This is a superb CD! There's only five ragas, but they're all very long, and you get plenty of really amazingly beautiful music. Many people tend to get into Ravi Shankar because of his connection to George Harrison, but don't expect this to be five "Within You Without You," cover songs. This is real Indian raga, which is like no other music on the planet. You could describe it as the classical (maybe even folk) music of India. It's an incredibly difficult form of music to master, but it's also one of the most beautiful.
One of the really great things about this album is that Ravi gives you a spoken introduction of each piece before it's played. he gives you basic overviews of basic themes like what a raga is, the various time signatures such as Tintal & Jhaptal, a description of each instrument you will hear & their role throughout the raga, the scale the raga is rooted in, and the differences between raga (and eastern music in general) and improvisational western music. It really helped me understand the music, and actually allowed me to listen with a greater sense of enjoyment. Everything Ravi says on the CD is written out in the CD jacket, plus, the jacket also includes the sheet music of the scales used in several of the ragas! How awesome is that?! I can actually play along with the album on my guitar thanks to the notations given in the jacket! Obviously it doesn't give you the song (because most of it is improvised anyway), but the short scales that Ravi uses as the root of his solos. Really great addition!
I highly recommend this album to everyone interested in Indian raga music. It's a classic album that should be in every music collection anyway, but especially if you're an Indian music enthusiast. Great music to relax into, fabulous for meditation, and the best music to play at a smoke session! You must hear this music when you're lit/fryin'! It's amazingly beautiful and psychedelic to begin with, but when you're high it's like... ;-)