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David Byrne Presents: A Taste of the Chennai Music Festival

David Byrne Presents: A Taste of the Chennai Music Festival

Playing tracks by

Neyveli Santhanagopalan & Muthuswami Dikshitar, Swetha Mohan, Ranjani-Gayathri, U. Srinivas, Sumanth Swaminathan and more.

After about a year of being on my own music tour I decided to stay in motion. Sometimes stopping cold turkey can be a bit of shock. So, in mid-December I flew to India and attended a few days of the Chennai Music Festival—also known as the December Season. It’s been going on every year for a long time; Yale from Luaka Bop and I poked in to catch part of a performance at least a decade ago when we were there working on the Vijaya Anand record.

I don’t think I ever dozed off, which might be a surprise, as we Westerners tend to associate much Indian music with meditation and a calm sense of spirituality. Although the songs often have spiritual themes, the vibe though not the actual music is more akin to jazz or flamenco— John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders certainly saw their music as an expression of deep spirituality, but, like their music, Carnatic music is hardly soporific.

In my all too brief visit, I only touched the surface; the festival goes on for a whole month.


Piet Nieuwland

Love this - thanks for taking me there

Robin Malyon

thanks for this. i am in india working at present and this has come as a nice surprise.


Track list no longer available due to some restrictions 😭Otherwise excellent music.


At the bottom of the page you can open the window that accesses track information which is to the left in menu. Loved it! Thanks for sharing.

Susan Lascelles

I love art that comes from the divine, like this music. This comes through us when we move ourselves out of the way and create with our hearts. To me this music did make me sleepy today, and that's great for an insomniac like me.

Cherie Bourlard

I think I would like to see this type of music performed live. Thanks for sharing inspirations from Chennai fest.

Petra Plantak

Dear David,
Sometimes the soul needs certain music, not to grow, but to soothe. This list is exactly that. It restores man to the present moment and allows him to be humble and thankful in a way that allows him to feel unity. Be good.