Search - Ravi Shankar :: Essential

Ravi Shankar
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #2


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CD Details

All Artists: Ravi Shankar
Title: Essential
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Original Release Date: 1/1/2005
Re-Release Date: 10/4/2005
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop
Styles: Middle East, Reggae, India & Pakistan, India
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 828767161020, 0828767161020, 828767450223

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CD Reviews

Solid Introduction to India's Master Musician
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 03/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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. No fewer than three tracks feature George Harrison on autoharp: "Village Dance," "Memory of Uday" (Harrison also plays synthesizer on these two tracks), and "Friar Park." In addition, Harrison produced "Vandanaa Trayee."

This is a solid introduction to the music of India's best known musical ambassador. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"
Excellent introduction to the legendary musician
Triniman | Winnipeg, MB | 02/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."

At the beginning of disc 1, Ravi Shankar narrates a 5 minute introduction to Indian classical music and at the end suggests best how western listeners can enjoy it.

What I like about the music on disc 2 is, I will shamelessly admit, the ease of remembering the music and being able to identify it during subsequent listens. Some of the tracks have taken on a soundtrack feel to them, which will not please those who prefer traditional ragas.

By and large, you don't listen to Indian classical music hoping to get the same experience as you would from most other forms of music, including European classical music. You let yourself get lost in the experience, the journey, and forget about repetition and familiarity. You can listen to a 15 minute raga and hear something new each time. The music is too rich to be absorbed in one listening and there's no way you can pick up your instrument of choice and repeat the entire raga that you have just listened to. For those with a fertile mind, the melodies are truly heaven sent.

I'm always skeptical when record companies package compilations since they are rarely completely satisfying with their obvious omissions and inclusions of new but usually weak material. Columbia has tackled Ravi Shankar with a liberal representation of his works, but it won't necessarily please everyone. For those with broad tastes who are not Shankar experts, it's a great collection to have. Included in the liner notes is a brief but enjoyable article by Hank Bordowitz."
This is Perfect if You Want Just One Ravi Shankar CD
SurinderinAthens | Athens GA USA | 03/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."