Tag Archives: Monterey Pop Festival

RIP Ravi Shankar

RaviShankarI read this morning that the great Ravi Shankar passed away at the age of 92 (click here to read full article). On one hand, I was saddened, but on the other hand, I was happy that he lived such a long life and gave so much to the world of music.

When I was a teenager, I watched the Monterey Pop Festival film and was blown away by Shankar’s performance. I had never heard anything like it before. I remember thinking that it sounded like an orchestra emanating from a single instrument. I felt the need to learn more about the sitar, so I asked an Indian woman I worked with about the instrument. She told me she had studied sitar briefly while living in India. I asked her how much a sitar costs. She told me they were around $100 in India and if I wanted one she would have her mom send one over. I of course jumped at the opportunity and soon had my own sitar (with shipping and insurance it came to $350). Shortly afterwards, I found a teacher and took lessons for a while until he moved back to India to join an ashram.

I still have my sitar and enjoy playing it, although work, writing, family, and playing guitar in a glam rock band afford me less time than I would like to spend with the sitar. But, I occasionally tune it up and play a raga or two. In fact, I think I will do so today, in honor of the man who introduced me to world music at a young age and helped me understand how music works as a form of meditation.

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Filed under Non-fiction, Spiritual