Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Time Pandits: Ravi Shankar 100

We'll take a break from the abyss of mortality and roll on with a special birthday of a legend's legend.
Today's magical musician is as responsible as any person for the integration of the music of India into the broader, mass culture of the world. 
Beginning in the 1940s, he became the acknowledged global ambassador of Indian music, and his chosen instrument, the sitar.
He really exploded in the mid 1960s, when an appearance at a seminal festival -- Monterey Pop -- catapulted he and the music of which he was the world's foremost custodian into an outsize, ubiquitous popularity.
The sitar began to creep into pop and rock music as a result, and his close friendship with one of The Beatles -- who studied at his feet -- cemented his reputation as the prime motivator and exponent of the music of his native land.
Pretty soon they were making electric sitar guitars, and the sounds of the instrument became almost pervasive for a time.
Fast forward to now, and the music of India is as much a part of everything as any other. Today's hero is probably the central reason why that is.
Add to it that he had a daughter that has taken up the mantle of the sitar and continues to bring Indian music to the world, and you have a lifetime as dedicated to the Art form as any you could name, ever.
He lived to be 92, and passed away in 2012, but there is literally zero chance Ravi Shankar -- born this day in 1920 -- will ever be forgotten or that his influence will diminish.
We shall celebrate the occasion of his centenary with a 2005 appearance at The Proms in London -- his first -- where he is found alongside his daughter, and which was broadcast as it took place over BBC radio.
Ravi Shankar
Sandhya (Evening) Ragas
Royal Albert Hall 
London, UK

01 BBC introduction by Martin Handley
02 introduction by Ravi Shankar
03 Raga Jog Alap
04 Raga Jog Gat
05 tuning and explanation
06 introduction of musicians
07 Sandhya Raga 3: Pancham Se Gara
08 BBC outro by Martin Handley

Total time: 1:03:16
retracked & repeating applause segments edited by EN, April 2020

Ravi Shankar - sitar
Anoushka Shankar - sitar
Tanmoy Bose - tabla
Nick Abel - tamboura
Peter MacDonald - bass tamboura

FM master cassette capture of the original BBC broadcast
It's hard to believe the unbridled sounds here are coming from a then-85-year-old guy, but Ravi Shankar played right up to the end and lost fully none of his prowess.
I will be back very soon with something truly epic for your earhole as we explore quarantine-age wasteland together.
But today is the big day, the triple digit milestone for the essential father of modern Indian music, so clink the link and see what you think! And don't ever forget to give thanks that you were born at a time that overlapped with the reign of Pandit Ravi Shankar.--J.
4.7.1920 - 12.11.2012

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