The Godfather of world music, Pandit Ravi Shankar was one of the most influential and prolific Indian sitar maestros. His exceptional talent, enormous contribution to music catapulted him to stardom and till date he is considered as the world’s best-known exponent of Indian classical music.
The sitar maestro was honoured with a Bharat Ratna; had won 5 Grammys, and was nominated for an Academy award, too.Revered globally, this luminary of Indian and world music was the champion of the fusion genre that blended the eastern and western styles. The sitar virtuoso and composer generated a never-seen-before passion among Western audiences for the rhythm, melody that reverberated in the ragas of classical Indian music.
This year, April 7th marks his 101st birth anniversary.
We present to you a compilation of the legend’s best compositions, as we pay tribute to him:
Raga Kedara from The Living Room Sessions, Part 1 The great sitarist at the seasoned age of 91, exhibited uncanny strength in fingers while playing it. He recorded the piece at his home with the tabla player, Tanmoy Bose, the tanpura players Kenji Ota and Barry Phillips.
Live: Ravi Shankar at the Monterey Pop Festival
It was a live album released in the World Pacific record in 1967. The mesmerizing album comprises part of Shankar’s awe-inspiring performance at Monterey International Pop Festival in California. Part of the stunning set was included in the 1968 documentary film, Monterey Pop.
In Concert 1972 (Apple, 1972)
A very rare live performance by Ravi Shankar with Ali Akbar Khan and Alla Rakha. This fantastic musical rendition was performed at the concert in New York’s Philharmonic Hall. The album comprises 3 incredible pieces: Raga Hem Bihag, Raga Manj Khamaj, and Raga Sindhi Bhairavi.
Full Circle: Carnegie Hall 2000 (Angel, 2001)
A live album recorded at a concert in New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, where he was accompanied by daughter Anoushka. There are 5 tracks, 2 ragas in the album. It earned Pandit ji the Grammy award for The Best World Music Album.
Improvisations (World Pacific, 1962) –
Described as a ‘visionary recording’, this fusion album is dynamic. It comprises Panditji’s ‘Fire Night’ with a jazz quartet including flautist Bud Shank and bassist Gary Peacock; besides ragas, Kirvani and Rageshri.
The phenomenal sitar play lent his extraordinary musical charm to Satyajit Ray’s ‘Apu Trilogy’ by composing music in the film. The opening piece of ‘Improvisations’ is based on music from Shankar’s score for ‘Pather Panchali’.
It’s a 4-disc compilation which resulted from Panditji’s association with The Beatles’ George Harrison. It embodies the beauty of significant ‘cultural legacy’.