06 February, 2012

Big Boss Fenny

Korla Pandit - The Universal Language of Music Vol. 1 (1954)

No exotica party this week, but I was asked to re-up this. Korla Pandit was an enigmatic Indian organist, with a privileged high caste background. His family's wealth afforded him the opportunity to travel all around the world before settling on an education at the University of Chicago. He briefly held a radio job in the Windy City but was soon brought over to Hollywood where he became an overnight success. Pandit played on a variety of talk shows, as well as his own weekly music show (you can see the intro here). Despite releasing over 20 albums, Pandit slipped into obscurity, but adventurous listeners have been captured by his mystical keystrokes and Medusa-like gaze for over five decades.

But here's where the story goes all M. Night Shamalamadingdong: after his death in the late 90s, it was revealed that Korla Pandit was actually John Roland Redd, a black man from St. Louis who passed himself off as an Indian in order to gain fame. (Oh by the way, the man who narrates this record is not Korla Pandit. Pandit was notorious for never speaking. I guess he wasn't very good at impressions.)

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