Ravi Shankar

The world’s leading   sitar player and elder statesman of Indian culture, Ravi Shankar spent his   teenage years as a dancer in the glamorous world of 1930s Paris and New York.   After studying in India with classical Hindustani music master Allauddin   Khan, Ravi’s early career culminated in a successful tour of Soviet Russia in   1954 with the huge, prestigious first cultural delegation sent by Jawaharlal   Nehru.

Born in India, sitar master Shankar was raised in his brother Uday’s dance company, which toured internationally. His life, populated by a rich cast of family and friends, thus reveals a fascinating tension between Western and Eastern cultures. In this book, the man who was India’s premier musical ambassador for over 40 years displays both sincere humility and the sort of self-confidence that borders on boastfulness. But, for the most part, his manner is so gentle that the reader cannot help but be charmed. Edited by Harrison–the ex-Beatle who propelled Shankar to a kind of pop star-like fame when he became Shankar’s student in 1966–his narrative tends to meander; an “additional narrative” by Oliver Craske provides important background information and context for Shankar’s many reminiscences. The emphasis throughout is on Shankar the man; those interested in his ideas about India’s musical traditions should seek out his earlier book, My Music, My Life (1968).

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