Film India – The Cinema Of Ravi Shankar - Ravi Shankar

Film India – The Cinema Of Ravi Shankar
Released 19/10/ 09 Film India comprises five film soundtracks from Ravi Shankar - four from the films of India’s internationally celebrated director Satyajit Ray, including the masterful Pather Panchali / The Apu Trilogy - Ustad Vilayat Khan’s music for Ray’s imperious Jalsaghar (The Music Room), and the soundtrack from Jean Renoir’s first Technicolor feature, The River, the first colour film made in India and regarded by Martin Scorsese as one of the most beautiful ever made.

The soundtrack of each film in the Apu Trilogy was scored by Ravi Shankar. The music for Pather Panchali, described as at once plaintive and exhilarating, is featured in the The Guardian’s list of 50 greatest film soundtracks. In 1955, Satyajit Ray made his debut as director with the masterpiece of world cinema that is Pather Panchali.

Played with restraint by a non-professional cast and influenced by such Italian neorealist features as Bicycle Thieves, it’s a story of a young Bengali boy's introduction to the ways of the world and is remarkable for its simplicity and humanity. The first in the acclaimed Apu trilogy (Aparajito and The World of Apu make up the saga), it astounded everyone when it won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, particularly as it was filmed on weekends and holidays over a four-year period, with Ray having to pawn his wife's jewellery to complete the shoot.
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Code: ACMEM177CD
Weight: 200
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Pather Panchali (The Song Of The Little Road) Ravi Shankar / Aparajito (The Unvanquished) Ravi Shankar / Apur Sansar (The World Of Apu) Ravi Shankar / Parash Pathar (The Philosopher's Stone) Ravi Shankar / a Chairy Tale Ravi Shankar / Jalsaghar (The Music Room) Ustad Vilayat Khan / The River - M.A. Partha sarathy
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Psychedelic India

If the Sixties was the period when the West's fascination with Indian music and culture blossomed to its fullest extent, then the seeds of that fascination were planted in the previous decade with the release - in both Britain and the United States - of the formative albums by the great emissaries of Indian music, Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar. Ali Akbar Khan was, and remains, the master of the sarod a 25- stringed instrument of the lute family who, beginning at the age of three, was taught by his father over a period of some 20 years. Among his father s fellow students at one point was the 18-yearold sitar player Ravi Shankar, with whom Ali Akbar came to share a lifelong devotion to teaching and performance around the world, even into his eighties.

As young men, the two learned together like brothers, inspiring each other to greater heights, the celebration of which manifests itself in such jugalbandis (musical duos) as the electrifying performances that are the centrepiece of this edition. Hindustani classical singer Ustad Amir Khan was one of the greatest musicians India has produced. His sublime Raga Marwa (featured here) was described by Ravi Shankar as one of the four or five immortal recordings of the entire world. Half a century has elapsed since these recordings were made, yet the passage of time has done nothing to dim their transcendent beauty. You won t encounter the formal trappings of Western psychedelia but this is music that will transport and elevate and enrich the listener.

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Psychedelic Music of India
Both regarded as absolute masters in their homeland Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Ustad Vilayat Khan, exact contemporaries and sarod and sitar players respectively are in India spoken of with the same reverence that is usually reserved for Ravi Shankar. Of course both are familiar to students of the genre of Indian classical music in the west (Vilayat Khan is known for his famous score to the merchant-ivory film "The Guru") but the commercial potential of their incredible art is only now beginning to be realised. Like Shankar, their work is hypnotic and spellbinding realised by flawless technique through a lifetime of devotion to their music. Our Price: £9.95

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That Which Colours The Mind
"Any player on any instrument, with any ears, would be deeply moved by Ravi Shankar. If you love music, it would be impossible not to be."David Crosby. Few in the West had even heard of the sitar before Ravi Shankar began touring Europe and America in the fifties and early sixties. Introduced to Shankar's music by Roger McGuinn at an Acid-fuelled party in Benedict Canyon, the Beatles quickly became disciples. The sitar would influence Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the Benares-born master would be propelled to international star-dom.

For all this fame, and his many successful collaborations with western musicians, Shankar's classicism would not be compromised. That Which Colours the Mind finds Ravi Shankar in magisterial form. A beautiful bouquet of sound and rhythm, and profoundly psychedelic. The five centrepiece tracks of this edition were produced by George Avakian in 1957, whilst the remainder (which feature Ravi and Ali Akbar Khan) are culled from UNESCO's historic Anthology of Indian Classical Music which first appeared in the mid-fifties.
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A Life In Music 2CD
Ravi Shankar, who died aged 92, in December 2012, was the musical visionary who thanks to the cultural influences of his family, the advantages of a disciplined classical background and a heady sixties association with George Harrison and The Beatles, established the sitar and the raga into western consciousness. He was thus the first performer and composer to bridge the musical gap between India and the west.
Ravi Shankar is already considered to have been one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century.
Ravi's first musical ventures were as a child, appearing in his brother Uday's dance company in America and France. In his teens he was apprenticed to the sarod master, Allauddin Khan under who's demanding tutelage he would inherit the great tradition of Indian classical music.
By the time his first met George Harrison and Paul McCartney in 1966, Shankar had given recitals with Khan's son, the sarodist, Ali Akbar Khan, served as musical director of All India Radio's first National Orchestra, and been sent to all points on cultural tours by the Indian government. He had composed elegant film themes for Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy, and taught and befriended the jazz musicians John Coltrane and Don Ellis.
Ravi met the Beatles at a point when the Fab Four were looking to expand their musical language and to make deeper artistic statements. Legend has it that they had already been introduced to Ravi's music by Byrds guitarist Roger McGuinn at an LSD party in Los Angeles and indeed they dabbled with the sitar on the 1965 hit, Norwegian Wood. On meeting Ravi Shankar, George Harrison determined to take the instrument seriously, soon journeying to meet Ravi in India for a period of intensive tuition. There by the banks of the Dal Lake in Srinagar, the guitarist was inspired to write Within You Without You for the album, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles' tribute to Ravi Shankar.
The flower-power generation were beguiled by Ravi. He appeared at the
Monterey and Woodstock Festivals, and at the Concert for Bangledesh in New York in 1971 and made no attempt attempt to conceal his appreciation of the adulation, "Though I had been performing all over the world since 1954, my association with George attracted a whole young generation to sitar and to me from the mid-1960s. Even though I didn't make any record jamming with him or any other pop or rock star, I was treated like a superstar, being the Beatle George's guru.”
The recordings featured here are likely those that turned the The Beatles
on to Ravi. They were made between 1956 and 1962 and for all the success that followed they are arguably the pinnacle of his recorded artistry.

Release Date: 11/03/2013

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