The late Deben Bhattacharya was a noted Bengali record producer, ethnomusicologist, poet, documentarian, radio producer, and all around renaissance man. Having moved from Northern India to London as a young man, Bhattacharya began working for the BBC as a radio producer. In 1955, having worked all possible angles to securing funding Bhattacharya traveled to India to record musicians. The success of this trip allowed him to travel again soon after to the countries of the Middle East. With recordings from Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, as well as India and Pakistan, this LP is one of the best and earliest documents of the diverse and rich musical traditions of the Middle East.
Subtitled “A Sound Travelogue” by Deben Bhattacharya, “Music On The Desert Road” is exactly that, a beautiful and flowing document of the region’s sound. During the journey Bhattacharya recorded over 40 hours of music, some of which would be released on this 1956 LP “Music on the Desert Road: A Sound Travelogue“.
He went on to become one of the most renowned ethnomusicologists to ever have lived, and he changed the way people listened to music from around the world. Frank Zappa once cited Music on the Desert Road as one of his biggest influences.