Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Think of it as multiculturalism in action

Ravi Shankar died last week. A loss, certainly, but not a sad one as he made it to 92 and had a very fulfilling life.

I saw him (courtesy of my older brother who took me along) on stage at Manchester's Free Trade Hall in 1969 or thereabouts, thereby gaining a great deal of cred with the one Indian lad in my year at school, whose Dad chaired the local Indian cultural association. As a result, my brother and I were alerted to a concert the association put on of Indian music, which was a total revelation. Not only because the musicians were not big stars, but because the audience was clearly very knowledgeable and responsive. Moreover, there wasn't a sitar in sight: that evening was our introduction to the joys of the sarod, the sarengi and the santoor, instruments I wouldn't encounter again in the flesh until I visited India for myself.

Ravi Shankar is dear to me for another reason, also connected with my brother. The very first LP record I ever owned was a birthday present from him, and was West Meets East by Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar. I remember we agreed that in the cover picture Shankar looked even more than ususally like a hook-nosed version of Harry H Corbett. Here is my favourite track from the album.

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