Pandit Ravi Shankar (1920-2012)

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Ravi Shankar, master of the sitar, had an immense influence on both Eastern and Western music, often through his friendships with musicians like George Harrison, Philip Glass, and John Coltrane.  To honor his memory – he died yesterday (Dec 11) – here are a couple of clips that give a glimpse of his passion, skill, and sheer enjoyment of playing.  He will be missed.

Ravi Shankar at Monterey Pop (June 1967) – according to Wikipedia this historic three-day concert just outside of San Francisco was the first major U.S. appearance of Jimmy Hendrix, The Who, and Ravi Shankar.  The first seven minutes of this 18:42 min clip is a little time trip.  What you hear is the opening of Shankar’s set, but what you see is people wandering around the grounds – rolling up sleeping bags, feeding monkeys, distributing leaflets – and only gradually do you get closer to the stage and to people listening intently to the music. The rest of the clip is Shankar and his fellow musicians playing up a storm.

Concert for Bangladesh (1971) – the very first of the big benefit concerts, organized by George Harrison; Shankar is playing with Akbar Ali Khan.  14:53 minutes.


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