Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar

Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar

by Oliver Craske


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The definitive biography of Ravi Shankar, one of the most influential musicians and composers of the twentieth 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 readers 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 ninety-two 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 readers unparalleled insight into a man who transformed modern music as we know it today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306874888
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 04/07/2020
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 224,000
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 2.20(d)

About the Author

OLIVER CRASKE is a writer, editor, and the author of Rock Faces: The World's Top Rock'n'Roll Photographers and Their Greatest Images. He first met Shankar in 1994, worked with him on his autobiography (Raga Mala, 1997), and was encouraged by him to write his full story after his death. He lives in London.

Table of Contents

Map of the Indian Subcontinent, 2020 vii

The Sitar (Ravi Shankar Model) viii

The Octave in Indian Classical Music ix

Ragas Created Ravi Shankar x

Talas Commonly Used Ravi Shankar xi

Shankar Family Tree xii

Introduction: An Unending Quest 1

I Star Formation, 1920-1944

1 Benares 15

2 Dancing Comes First 37

3 The Call of Music 56

4 The Path of Most Resistance 71

II The Sun Rising, 1944-1956

5 Mumbai Made Me 95

6 All India Star 115

7 The World of Apu 137

8 Going Solo 152

III Wandering Star, 1956-1965

9 Like Driving Through a Mist 169

10 A Hero's Welcome 200

11 A Compromise to Suit Other Purposes 213

12 Coast to Coast 232

13 Propagandist-in-Chief 261

IV Superstar, 1965-1970

14 The Sitar Explosion 283

15 Wonderland 301

16 It Happened in Monterey 327

17 Woodstock Degeneration 354

V Perpetual Orbit, 1970-1987

18 Dream, Nightmare and Dawn 385

19 Parallel Lives 412

20 Heart Strain 433

VI Evening Sun, 1987-2012

21 Shanti Mantras 463

22 The Inner Light 488

23 A Student of Music 512

24 Late Style 528

Epilogue: The Sun Won't Set 548

References 557

Bibliography 609

List of Illustrations 617

Acknowledgments 621

Index 627

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