On February 7, 2012, Ravi Shankar and his daughter Anoushka did a performance in Bangalore, India. It would become Shankar’s last performance in his homeland, as he died before the end of the year at the age of 92. East Meets West are releasing the highlights of that three hour performance in a DVD entitled Ravi & Anoushka Shankar Live In Bangalore
on September 11th. I saw the both of them perform in October 2001 and if the jugalbandi wasn’t sensed in that room that night, you were not there. It can be felt in the excerpted video above and this proves that the power of Indian classical music will live on for years, if not centuries.
When it comes to the music of Herbie Hancock, you can’t help but just listen and enjoy pure beauty. So is the case with The Imagine Project (Hancock), an album where Hancock dips into the pop world and collaborates with a wide range of artists that help bring forth the last lines in the chorus of John Lennon‘s “Imagine”: “I hope some day you will join us, and the world will live as one”. Can one imagine a world without boundaries? That’s what Hancock attempts to do with this album, which features Anoushka Shankar, Los Lobos, Dave Matthews (whose approach to The Beatles‘ “Tomorrow Never Knows” sounds a lot like Peter Gabriel), India.Arie, P!nk, Juanes, and Chaka Khan among many others.
Don’t expect for every song to be completely mindblowing, you can put on your elitist hat for a few songs or two but then allow yourself to open up and hear the album for what it is: a musical journey where artists, sounds, influences, and cultural divides come together for the sake of doing so, without thought of exploitation clauses in recording contracts. Hancock continues to show why he is a musician with a need to play and move people with his music, but as this is a pop-oriented album, there are times when the music is bigger than Hancock. Sure, I would’ve loved for him to freak the fuck out and get into Mwandishi mode with Dave Matthews as they turned “Tomorrow Never Knows” inside out, but what you hear is a more mainstream approach to the freak out, a lighter dose of the psychedelic haze that through Hancock makes the listener realize it’s all a mind game with no chemical enhancements whatsoever.
The Imagine Project fits in with what Hancock has done in the last ten years, and with luck,fans of the collaborating artists will move them to explore Hancock’s catalog, currently six decades deep.
Herbie Hancock had covered a lot of musical ground in the last 45 years, moving in and out of jazz and pop, influencing electronic music in his own way, and also become a part of hip-hop’s legacy. Now, as he enters his 70th year in life, he will be releasing an album that has been years in the making, a concept that brings him together with many artists around to world to celebrate music and life. He calls this The Imagine Project, scheduled for release on June 22, 2010 via Hancock Records/RED.
You’ll no doubt hear about these songs for the next three months, so let me just post a partial list of the people who are collaborating with on this album:
For this album, Hancock recorded and collaborated in Mumbai, India; São Paulo. Brazil; London, Miami, and Ireland. He could have easily collaborated via e-mail, transferring digital files back and forth, but the chemistry that is an important part of Hancock’s music would not be there, so everyone was able to see each other face to face and perform.
The album will be promoted in a number of ways, including a documentary film, and a concert tour. In time, all will be revealed in the months ahead.
The first project will be the first in a series of albums called Nine Decades, with the first volume to be released on April 7th, Shankar’s 90th birthday. The series promises many rare and previously unreleased recordings from the sitar master, so fans of Indian classical music will be anticipating this one. The series will be released on vinyl (yes), CD, and also through digital means.
The second release will be a completely remastered and restored version of the 1971 documentary film Rage, released by Apple Films in 1971. The soundtrack to the album, also released by Apple, has never been reissued but will finally see its CD debut after many requests from Shankar and Beatles/Apple fans alike. Both the DVD and CD are expected for release in the Fall of 2010.
Outside of his own works, East Meets West Music will highlight brand new music with approval from Ravi Shankar and daughter Anoushka Shankar. No word on who will be the first artists chosen, but since father and daughter have very diverse tastes and interests in music, it will be very interesting to see what gets the Shankar Foundation seal of approval.
Indian classical music virtuoso Ravi Shankar and the people of the Ravi Shankar Foundation have been doing a lot of research to track down and document his musical legacy. It seems the first fruits of their labor will be seeing the light of day, for all to hear with the creation of East Meets West Music, a label named after the classic Shankar album East Meets West.
Fans down under will be able to see Ravi & Anoushka Shankar perform live in March as they will be doing a small amount of concerts, you can find confirmed dates here. Anoushka has a concert planned in Italy at the end of March. When she and family will celebrate her father’s 90th year, she will then go on her own tour as The Anoushka Shankar Project, doing shows throughout the U.S. before heading to Europe and coming back to the U.S. at the start of June. You can find confirmed tour dates on Anoushka’s home page.
Anoushka Shankar, along with Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, Bipasha Basu, Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Dia Mirza, Shiamak Dava, Roger Waters, and will.i.am, will be taking part in a festival next week called Live Earth India, where Indian and Western musicians will collaborate for the first time to a global audience. The concert, scheduled for Sunday, December 7, 2008, at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai, India, is being held to create awareness of a planet in crisis, and will be broadcast throughout India on radio and via satellite around the world. People can watch the concert online by clicking to msnindia.com/liveearth. If you are able to make the journey to India, you can purchase tickets here.
For more information on the Live Earth organization, click here.