On 26 January, World Music Network releases its two very first Rough Guides of 2015! The Rough Guide To Psychedelic India and The Rough Guide To Latin Rare Groove (Vol. 2) are available with the subscription to World Music Network or can be enjoyed as a one-off!
Indian music was hugely influential on Western psychedelia and the feeling was mutual. On this mind-expanding Rough Guide, hallucinatory sounds drift in and out of drones and ragas, ranging from the lysergic sitar of Ananda Shankar and trippy Bollywood vibes of the 1970s to more recent concoctions by Sunday Driver and The Bombay Royale.
The first musical whispers of India’s burgeoning influence on Western popular music were heard in 1965 when The Beatles’ George Harrison added the sounds of a sitar to the Rubber Soul album track ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’. Soon everybody from The Yardbirds and The Rolling Stones to Sergio Mendes and The Byrds was reflecting an Indian influence. During these years in India, drug culture wasn’t flooding its shores, but the country was undergoing its own transformation – the 1960s saw the advent of a DIY garage band scene.
When compiling this Rough Guide, DJ Ritu cast her psychedelic net wide into the diaspora and the modern day. This album pays homage to the swinging 1960s history whilst forging the journey onwards into psychedelia’s present-day incarnations. Lose yourself in this collection of far out sounds – soaring sitars, tremulous tabla, distorted deep-set drones and unbound improvisations, all twisted through a rock and roll edge.
This Rough Guide offers another treasure chest of golden nuggets from the Latin Rare Groove mother lode. Glittering delights range from Ray Pérez’s Venezuelan combo Los Kenya to the retro-funk sounds of The New Mastersounds and a previously unreleased gem by NYC salsa orchestra Conjunto Alayon featuring a young Jimmy Bosch.
On The Rough Guide To Latin Rare Groove (Vol. 2), we’ve gone deeper to unearth even more treats for collectors of obscure, funky, tropical dance music. While taking the ‘rare groove’ genre too seriously can get you accused of snobbery or being a nerd, there is something to be said for the thrill of discovery and sharing something new, especially if it’s old and made of vinyl (even better if it was never originally released to begin with). There is a long tradition of ‘super-fandom’ and intrepid scholarly connoisseurship in Latin music, same as with any other genre. Especially in the world of old-school salsa, boogaloo and Latin funk, fanatic aficionados from Cali, Colombia, to Ponce, Puerto Rico – in Spanish referred to as melómanos or salsómanos – have been trying to out-stump each other with their precious, esoteric finds for decades. The current astronomical prices paid at record fairs and online auctions attest to the rabid collecting tastes of these über-fans who often hail from as far away as Japan or Sweden. The gems here represent the multi-national and multi-genre approach within the Latin rare groove culture itself.