Riley became a dedicated student of the great Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath. Looking into North Indian classical tradition, he found correspondences to modal and cyclic ideas that he was already working on. In 1971, Riley started teaching Indian music at a College in Oakland. That experience fed directly into his solo keyboard performances, but other influences were also shaping his music. Personal research into ancient Persian culture and the poetry of Rumi lit up his imagination, while the repetitive swirling of Sufi devotional music from North Africa and Jazz, an enduring source of inspiration, reverberate through these performances.