Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ravi Shankar, R.I.P.

Ravi Shankar (1920-2012), R. I. P.

Pandit Ravi Shankar is gone. If you were fortunate, like me, to hear him play his sitar in concert, then you can easily recall the pacific thrill of listening to that marvelous musician and watching his marvelous fingers on that marvelous instrument. 

I saw and heard the music man—he was born Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury—at Lehigh University many years ago with his very talented daughter, Anoushka. They made beautiful music.

When I was very young I wrote poetry inspired by a piece Ravi described as "Bhimpalasi, a most beautiful raga of the late afternoon…" It was one of my first poems, it came easily to me….listen to "Bhimpalasi" here

Ravi got together with George Harrison in 1971 to play the first blowout star-studded benefit concert, The Concert for Bangladesh. The audience applauded after he finished tuning his sitar, and Pandit Ravi Shankar politely invited them to "wait until I play something." If you've heard his voice, you can imagine the utter civility of his words…

Ravi Shankar. Requiescat in pace.

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