Fusion: New Popular Genre of Contemporary India

Indian fusion music is taking over every music scene in the country, including Bollywood movies, studios, lounges etc and musicians are thrilled about this advancement. Let’s take a look at some facts about Indian fusion music.

Globalization has become a norm in today’s life. Apart from being dominant in our digital lives, it has also impacted the music industry and every musician seems to be happier about this change. Through this, many genres such as Indian classical music, folk music etc are making a sure shot comeback with many young professional musicians paying their attention to these songs and mixing it to prepare some fabulous fusion songs for younger audience.

Impact of World Music

World music is a wide category encompassing various styles and genres of music from around the globe. This includes western classical music, folk music, ethnic music, traditional music, indigenous music, Neo-traditional music and so on. It is a thin zone of music where ethnic Indian music and popular Indian music inter-mingle. The term ‘World Music’ exhibits an elasticity and inclusive nature that pose a threat to its existence. But, its exotic character as suggested in Roots magazine describes this genre as ‘local music from outside world’. This term became popular in 1980s because of a marketing strategy for non-Western traditional music. Globalization has aided the expansion of audiences of world music. It has becoming a breeding ground for sub genres such as global fusion, ethnic fusion, and world beat etc.

History of Fusion Music in India

Fusion has not emerged very long ago in Indian music. It is said to have started with the performance of Ali Akbar Khan in 1955 in the United States. Indian fusion music originated in 1970s and 1960s, but it was only confined to few continents such as Europe and North America. After this, the sitar maestro Pt Ravi Shankar rules the Indian fusion music scene for some years. He began fusing jazz with Indian traditional music along with a jazz musician, Bud Shank. The trend became very popular and was imitated by popular American and European artists. George Harrison played the song, ‘Norwegian Wood’ in the year 1965 on sitar. Some other renowned Western artists such as Incredible String Band, like the Grateful Dead, the Move and Traffic, and the Rolling Stones, also joined the bandwagon and followed the popular trend of fusion.  

John McLaughlin’s The Mahavishnu Orchestra performed numerous songs in fusion music with great integrity in mid-1970s. During this period, he joined hands with artists like Zakir Hussain, L.Shankar, and others. In late 1980s, the fusion world music dominated the music scene of Indian and Western traditions. In the new millennium, artists made new version of classic Bollywood songs to cater them to the young audience. This was followed by artists making mixes of folk songs to meet the requirements of a party setting at night. Hence, a new genre namely Indie Pop emerged. The fusion from there spread to night clubs, restaurants, and lounges. As a result, it became very popular among youth. Hence, the young artists these days are experimenting in music by making fusion songs in various Indian genres and are becoming a popular choice of listeners. Most of these artists are on popular artist booking portals such as StarClinch.com, where they are able to showcase their music, videos and images, all in one place.