Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Ravi Shankar - One of the Gods in My Musical Pantheon

And Raviji turns 90 today! He's alive, kicking, and still going strong. He still performs, and he has a definitely busy touring schedule; check out his website. The man just doesn't slow down! He's a great advertisement for a vegetarian diet.

Most of us "of a certain age" were introduced to Indian music through Beatle George Harrison's discovery of Raviji. Who can forget the introductory musical piece by Raviji and his ensemble which kicked off Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh. The Maestro went on traveling throughout the West introducing hungry souls to a music they'd never heard before, to our great benefit.

But he didn't stop there. He also pursued the possibilities inherent in the meeting of Eastern and Western musics. He has collaborated with such musicians as George Harrison, Yehudi Menuhin, and Philip Glass. He's written two concertos for orchestra for the London Symphony Orchestra, the first conducted by André Previn and the second by Zubin Mehta. He wrote a third concerto for his daughter Anoushka, another world class sitarist (with a father like that how could she help it?), and the Orpheus Camber Orchestra in 2002. He's scored movies, one of which, his score for Gandhi, was nominated for an Academy Award. He's had a busy life, and we're all the richer for it.

To celebrate Raviji's birthday I thought I'd post some videos highlighting the different aspects of his career. First is what he's always done best, music from the Indian subcontinent. This is Rag Charukeshi, accompanied by the late, great Ustad Alla Rakha on tablas and an unknown tamboura player.

The second piece is a collaboration with violinist Yehudi Menuhin, called Prabhati.

And last but not least, Raviji's collaboration with Philip Glass - Passages - comes this piece, "Ragas in a Minor Scale". Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Raviji! And may you have many more!


  1. I loved those Roy. What a great way to celebrate his birthday. Wonderful music.

  2. happy birthday ravi....being of a certain age, i too love ravi's music....but methinks you forgot to mention his other talented daughter norah!

    i was just thinking of george earlier today....hmmm is that some sort of weird synchronicity? i think it had to do with a box song.... of course i did go with pete singing malivina's classic (how could I go any other way after all pete is the top banana in my musical pantheon)

    wonderful tribute. namaste roy, namaste ravi!

  3. well pete and joni....and leonard and....okay it's hard to have a top banana

  4. It's mesmerising stuff . I don't agree with Kim tho *ducks for cover* I think Nora is beautiful but so, so, boring. He's a lively cove at 90 and thanks for not pointing the finger at those of us 'at a certain age'. GAH!

  5. beautiful. I love all the selections you made--a great birthday tribute!

  6. baino....when it comes to music to each their own - no need to duck for cover. quack, quack....i wouldn't mind singing half (well a quarter) as sweetly as norah.... whose voice i find very pure and fine....but then as i say, to each their own!