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.
My love of Pandit Ravi Shankar and his music came about through my dad, who was a huge Beatles fan. Apparently when they were young, he and his friends would buy Shankar albums and get high so they could trip out to the sounds. Maybe not ideal, as Shankar has said more or less that one should be able to obtain enlightenment in other words, music being one of them. We lived next door to a family whose son was a long time friend of mine. They used to do their share of Friday night parties, and one of those albums was Three Ragas
on Capitol (the reissue of the same album on Angel Records, but the Capitol pressing came about post-Beatles). I didn’t understand the music then, but loved what it sounded like. I then started liking Shankar for much more than being someone connected with The Beatles, to where I started listening to everyone from Ali Akbar Khan to Vilayat Khan, Bismillah Khan to Kalyani Roy. Years after hearing him for the first time, I saw Shankar live for the first time in October 2001, where he was accompanied by his daughter, Anoushka. It was incredible, not bad for a concert that only consisted of him performing two ragas. At the time, Shankar was 81.
At 92, Shankar continues to perform, although not taking big tours as he did in the first half of his life. Tenth Decade in Concert: Live In Escondido is a forthcoming DVD release that honors his 92 years in life and music, in a performance that has Tanmoy Bose (tabla), Ravichandra Kulur (flute, Kanjira), Parimal Sadaphal (sitar), Samir Chatterjee (tabla), Kenji Ota (tanpura and swarmandal), and Barry Phillips (tanpura) behind him in a four song performance, resulting in an 84 minute presentation:
1. Yaman Kalyan
3. Goonga Sitar
It will be released on December 11, 2012.
Ali Akbar Khan was one of the best sarod players of the 20th century, taking on the lineage of his father, Allaudin Khan, and embracing the friendship with one of his father’s students, Ravi Shankar. Khan would record many albums and performed countless times throughout the years, but it was his time with Shankar that helped push not only Indian music into something more global, but also Indian culture and spirituality.
Khan died on Friday due to a kidney ailment. He was 87 years old.