Posts Tagged ‘ravi shankar’
Photo of Ravi Shankar by Michael Collopy
Ravi wins Best World Music Album Grammy award
Last night Los Angeles held the 55th Annual Grammy Awards in which the late Ravi Shankar was awarded the Best World Music Album Award for The Living Room Sessions Part 1. Accepting the award on his behalf was daughter Anoushka Shankar whose album, Traveller was also nominated for the award.
Additionally, he was amongst seven artists who were given Lifetime Achievement Awards. In a pre-Grammy ceremony on Saturday, both daughters Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones accepted the award. They spoke of how glad they were that he had known about this accolade before his passing, and of his excitement to be receiving it. View the speech here.
Cajun band The Band Coutbouillon (featuring Wayne Toups, Steve Riley and Wilson Savoy) were the overjoyed winners of the Best Regional Roots Music Album Award for their self-titled record. Only the second Cajun band to ever win a Grammy, they were (more importantly) a Songlines Top of the World in issue #84 (June 2012).
Now that you’ve had a chance to read about all the exciting music featured in the current issue of Songlines, don’t forget that you can watch it and listen to it too. Each issue, we create a YouTube playlist of featured videos to help give the full interactive experience. You can view the playlist here.
Some of the highlights of this issue’s videos include:
Ravi Shankar: 1920-2012 (read memories of the Indian sitarist by fellow musicians and admirers on p16-17)
Voices Unite for Mali (read more on p7)
Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan perform at New York’s Globalfest 2013 (read our New York City Guide on p59-61)
This podcast includes highlights from the March 2013 issue of Songlines (#90) opening with music by Goran Bregovic from his new album, Champagne for Gypsies (Universal/Wrasse). Songlines editor-in-chief, Simon Broughton, speaks to Joe Boyd and plays an excerpt by Muzsikás, a bonus track he chose as part of his playlist this issue.
Features include: Phil Sweeney on Goran Bregovic, Tim Cumming on the Oysterband and Simon Broughton with some music about food. Nathaniel Handy brings you the latest news with music by Gochag Askarov and more. The podcast ends with a track by the late Ravi Shankar.
The next Songlines podcast, featuring highlights from the April/May issue (#91), will be available from March 15 2013.
Photo of Ravi Shankar by Vincent Limongelli
Ravi Shankar was, without doubt, the most famous Indian musician and did more than anyone to bring Indian classical music to the world. In the Q&A that Anoushka Shankar gave before her Songlines concert on November 23, she mentioned that she’d recently done a concert with her father. It was on November 4 in California in what turned out to be his last public performance. It shows that despite delicate health he was active to the end. He died on December 11 after heart surgery, aged 92.
Ravi Shankar was born in Varanasi, India’s holy city, and started performing at an early age in the dance troupe of his elder brother Uday. Based in Paris, it was the beginning of a cosmopolitan life and his first experience of introducing audiences in Europe and America to Indian culture.
He didn’t start learning the sitar until he was 18 years old and went into a rigorous traditional training with Allauddin Khan, the father of sarod player Ali Akbar Khan, who became his guru. Ravi Shankar considered this period one of the most important in his life. It certainly formed him as a musician and it’s incredible to think of those two musicians, the sitarist and the sarod player, learning at the feet of the master.
Shankar didn’t just become an amazing sitar player, but also worked in the theatre, radio and cinema. He composed music for four films by the leading Bengali director Satyajit Ray. In the 1950s he started touring abroad with concerts in the USSR, Europe, America and Japan. In 1958 he performed a concert with Yehudi Menuhin in Paris, which began a long friendship and the first fusions of Eastern and Western music. ‘Among Western classical musicians Menuhin was the first to be interested in Indian music. He wanted me to tour the West and he made it happen,’ he told Songlines in 2008. They went on to record the Grammy-winning West Meets East album in 1966. ‘What I got from my guru, Allauddin Khan, was so solid and deep that I could keep that intact and be experimental too.’
It was in 1966 that he met George Harrison and the Beatles. The group went to India and Shankar started teaching Harrison the guitar which he’d already played on ‘Norwegian Wood’. He had a strong influence on the ‘psychedelic’ sound of the Beatles and played pop festivals in Monterey (1967) and Woodstock (1969). Harrison and Shankar collaborated on the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, the first big charity concert event which included Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan. Harrison dubbed Shankar “the godfather of world music.”
In 1970, Shankar was commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra to write a sitar concerto and wrote three in total. Aged 90, he composed a Symphony – also including a prominent sitar part played at its premiere by his daughter Anoushka. I was lucky enough to be at his last London concert in June 2011 when, bearded and frail, like a holy sadhu, he started with an evening raga – ‘Yaman Kalyan’ – which literally seemed to energise him and grew into something magisterial. And he ended with a free-ranging finale which was innovative and invigorating. He still had his revolutionary spirit. Amazingly he had a Top of the World disc in Songlines #85. The Living Room Sessions was a new recording released in June this year. ‘The four tracks on this disc,’ wrote Jameela Siddiqi, ‘lack absolutely nothing in the way of musical virtuosity, technical brilliance and the kind of high-energy passion that belongs in concert performances.’
Songlines had a playlist selected by Ravi Shankar in #79. He included music by younger artists he admired and whom he’d inspired, including Philip Glass, Nitin Sawhney, Karsh Kale and Joshua Bell and Anoushka Shankar. ‘The sound created by the sitar and violin is so compatible yet so different,’ he said, obviously thinking back to his work with Yehudi Menuhin. Aside from his amazing musical legacy, Shankar has left a living musical legacy in his two daughters, the singer Norah Jones and sitar player Anoushka.
Ravi Shankar wasn’t just a great Indian musician, but a great musician full stop.