Junun is a musical project created by Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur together with musician and member of Radiohead Jonny Greenwood, and Indian group Rajasthan Express. The project, composed by an album and the homonymous film Junun by Paul Thomas Anderson, wanted to re-discover Indian traditional music in its visceral form.

The creation of Junun started in 2014 when Shye Ben Tzur was reached out by Greenwood, a great admirer of Tzur. Several times, indeed, Radiohead’s guitarist defined the Israeli composer’s music as «commemorative, like gospel music, with the exception that it is created starting from Indian percussions and harmonies».

Tzur e Greenwood’s idea, together with their desire to collaborate with Indian musicians coming from Rajasthan (Northern Indian State), made them choose Rajasthan Express formation and took them to Rajasthan to build a recording studio in Mehrangarh Fort.

Tzur wrote the songs, Greenwood created the instrumental part for guitars, basses, and keyboards and produced the record, while the more technical part was assigned to Radiohead’s producer Nigel Godrich.The album is a real investigation on Indian traditional music, which instead of being recreated in an obsessive way is looked into its rawer component.

Greenwood said: «when western musicians go to India, they get closer to Indian music with extreme respect, sometimes with too much respect. People can be cautious, too cautious to capture the real roughness of the music of this country, especially the way in which bands play when they follow weddings and parades».

Junun was welcomed with extreme positivity by critics. Pitchfork magazine said: «The ensemble’s execution and [Ben Tzur’s] compositions make Junun a perfect experiment for listeners which however remain outsiders towards different genres which fall under the umbrella term of “World Music” ». The Guardian wrote: « Greenwood contributes with thin embellishments – electronic occasional beats and simple guitar and bass’s riffs- instead of stealing the scene. The true protagonists of the album are indeed the six members of Rajasthan Express».





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