Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ravi Shankar, my (fill in the blank)

I know, the title may seem odd or stupid but it is what it is. I could have just called this post Ravi Shankar or Ravi Shankar in concert but that is too lame and predictable and I am neither.  Ravi Shankar, to me, means many things; and he even doesn't know I exist; which is cool!!

Like most true music enthusiasts, I heard about Ravi back in the day when I had decided to read up on the Beatles.  Even though my dad was a Beatles fan, he never introduced to the hippie version of the band. I only knew about their pop beginnings. It's funny, now that I look back, he never introduced me to anything that was "hippiesh." I guess because he was in the war during that time and had only listened to what he had when he got back.

Regardless, I used to embrace a lot of the Beatles music because I was introduced to it by my school teachers in grammar school. Two of my instructors were fans of John Lennon as a solo artist and of the latter era Beatles. Mr. Rollins and Mr. Cameron would always play us, on their guitars, different songs and they made us memorize them...LoL  Anyway, it was through them that I recall hearing about Ravi Shankar because of his musical influence on George Harrison.

Fast forward, to 1998, I took a class called "History of Rock and Roll" at CSUF.  I thought I knew everything about rock music. Boy was I in for a surprise!! It was then, then I was introduced to CCR, Led Zeppelin and once again, The Beatles and Ravi Shankar.  I thought he was cool and all.

Again, fast forward to about 2004/5, and I became interested in Indian/Hindu culture.  In fact, I used to work near to an area in L.A. called, Little India.  When I discovered it, I thought it was the most raddest place ever.  I was hanging out there a lot. In fact, I used to watch a lot of Bollywood films. At the time, I used to supervise some individuals who were from India and once again, I was reintroduced to Ravi Shankar.  I loved it. I was immersed in all things India.

About a year later, I suffered a nervous breakdown.  And what got me through?  Surprisingly, Ravi Shankar's  album, "The Ravi Shankar Collection: In London," was my cure all; it calmed me down almost immediately!! Classical music was making my anxiety/panic attacks worse where as Mr. Shankar's melodic tunes made it all better. Call me weird, but it's a true story. So ever since, I have been a fan and have been wanting to catch a performance.  Due to his ailing health, he had cancelled a lot of his performances so I hadn't been able to attend.

Then finally, by pure coincidence, I found out he was performing in Long Beach, CA. I bought my ticket and went by myself and had a grand ole time; none of my friends appreciate his stuff, hence why I went by myself and it was perfect!!

Ravi Shankar outdid himself.  He was magnificent!! I was in heaven!! He was wheeled in with what looked like an oxygen tank. He sat on stage and started jamming ragas like a teenager; sans the oxygen tank.  We were all loving it.  He outdid himself and I was thankful for it. In fact, I got teary eyed out of happiness. I couldn't believe I got to see the master who brought me out of darkness and cured me. I know this sounds delusional and psychotic but it's true: Ravi Shankar saved my life and I was beyond happy and excited to have finally seen him perform!! No words can describe my excitement and gratitude-unbeknownst to him.
Here I've attached a short video of him performing a raga. Enjoy!!

p.s. he is at the center of the video and I apologize for the shitty output quality; I am not a professional.

No comments:

Post a Comment