"Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and look(ing) Twice as old as all of them put together."He and his brother moved to Paris when Ravi was ten years old. His brother, Uday Shankar, was a member of Compagnie De Danse Et Musique Hindon (Company of Hindu Dance and Music) troupe.
"I started out as a dance, but gradually became more interest in music."-Ravi Shankar
"The moment we entered, I could see he was in a strange mood. The Cathedral had a huge statue of the Virgin Mary. Baba went towards the statue and started howling like a child: 'Ma, Ma' (Mother, Mother), with tears flowing freely."- Ravi ShankarTen years after Ravi met Khan he got a job working for Indian People's Theater Association in Mumbai, where he composed music for ballets. He then became a music director in New Delhi up until 1956. In 1956 he debuted in the United States and Western Europe. He even wrote songs for films like Pather Panchali, the film won Grand Pix (now known as Golden Palm) at the Cannes Festival (1955).
The 1960s were a great decade for Ravi where his music began to flourish taking him to Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock (1969). It was also in the 1960s where he would meet the number one band in the world, The Beatles and inspire band member, George Harrison thoroughly in the Indian music and culture.
George first met Ravi in 1965 at the home of Asian Music Circle (London) owner, Mr. Anghadi. George recalls in his book I Me Mine, that Shankar soon came to Esher giving George sitar lessons and even having a little concert for George, John, and Ringo with tabla player Allah Rakha.
"But George got very interested in it, and went to a couple of Ravi Shankar concerts, and then he met Ravi and said, 'I was knocked out by him!' - just as a person. He's an incredible fellow. He's one of the greatest. He didn't know that George was serious about it, and so when he found out George was serious he was knocked out, too. So the two of them were having a great time! And that's how we brought Indian sounds on. "- Paul McCartney
Early photo of George and Ravi
"The telephone rang and I put the sitar down, stood up and went to step across the sitar to go to the phone and Ravi whacked me on the leg and said 'the first thing you must realise is that you must have more respect for your instrument'."-George Harrison on Ravi's visitGeorge and Pattie Boyd were soon in Bombay where they were guest of Ravi Shankar. Ravi would take George to temples, gave him books and would give him lessons about the sitar and the Indian culture, some lasting eight hours.
"Well maybe I should get back to the guitar because I'm not getting any better at the guitar and I'm not going to be a great sitar player".In 1971 Ravi had approached George while the two were working on the soundtrack album for a film 'Raga' mentioning to him that he wanted raise money for Bangladesh.
"Ravi was talking to me and telling me how he wanted to do a concert, but bigger than he normally did, so that he could raise maybe 25,000 dollars for the starving in Bangla Desh. he asked if I could thing of some way of helpings, say for instance for me to come on and introduce it or mayber bring in Peter Sellers... Something to help, anyway."- George Harrison, I Me Mine
George started calling various musicians like Eric Clapton, who willingly did the concert. There was very little practice and rehearsal for the concert, in fact there was not one rehearsal that everyone showed up at."The Beatles had been trained to the view that if you're going to do it, you might as well do it big and why not make a million dollars."
|Concert For Bangladesh|
"... The main result was that we were able to attract attention to events over there in Bangla Desh, because while we were setting up the concert the Americans were shipping arms to Pakistan. Thousands were dying everyday but in the newspapers, coming after Biafra, it was just afew little sayings 'Oh yeah it's still going on'.
So our thing was, we attracted a lot of publicity, turned it round and even now I still meet waiters in Bengali resturants who say: 'Oh, you Mr. Harrison. When we were in the jungle fighting it was great to know somebody out there was thinking of us'."- George Harrison, I Me Mine
|George and Ravi|
Throughout his life Ravi had been nominated for an Oscar for his song for the film Gandhi (1982), 14 honorary degrees, 2 Grammy awards, Lifetime Achievement Grammy award, and was member to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
"I will keep playing as long as my body lets me, and as long as I'm wanted by my listeners. Because music is the one things that keeps me going."- Ravi Shankar