The Erocia Orchestra
Like a lot of us, Germans tend to be ignorant about their musical past, but a handful of musicians are keeping the magic alive. The Erocia Orchestra is the closest one can get to watching German masters, such as Beethoven and Bach, in concert. Their recent concert at Hamburg left me speechless—they’re purists, yet timeless.
Palghat R Raghu
This South Indian mridangam percussionist uses his fingers brilliantly on the toppi, the left part of the mridangam. His technical brilliance is the result of a lifetime of practice. Scientific precision and imagination meet uniquely in his art.
Ali Farka Toure and Omu Sangare
These musicians are from Mali, West Africa—a hub of experimental African music. They have improvized on folk beats with both vocal and instrumental inputs. I value their music for the kind of effortless fusion they’ve achieved without using any electronic devices.
Paco De Lucia
He started playing at a small-town flamenco club in Spain and went on to define modern flamenco fusion. He’s highly experimental and has collaborated with musicians all over the world, but he can make his riffs seem as effortless and fluid as flamenco, the dance form.
He’s the only pop icon I still learn from. His lyrics, compositions and control over vocals are getting better with age.