Ravi Shankar passes.


Raga virtuoso Ravi Shankar has passed on. His music changed the way a lot of other musicians thought of composition (think the Beatles and Stones).He also fathered some very talented children.
Indian classical music is great stuff, and Ravi Shankar opened the door (for me anyway) not only to other sitar musicians (Vlayt Khan is very good also) but also to Iranian, Chinese, and other international music. A lot of it reminds me of meditation or prayer, with vocal improvisation as well as a huge variety of non-western instruments. But Ravi certainly deserves a lot of credit for exposing Indian Music to young people as well as classcially trained masters such as Yehudi Medhuin (sp?). Funny too how good the sitar sounds once you've heard it played a few times.
It is Vilayat Khan (you dropped an i and a). The greatest of all was Ali Akbar Khan (Sarod) whose sister Annapurna Devi was married to Ravi Shankar and studied together under her father great Alauddin Khan. Annapurna Devi was perhaps even more talented than Ravi Shankar. To avoid comparison with her husband she chose Surbahar (bass Sitar). She is perhaps the greatest living teacher of Indian Classical music. Her pupils include mentioned Pandit Nikhil Banerjee and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia between many others.

If you like Vilayat Khan try to find record "Duets". He plays with Bismillah Khan - master of the Shehnai.

Ravi Shankar was a great global ambassador of Indian Classical music. I attended his November 16 1985 concert in Chicago (he played with great tablist Alla Rakha).
Thanks to all sharing information on various artists. Kijanki, it's funny you mention Ustad Ali Akbar Kahn. A few year ago my wife brought home volume 3 of the Ammp signature series. I was floored the first time we played it. I'm not kidding when I say it takes me to a different place when I hear it. I would suggest it to any Ravi fans.

I had a coworker mention Sultan Khan today. Have you ever heard him? I don't believe he plays sitar but another instrument of which sound I'm familiar with but the name of that instrument escapes me. Thanks again.
Back in 2005 or 6, the wife and I got two, free, last minute tickets to Ravi Shankar's concert in Portland. His daughter Anoushka was with him. Though we had a couple of cds, we weren't exactly fans--we hadn't even thought about going to the concert.

Then the tickets fell in our lap, we went, and were simply overwhelmed. It remains one of the two or three finest musical experiences I've had. And since this is Audiogon, I'll add this: while I rarely think live performances match the sound that's possible on recordings and a good stereo system, this was a striking exception. The tabla in particular seems to escape reproduction.
Donjr, Sultan Khan died last year. He was Sarangi player and vocalist but I don't have any of his records. Ali Akbar Khan was pronouced by Yehudi Menuhin "An absolute genius...the greatest musician in the world,". Musicians that are the most popular are not necessarily the best (if I can even use this word). When Alauddin Khan was tired explaining he used to say to Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan "Annapurna will explain it to you". Annapurna Devi rarely played in public and many never heard of her. http://indianraga.blogspot.com/2009/11/annapurna-devi-genius-who-chose-to-be.html

Stewie, that's perhaps best way to start. Indian Classical music is very different from western music and very very complex (especially Carnatic music from the south of India). To start with there is no constant beat - it is changing pattern usually up to 16 times in Hindustani and up to 100 patterns in Carnatic music. Beat is not constant because is related to melody. In contrast, beat in western music is constant since it was made for marching or dancing. There is main melody of the Raga but everything else is improvisation. There is no absolute tone (like A=440Hz). Music can be played from any tone (drone) and everything becomes relative to this tone. Raga in general (great simplification) has two parts Alap and Ghat. Alap is an introduction to melody without rythm. To me it brings atmosphere and allow to "sink in". Ghat repeats same melodic lines with percussion (tabla). Indian music has no harmonic structure (chords) therefore to enrich it (cover silence) instruments have often sympathetic strings that resonate plus few Tampuras are added. Tampura is an instrument, played in the background by girls who just touch strings in order, what creates this buzzing background noise. In addition to all that melody in western music is made by the sequence of notes while in Indian Classical music each note has also own melody by modulating string during sustain.