'Bridges: The Best of Ravi Shankar' To Be Released May 15th on Private Music, Celebrating the Sitar Master's Groundbreaking Cross-Cultural Experiments
NEW YORK, May 14 -- Private Music honors sitar legend and composer Pandit Ravi Shankar with the May 15th release of "Bridges: The Best of Ravi Shankar." Originally recorded by noted producer Peter Baumann, the selections on "Bridges ... " document three of the most important and groundbreaking recording projects of Shankar's career, including 1987's pioneering Indian classical/electronic fusion record Tana Mana with former Beatle and Indian music aficionado George Harrison (tracks 2, 3, 6, 8 & 9). "Inside the Kremlin," documents a series of live 1988 performances in Moscow that brought together leading Indian and Russian musicians (tracks 1, 5, 11); and 1990's "Passages," a project that partnered Shankar with celebrated American composer Philip Glass (tracks 4, 7, & 10). Collectively, these recordings form an integral part of the legendary artist's discography. Using melody and rhythm as his raw materials for these sessions, Ravi Shankar builds musical bridges that draw upon a vast world of styles and influences, and express some of the strongest -- and most universal -- of human emotions: joy, longing, devotion, despair, hope, and love.
Born April 7, 1920, in the holy city of Benares, Ravi Shankar grew up surrounded by music and the arts: he made his professional debut at age 13 dancing and playing various instruments in his brother Uday's famed Company of Hindu Dancers and Musicians. He later became the student of Ustad Allaudin Khan, one of the foremost Indian classical musicians of the twentieth century and father of Shankar's frequent collaborator, sarodist Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. He performed his first public recital in 1939 at a music conference in Allahabad, India, and went on to become a prominent in-house performer for New Delhi's All-India Radio. Shankar's fame spread to Europe and the United States, with appearances at the Monterey Pop Festival, the Concert for Bangla Desh, and the Woodstock Festival. His career has embraced both Hindustani (North Indian) classical music tradition and more experimental forays with artists from other disciplines, including noted classical musicians Andre Previn, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Philip Glass, Jean-Pierre Rampal and Zubin Mehta; and jazz artists Buddy Rich and Paul Horn. His film score credits include "Gandhi" and Satyajit Ray's "Apu" trilogy. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Indian government's prestigious "Padma Vibhushan" title, two Grammys(R), and fourteen honorary doctorates. As India's best-known musical ambassador, Shankar has been cited by countless musicians as the artist who opened their ears to music from beyond Europe and America, including The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Mickey Hart, and Ry Cooder as well as George Harrison and The Beatles.
At age eighty-one, the vivacious Shankar continues to perform around the world for sold-out audiences, now often appearing with his daughter and sitar protegee Anoushka Shankar. In 1999, he published his second autobiography, "Raga Mala." Recently, he founded the Ravi Shankar Institute, currently under construction in New Delhi, which will be dedicated to promoting the ancient traditions of Indian classical music and to preserving Shankar's personal archives.