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The Essential Ravi Shankar Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, October 4, 2005
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. An Introduction To Indian Music
  2. Dadra
  3. Kafi-Holi (Spring Festival Of Colors)
  4. Raga Des
  5. Raga Palas Kafi (Excerpt)
  6. Sitar Todi
  7. Dhun: Fast Teental (Excerpt)

Disc: 2

  1. Swara-Kakali
  2. Discovery Of India
  3. Vandanaa Trayee
  4. Village Dance
  5. Raga Minature
  6. Sandhya Raga
  7. Memory Of Uday
  8. Shanti Mantra
  9. Ragas In Minor Scale
  10. Chappaqua
  11. Friar Park
  12. Vaishnava janato/Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram
  13. Offering


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 4, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000AO4NL8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,303 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 30, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Master musician Ravi Shankar makes the following observations in the opening track, "An introduction to Indian Music" (from 1957's THE SOUNDS OF INDIAN MUSIC): "The improvisation is the highlight in Indian music. The sheer joy of creating on the spot by a musician, always coming back to the main theme in the raga he has chosen is what listeners look forward to....The Western listener will appreciate and enjoy our music if he listens with an open and relaxed mind." And for more than two and a half hours, Shankar takes us on a musical journey that covers five decades of recordings.

Disc 1: Out of the East (74:40)

Most of these tracks are ragas and are taken from his albums of the fifties and sixties. The most recent is "Dhun: Fast Teental" from 1967, the same year Shankar earned both the Billboard Recording Artist and Musician of the year honors. All tracks feature a small ensemble with Shankar accompanied only by tabla and tambura (and sarod on "Raga Palas Kafi)."

Disc 2: Into the West (78:29)

The tracks on this disc feature Shankar in collaboration with Western musicians. "Swara-Kakali" features famed violinist Yehudi Menuhin. "Discovery of India" is from the soundtrack album GHANDI, for which Shankar received an Oscar nomination for best score. There are two tracks from 1990's PASSAGES, which teamed Shankar with minimalist composer Phillip Glass. "Ragas in Minor Scale" features Shankar's ensemble playing a Glass composition, while "Offering" has Glass's ensemble performing a Shankar composition (the only track that Shankar does not perform on).

And, of course, it's only fitting that Shankar's most famous disciple be included.
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Format: Audio CD
Into his 6th decade as a professional musician, 85 year-old Pandit Ravi Shankar is sometimes described as the father of world music and, "...his genius and his humanity can only be compared to that of Mozart's," according to Yehudi Menuhin. His impact on the music world, with his 90-something recordings and decades of touring, including sold out shows during his current tour, is absolutely immense. If there's someone else currently alive who has been an influential virtuoso for as long, I can not think of their name. Miles Davis would have been close but he passed away 1991. I'm also disappointed to see that on his upcoming tour, he's playing several Canadian cities, but not Winnipeg, where I live! He's selling out 2000 seat concert halls and could easily do the same here.

This two-CD set is actually more thoughtfully compiled than I imagined. Among my favorite recordings of his would be the 1990 album "Passages" - a true desert island recording - with Phillip Glass (1937). I assumed that album was too esoteric to be represented here, but it is, by two selections on disc 2. Disc 1, entitled "Out Of The East", features mostly ragas, spanning the decade from 1957 - 1967, from notable albums such as "The Sounds of India" (1954), "The Genius of Ravi Shankar" (1957) and "India's Master Musician" (1963.) "Into The West" is the title of disc 2 and it's 13 tracks, not surprisingly, feature Shankar performing with the likes of violinist Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999), George Harrison (1943-2001), guitarist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and minimalist composer Phillip Glass.

I happen to like the traditional ragas but also the newer, easier-to-digest material, such as the George Harrison collaboration "Village Dance" from 1987's "Tana Mana.
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Format: Audio CD
This collection offers an accessible way to experience the works of Ravi Shankar, the man most responsible for what awareness there is in the West of Indian classical music traditions. The two-disc set is quite expansive: Disc one features pieces from 1957 to Shankar's Western "breakthrough" at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, while disc two features 13 tracks from 1967 to 1990. Highlights include: "Swara-Kakali," an impassioned instrumental duet that Shankar recorded with violinist Yehudi Menuhin in 1967; "Dhun: Fast Teental," an excerpt from his legendary performance at Monterey; several pieces from his work with George Harrison, including "Village Dance" and "Friar's Park;" and the delightful opening track on which Shankar himself introduces some of the basic elements of Indian classical style.

Harrison declared Shankar the "Godfather of world music," as the back of the CD indicates, and this collection is a perfect testament to why that's true. While the form may not be to everyone's taste here in the West, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more affordable entree into--or a more skilled ambassador of--this beautiful musical heritage.
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Format: Audio CD
It is not too often that you see a compilation compact disc that has all the essential tracks of an artist. It seems that the musicians always want to leave out a few so that you have to buy more CDs from them.

This CD, however, is truly made up of the best of Ravi Shankar. If you only wish to own one Ravi Shankar CD then this is for you.
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Format: Audio CD
Other reviewers here have noted that, if all you want is one CD of Ravi Shankar's music, this 2-CD set ought to do the trick. It also works as a good capsule introduction to Ravi-ji and his music; Disc One is a more pure distillation of Hindustani music, where Disc Two gives the listener a sampling of his collaborations with Western artists, all of whom seem to have had a good grasp on what was needed to make the collaborations work (not always the case with cross-cultural experiments).

Another bonus is that many of these tracks are not as readily available as one might like (I've yet to find a copy of the Chappaqua soundtrack anywhere), so their inclusion here is all the more welcomed. It is also helpful if one does not wish to buy every CD of Ravi-ji's music currently available; as it was, I already owned 4 or 5 of the Angel/EMI remasters (most of which are not covered by this compilation, making it, and them, more worthwhile). However, if you are as musically adventurous as I am, you'll start here and scour the world music bins of every record shop you can find to track down other Ravi Shankar albums.

Other Ravi Shankar titles I would recommend include Three Ragas (1956), Improvisations (1962; includes variations on the music he recorded as the soundtrack to the Indian film "Pather Panchali"), A Morning Raga/An Evening Raga (1968), East Meets West (1970; his collaboration with Yehudi Menuhin), and Inside the Kremlin (1988; a brilliant collaboration with classical musicians from Russia).
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