(Author’s Note: I meant to post this a few days ago, and I’m just now getting around to it…)
Ravi Shankar passed away last Tuesday at the age of 92.
As musicians go, there have been very few that have been as influential as Ravi Shankar had been. His influence on the Beatles, especially George Harrison, has been the subject of volumes of essays, so I won’t bothered adding more to the dialogue that has already been discussed. Besides, listen to Norwegian Wood if you don’t believe me.
Aside from his influence, Ravi Shankar possessed something few musicians possessed: a complete mastery of their chosen instrument. What Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix possessed, Ravi Shankar possessed, yet that mastery was something sacred to him, something that humbled him. To hear the Master speak of continuing to learn his instrument well into his 80s is a remarkable thing to learn.
Ravi Shankar was one of my musical heroes. I’m sad to have learned that he has died, but the mark he left on music cannot be overstated enough.
I’ll leave you with his riveting, transcendental, hypnotic, majestic, earth-moving, insert-your-own-superlative performance from the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. I promise you’ll likely rise and give him a rapturous standing ovation as well.
(By the way, minute 6:28 to 6:32…the Greatest Guitarist That Ever Lived was certainly impressed…)