Ravi Shankar has been called a ‘musician to the world’, and ‘visitor from another time’. He has inspired artists from every corner of the music-making spectrum. And for more than 70 years he has shown the world, with an enduring eloquence, how music is the most universal of languages. Now he brings his genius to Australia for one last time.
The Ravi Shankar story began 90 years ago, in the holy town of Varanasi on the shores of the Ganges. As a young man in the 1930s he toured Europe with his brother’s Indian dance group, then became a student of the illustrious guru “Baba” Ustad Allaudin Khan. It was the start not only of a lifelong study of Indian classical music but also a lifelong engagement with Western classical music, jazz and popular culture.
His leap to international stardom came when he was introduced to Yehudi Menuhin. The American violin virtuoso was instantly fascinated by his haunting ragas, and invited Shankar to bring his music to the world. Within ten years Shankar was ‘the most famous Indian musician on the planet’, inspiring musicians from George Harrison of the Beatles to jazz saxophonist John Coltrane to composer Philip Glass. Through his work the mesmerizing sounds of the sitar and tablas have found their way into Hollywood film scores, onto the symphony orchestra stage, into jazz venues and pop charts.
Now, at the age of 90, Ravi Shankar is making the long journey to Australia in what will almost certainly be his last visit. He brings with him his daughter, Anoushka Shankar, who thrills audiences across the world with her smooth and kaleidoscopic mix of sounds from India and beyond. Her music is deeply rooted in the Indian classical tradition, but also explores the exciting nexus between genres including electronica, jazz, flamenco, and Western classical music.
Between them they span a vast artistic tradition and a pantheon of world music. Together they will create something truly special. At the heart of Indian music is the raga, a fragment of musical DNA which, in the hands of a great musician, can become a love song, a symphony or a magical meditation. “A raga is the projection of the artist’s inner spirit, a manifestation of his most profound sentiments,” says Shankar. “The musician must breath life into each raga as he unfolds and expands it.”
Hearing the kaleidoscopic soundscapes dreamed up by two generations of this family of musicians, will be, without exaggeration, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Ravi Shankar is the Godfather of World music‟ GEORGE HARRISON
Tuesday 16 March • Sydney Opera House
Bookings: (02) 9250 7777 or sydneyoperahouse.com
Saturday 20 March • Hamer Hall, The Arts Centre
Bookings: 1300 182 183 or http://www.theartscentre.com.au and thru Ticketmaster 136100 or http://www.ticketmaster.com.au
Tickets on sale 2 November
Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar will also play at WOMADelaide March 8