ancient Sanskrit and Sufi poems re-awakened in the 21st century. And while Joshua draws inspiration from deep wells of Eastern musical traditions, he’s never lost touch with contemporary Western music. Over the years he has continued to distill his amazing talent for fusion, mixing meditative classical Indian ragas with highly intoxicating rhythms, creating music seemingly at home anywhere in the world.

Here are but a few of Joshua’s many awards: he is now the number one bestselling World Music artist in India. The daily newspaper “The Times of India” has anointed him the new “Guru of Fusion.” In 2003, the BBC nominated him for its prestigious “World Music Listeners Award,” and in 2007 Joshua received the award for “Best Film Music on Indian TV” at the Indian TV Awards in Mumbai.

Joshua plays, sitar, flute, percussion, drums, bass, soprano sax and handles some vocals. A host of excellent musicians adds tabla, dholak (Indian hand drum), kanjeera (a small round drum covered with goat skin and circled with bells on its wooden body), cello, violin, keyboards and much more. Exquisitely produced, Taranga is happy-feet music for the ages, perfect for active meditation and movement, or simply getting lost in the joy of the moment. I urge you to get to know Joshua’s delicious blend of East and West, you may even want to collect more of his titles.

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