Portrait of a blogger as an old man


When travelling I listen to high energy music on headphones as more nuanced repertoire suffers from masking by ambient noise. High on my playlist during recent extensive travels in India were John McLaughlin's Shakti recordings. John McLaughlin was a follower of the charismatic and controversial guru Sri Chinmoy, as was Carlos Santana and the undeservedly overlooked Olivier Greif; see my post A composer and his guru. In his invaluable The Dawn of Indian Music in the West Peter Lavezzoli describes how when asked by McLaughlin about the connection between music and higher consciousness, Chimnoy - who was an accomplished musician himself - replied that a person's own state of mind, even in the most mundane activity, is more important than what one does. Which resonates with my recent post about the importance of both 'set' - the score and how it is played - and 'setting' - the environment in which the music is performed, and also with Benjamin Britten's assertion that "Music demands ... some preparation, some effort, a journey to a special place..." I took the header photo well off the tourist track in the special place of Orchha.

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