Thursday, December 13, 2012

goodnight ravi


If all of these great musicians keep dying we're in danger of this just becoming an obituary blog. Now we have Ravi Shankar, everyone's favorite hippie co-opted sitar player. In case you have any illusions that Shankar himself enjoyed the hippie lifestyle, here is a quote for you: “People would come to my concerts stoned, and they would sit in the audience drinking Coke and making out with their girlfriends. I found it very humiliating, and there were many times I picked up my sitar and walked away." Because of all of this Beatles based attention and sometimes corny instructional monologues on his albums there is some danger that his virtuosity and dedication may be overlooked. I was also not aware until reading his obit that he was trained in the West before making a sudden decision to return to India and "the old ways . . . where there were mosquitos, bedbugs, lizards and snakes", throwing out his Western clothes and going at the sitar hard core.   

Here's a super documentary that has some interesting anecdotes about his guru (tying his hair to a tree so it would wake him when he dozed while practicing) and has some amazing footage of Shankar and his tabla player having a vocal-ese dialogue in a park while also playing polo.