...He just is.
If you've ever heard Prem Joshua, you know. The inane noodling "mellow" melodies, the vaguely jazzy "ethnic" arrangements...the drums that sound like a drum machine but probably are real drums....
Prem Joshua is the ubiquitous soundtrack for "hip" travelers' India. I never want to hear him again.
And just think, a lot of young travelers will go home thinking they have heard Indian music after hearing the exotically-titled "Mudra," "Dance of Shakti" or "Shiva Moon" over and over again at the German Bakery. Sort of like thinking you've seen Bharatanatyam because you've seen Bollywood dance.
Other backpacker soundtracks I never, ever need to hear again include Tracey Chapman, Jack Johnson, and anything at all by Bob Marley. Unlike Prem Joshua, there is nothing innately lame about these artists...they just play them into the ground here.
Since I am having such a struggle uploading photos, please go to my friend Claude Renault's photoblog, Widows of Vrindavan. Claude (who's also extensively photographed the Khumbh Mela and other Indian events) spent one week at a home for widows, who are traditionally considered unlucky and unwanted in Indian society. Custom and peer pressure force them to wear white saris - a sign that their lives are now empty of colour.
Claude managed to get some amazingly intimate photos of their daily lives (especially considering that he's a "foreign" man). Maybe being a "foreign" man actually helped him gain access (must be important, if he's foreign!). I hope his project is published and brings more attention to the conditions that widows still suffer throughout much of India.