Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I saw Ravi Shankar live, performing duets with the great drummer Allah Rakha at San Francisco's civic auditorium in 1967. That was 45 years ago, so he would have been 47 at the time. He was 92 when he died yesterday in the terrestrial paradise called San Diego.

At the time of the concert I owned a couple of Shankar's LP's (remember those?) and listened to them nearly every day. The live experience didn't transport me to another universe or anything (I half expected it would), but it was one of the two or three best concerts I've ever been to, and offered a first-hand glimpse of Indian drumming technique, which has to be seen to be believed.

And it also opened the door to other experiences of the sort which today fall under the extremely general heading of "world music." As opposed to what, I'm not sure, since I've never heard any out-of-this-world music.

If you'd like to hear some very hot, early Ravi, along with a dose of Bengali culture, check out Satyajit Ray's 1955 film "Pather Panchali," for which Shankar performed the sound track.


Joe said...

I'm glad that NPR is giving Ravi a lot of tribute because now I see how skilled he was.

Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer said...

He was also very charismatic, and had a lot of authority. Seemed much larger on stage than he actually was.