Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar. His impact on 1960's rock is certainly a bewilderment considering that he did not play rock music. He played Indian classical music. But his mastery of the sitar amazed many musicians and influenced raga rock (which I wrote about in a previous post) and psychedelic rock. One such musician was George Harrison. The above picture is Ravi (at age 47) with George Harrison in 1967. George traveled to India to take lessons from Ravi and learn more about Indian music and culture in 1966. These travels would greatly influence the rock music scene abroad. It is these travels that would make Ravi internationally famous.

"Oh, Ravi Shankar's
Music made me cry"
That is a line from the song "Monterey" by The Animals. It is referencing Ravi Shankar's revolutionary performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. It was certainly a different genre than what the rest of the performers were playing, but the crowd absolutely loved it. This diversity in music really proved that the audience was open-minded. Ravi's performances like the one at Monterey made him a crowd favorite. He was also invited to Woodstock, but soon after he seldomly played Western concerts because of the drug use.

Another one of Ravi Shankar's great contributions was his involvement in the Concert For Bangladesh. He organized this concert with his now great friend, George Harrison. This concert helped raise over $240,000 for Bangladeshian war relief. The concert was held in Madison Square Garden for over 40,000 fans. The sales of the movies and such resulting from this concert still are helping people today. Ravi was willing to perform, and his influence in the concert and it's planning was historic.

After all of those years of greatly advancing the music scene, Ravi is still playing today at age 88. This year is the 70th year he has been active as a musician. Although his concerts are not as frequent as they once were, he is still getting a good crowd and a lot of support.

Ravi's website:

Performance at Monterey (pt.1):

Performance at Monterey (pt. 2):

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