The definitive biography of Ravi Shankar, one of the most influential musicians and composers of the 20th century, told with the cooperation of his estate, family, and friends
For over eight decades, Ravi Shankar was India's greatest cultural ambassador. He was a groundbreaking performer and composer of Indian classical music, who brought the music and rich culture of India to the world's leading concert halls and festivals, charting the map for those who followed in his footsteps. Renowned for playing Monterey Pop, Woodstock, and the Concert for Bangladesh - and for teaching George Harrison of The Beatles how to play the sitar - Shankar reshaped the musical landscape of the 1960s across pop, jazz, and classical music, and composed unforgettable scores for movies like Pather Panchali and Gandhi.
In Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar, writer Oliver Craske presents listeners with the first full portrait of this legendary figure, revealing the personal and professional story of a musician who influenced - and continues to influence - countless artists. Craske paints a vivid picture of a captivating, restless workaholic-from his lonely and traumatic childhood in Varanasi to his youthful stardom in his brother's dance troupe, from his intensive study of the sitar to his revival of India's national music scene. Shankar's musical influence spread across both genres and generations, and he developed close friendships with John Coltrane, Philip Glass, Yehudi Menuhin, George Harrison, and Benjamin Britten, among many others. For 92 years, Shankar lived an endlessly colorful and creative life, a life defined by musical, emotional, and spiritual quests - and his legacy lives on.
Benefiting from unprecedented access to Shankar's archives, and drawing on new interviews with over 130 subjects - including his second wife and both of his daughters, Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar - Indian Sun gives listeners unparalleled insight into a man who transformed modern music as we know it today.
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Stunning Biography of Pandit Ravi Shankar
Over 22 hrs heard at 1.7X, Oliver Craske and the narrator immerses you in the absolutely incredible life of Pandit Ravi Shankar who has perhaps experienced and achieved more in one life time of the arts than anyone i know. Oliver tracks his life from even before he was born from his father - strange dichotomy of global, liberal and spiritual worldview juxtaposed of neglect for wife and his son/children. By the mid 50's with Ravi Shankar only 35, his achievements and mastery were already of thenext order and he had another 2/3r'ds of his life to live and create such a prodigious body of work and collaborations from Yehudi Menuhin, Philip Glass, Zubin Mehta to Ali Akbar Khan and so many others. I never knew the original scores for symphonies, ballets, dance dramas, opera and the world of cinema. What amazed me was the frenetic and relentless nature of his life which was grounded in music and taking India's classical music traditions to the world. I wish was there in era 66 to 1969 where he brought our music mainstream riding the counter culture wave. The book is a tourdeforce for anyone to understand what it took to be Pandit Ravi Shankar and who knew there might have been no Pandit Ravi Shankar if he surrendered to his suicide urges before he broke through and Tata Baba had not come and guided him!
- Arfan Iqbal
Worth a listen
A pretty fascinating life story told via a well written, at times gripping narrative. However it does at times border on hagiography, which is perhaps unsurprising given the subject at hand.
The narrator does a good job, although there is the occasional mispronounciation it's nothing egregious.
Overall would recommend for fans of Pandit Shankar as well as those with a general interest in Indian Classical Music.