Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Raga Mala

Author: Ravi Shankar
Published: 1999
Publisher: Element Books Ltd.

This is an autobiography of the world-renowned sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, written on the occasion of his 75th birthday (now he is 89).
A very fascinating and almost a complete account of his life - his childhood, his teens as a member of his brother Uday Shankar's dance troupe, his learning sitar from his guru Ustad Allaudin Khan, his painstaking efforts to introduce and popularize Indian Classical Music in the West, his l collaborations with Western musicians of several genres Pop (Beetles, especially George Harrison who learnt Sitar from him), Jazz (John Coltrane, who named his son as Ravi after him) and Classical (Lord Yehudi Menuhin, who has written the Afterword for this book), his affairs with several women finally culminating in his marriage to Sukanya when he was in late sixties , his daughter Anoushka.
There are lot of sepia toned photographs (and some colored photos too) of excellent quality showing glimpses from various phases in his life.
Overall a very beautifully produced book, edited and introduced by George Harrison of Beetles fame.
A must read for lovers of Indian classical music.

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