The Strings Of The Sitar, The Strings Of My Soul… Ravi Shankar Ascends

One by one they pass.

They temporarily lay their instruments down as they cross the threshold… waltz through the gates… and find each other.

That is my vision of heaven… a non-stop concert of all the musical greats… An endless jam session.  George HarrisonJohn LennonBuddy Holly… There they are playing with Beethoven and Bach

Roy Orbison and MozartClarence Clemons and Danny Federici trading notes with Brian Jones and John Coltrane, while Keith Moon and John Bonham are pounding it out on a double drum set…

The list is long and sadly growing.  For today, one more ascends… A giant… a ground breaker… an opener of doors.

George called him the “Godfather of World Music.”  That he was and so he will always be.  He led The Beatles on quite a journey… and then he led us… At least that is the way the music of Ravi Shankar came to me.  And yesterday, at the age of 92 he left this mortal coil…

He passed right here in California… in San Diego… 4:30 pm yesterday afternoon.  I say that and give those specifics because maybe you felt something at that exact moment… a smile… a warm mist moving through you… or a momentary chill and a second of sadness…

Many called him a Pandit… a teacher or scholar, and it always seemed like he had someone he was guiding… and sharing his immense insight with.

I think the first time I saw him was in the video for the Concert for Bangladesh.  I did not see it in August of 1971 when George Harrison put the famed benefit together… I was too young…

But when I did see it, I am fairly certain I did not get Ravi’s music.  The sound was foreign to me, for as a lad I was not as open as I am now.  I am guessing I would have said something like, who is the guy tuning his instrument and why is he doing it for so long…

I don’t know if that is true… maybe… but later in life I would come to love and cherish those ethereal sounds… those notes that floated in air.

Ravi’s music was beyond spiritual, though that was a huge part of what he was doing.  His music took you places, which also make it some of the most brilliant choices to meditate to.

The Byrds heard Ravi… and they shared the music with George… Soon the sitar would find its way on “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” and the amazingly trippy, “Within You Without You”.

Raga Rock they called it.  And hell, you can just listen to this and get high… so put the damn pipe and bong down.  Open your ears… open your mind.

I know iTunes compresses and shit, but listening to “Within You…” on headphones and hearing that mix and split… Right ear… left ear… I LOVE IT!!!

I need to see Ragathe documentary film about Shankar… and I need to watch Bangladesh and Concert For George again…

But right now I need to listen to Ravi.  Being Ravi Shankar and Raga: A Film Journey To The Soul Of India (the soundtrack) are good places to start… And enjoy this cross-legged jam with Anoushka!

Thoughts out to her and Norah Jones and all the family and friends who are deeply saddened right now.

You left this world, but left us a world of records.  Long live the music.


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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me, The News Blues

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