My love of Pandit Ravi Shankar and his music came about through my dad, who was a huge Beatles fan. Apparently when they were young, he and his friends would buy Shankar albums and get high so they could trip out to the sounds. Maybe not ideal, as Shankar has said more or less that one should be able to obtain enlightenment in other words, music being one of them. We lived next door to a family whose son was a long time friend of mine. They used to do their share of Friday night parties, and one of those albums was Three Ragas on Capitol (the reissue of the same album on Angel Records, but the Capitol pressing came about post-Beatles). I didn’t understand the music then, but loved what it sounded like. I then started liking Shankar for much more than being someone connected with The Beatles, to where I started listening to everyone from Ali Akbar Khan to Vilayat Khan, Bismillah Khan to Kalyani Roy. Years after hearing him for the first time, I saw Shankar live for the first time in October 2001, where he was accompanied by his daughter, Anoushka. It was incredible, not bad for a concert that only consisted of him performing two ragas. At the time, Shankar was 81.
At 92, Shankar continues to perform, although not taking big tours as he did in the first half of his life. Tenth Decade in Concert: Live In Escondido is a forthcoming DVD release that honors his 92 years in life and music, in a performance that has Tanmoy Bose (tabla), Ravichandra Kulur (flute, Kanjira), Parimal Sadaphal (sitar), Samir Chatterjee (tabla), Kenji Ota (tanpura and swarmandal), and Barry Phillips (tanpura) behind him in a four song performance, resulting in an 84 minute presentation:
1. Yaman Kalyan
3. Goonga Sitar
It will be released on December 11, 2012.