RECORD CRACK: Live Ravi Shankar album to be released for Record Store Day

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Record Store Day has been a way to pick up new releases and reissues of some of your favorite rock, jazz, country, indie/alternative, funk, hip-hop, and so many other genres but unless it was in the used record section, you don’t hear too much about any new Indian classical music. That’s about to change this year with the release of a previously unreleased live recording by the late Pandit Ravi Shankar.

The Ravi Shankar Foundation’s East Meets West Music and Northern Spy Records are going to release In Hollywood, 1971, which will be released as a 2-record set. While Shankar released a number of live albums in his lifetime, only a small handful consisted of live performances he held in his California home. This is one of those instances as this is taken from a show he did in June 12th in Hollywood. Shankar is joined by Alla Rakha on tabla and Kamala Chakravarty on tanpura, all of whom would perform at George Harrison’s Concert For Bangla Desh two months later.

In Hollywood, 1971 is being made for charity as it is an album where the profits will benefit the Ravi Shankar Foundation, which helps to keep the spirit of Indian classical music alive along with making sure Shankar’s archives are kept alive and active.

SOME STUFFS: Ravi & Anoushka Shankar concert DVD is on its way

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.

FREE MP3 DL: Prasant Radhakrishnan’s “Gowrimanohari”
San Francisco saxophonist Prasant Radhakrishnan uses his instrument to play Indian classical music so while the sax is not an instrument commonly known within the music, there are musicians like Kadri Gopalnath and Aditya Viswanathan who have taken their love of the saxophone to new and wonderful places. Had John Coltrane lived, it would have been interesting to have heard him collaborate with Gopalpath or Viswanathan. Today, you can get familiar with Radhakrishnan with the release of a new album called Meditations: Ragas on Saxophone Vol. 2, the sequel to his 2011 album and he has allowed a free download of “Gowrimanohari”

SOME STUFFS: A new Ravi Shankar live recording in the “Nine Decades” series

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As part of East Meets West’s Nine Decades series of releases, honoring the music and works of the late Pandit Ravi Shankar, they are releasing a remastered recording from August 6, 1976. A Night At St. John The Divine was done on an evening meant to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Shankar’s first concert in the United States. It was a “dusk to dawn” concert, featuring a number of artists throughout the day. Shankar also featured Alla Rakha on tabla, along with Asant Rai and Shambhu Das on tanpuras. The performance on A Night At St. John The Divine was done in the early morning and it is said that when Shankar saw the sun coming up, he played the music appropriately. The CD will be released on August 12th, pre-orders are available below via


FREE MP3 DL: Bombay Dub Orchestra’s “Bohemia Junction”

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It has been a few years since I last heard new music from the Bombay Dub Orchestra, but I’m happy they are still around. With a new album released yesterday called Tales From The Grand Bazaar (Six Degrees), they have shared a song from it called “Bohemia Junction”, which you may download “for free (9.2mb). The new album welcomes back Andrew T. Mackay and Garry Hughes, showing their love of different sounds and influneces, everything from reggae and dub to Indian classical, down tempo to electronica, and it’s all glowing like a beautiful ocean to meditate in front of during sunrise or sunset. My review of Tales From The Grand Bazaar will be posted very soon.

(MP3 made available courtesy of Ryan Romana @ pressjunkiepr [dot] com.)

VIDEO: Anoushka Shankar & Norah Jones’ “Traces Of You”
Directed by Joe Wright, it’s a video by sisters Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones. It’s the title track for Shankar’s forthcoming album, Traces Of You (Deutsche Grammophon) and as you might guess, it’s about those in our family (or friends) who we hold dear in our lives, and take in our own life’s journey when they are no longer here.

VIDEO: Ravi Shankar’s “Tenth Decade in Concert: Live In Escondido” (trailer)

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
2. Khamaj
3. Goonga Sitar
4. Ragamala

It will be released on December 11, 2012.

BANDCAMP SUGGESTIONS: Low Leaf’s “Chrysalis” (EP)

Photobucket I’m on Twitter one Saturday morning, when a friend offers me a recommendation to listen to an artist she’s into. I’m always welcome to suggestions, and I’m always on the lookout to hear something new. so I give it a shot. I’m not sure about you, but one of the first things I like to do is go directly to the credits. This artist played all of the instruments and vocals, and even recorded it. I’m a huge fan of “self-contained” artists, being a fan of people like Prince, Paul McCartney, and Todd Rundgren made me want to try it myself in my own way, so it’s what I look for too. I then pressed play

The artist goes by the name of Low Leaf, and the genre tags were interesting too, but the actual music is the real factor. The opening track, “Monday Thief”, sounds like someone assembling the sounds that are about to be heard, like an orchestral warm-up. It leads to the first full “proper song”, “Pure. Love”, and she plays the harp rhythmically in a funky way. In my mind I’m hearing beats to layer over it, but then the beats come in, as if my vision bloomed into reality. Vocal layers come in, the keyboards melt into, and it just sounds incredible. It’s not just a random collage of sounds, there’s some thought of structure and arrangement that I really liked. It could be new age, it could be meditative, it could be smooth, it’s distinctively Asian, it’s classical, but it’s so much more. It’s a song created with thought, and one that requires a deep and serious listen, even if its duration is a mere 2 minutes and 21 seconds. I’m only two songs in? Yikes. Low Leaf sings in “Change Ur Frequency”, and now another piece of her puzzle has been added into the soundscape. It sounds moving and powerful, and in my mind she sounds like someone who understands music and uses it as her toy box or painting pallet.

I immediately came up with a few artists that her music reminded me of: Prince, Jazzanova, Reggie Watts, Esperanza Spalding, Alicia Keys, Clara Hill. It’s not that she sounds anything like them, but I hear the same amount of emphasis on the music that these artists share in their creations. “Bluish Chrysalis” has a number of electronic manipulations where she could easily create backing music for Radiohead, Bjork, or any mainstream artist that is out there, willing to explore the potential of sound with someone who is a sound explorer. What I loved was how she occasionally adds a bit of randomness to her music, simply because it sounds good. It may be the sound of what sounds like someone adjusting a record on a turntable with their hands, or a mere breath, a gasp. Anything that can be musical turns into music, and Low Leaf is someone I feel should be heard by anyone who loves music, regardless of personal preferences. She could easily create music for soundtracks, video games, rock bands wanting to push their own envelope, or classical fiends who want to cross borders. “Tala At Twilight” sounds like something you’d might expect to hear on a Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass collaboration, as if they decided to build the soundtrack interpretation of a natural phenomenon. Low Leaf’s Chrysalis EP consists of sounds made by someone who lives without music boundaries in a world with the potential to be borderless. The world needs more artists like her, and more music like this. If the title of this EP is a hint of her opening up and blossoming, the start of someone ready to fly, may she fly free without fear of a net.

(To hear other Low Leaf projects, click to official Soundcloud page.)

SOME STUFFS: Martin Scorsese documentary on George Harrison on its way

Many know some of the grand stories of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, but the history and perspective of “the quiet Beatle” has often remained, well, quiet. No longer. Martin Scorsese has put together a documentary film called George Harrison: Living In The Material World, and will be released in the UK and US and different ways. In the UK, it will be released on the 10th of October as a DVD, Blu-Ray, and a cool looking DVD/Blu-Ray deluxe edition that will include an exclusive CD of previously unheard music from Harrison, AND a book of photography to accompany the film. In the US, the documentary will be split in two and be shown on HBO on October 5th and 6th. No word yet on when it will be released as hard copy here in the States.

The film will include interviews with Eric Clapton, Terry Gilliam, Sir George Martin, Tom Petty, Eric Idle, Jackie Stewart, Phil Spector, Yoko Ono, and of course Paul and Ringo, each one talking about Harrison and the impact he made on their lives and of course the interaction they had with him as not “Beatle George”, but as friend.

A month before the movie makes its public premiere, Olivia Harrison will release a book that shares its name with the documentary, and it will feature photos, letters, diaries, and memorabilia taken from all aspects of George’s public and private life.

As he did with The Beatles and his solo work, it seems the documentary and book is merely a continuation of the journey of and in life that he wanted himself to explore, and others who appreciated his words and music.

SOME STUFFS: Ravi Shankar “Raga” documentary now out on DVD

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Ravi Shankar connection with The Beatles, especially with George Harrison, allowed him not only to expand his audience but to bring Indian classical music to the rest of the world. Harrison released a few Shankar albums and singles on Apple Records, and he also went out of his way to produce a great documentary film on his music and life up to 1972 called Raga. The film was released on VHS but has not been widely seen for years, but now the film has been restored and remastered for DVD, which was released on October 12th.

The DVD Raga also comes with a CD of the soundtrack album, highly sought after by Shankar and Apple Records completists.