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Monday, May 17, 2010

Ravi Shankar

Nine Decades Vol. 1, 1967-1968 (East Meets West Music)

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The first in an ambitious, projected series of albums culled from the personal archives of Ravi Shankar focuses on the two-year period when the sitar master found himself at the center of Western counterculture. One of the tracks is actually a sequence of cassette-recorded responses to Shankar’s music by a young American concert audience. The mini-interviews mingle fascination with an awareness that the classical music of India existed in modes beyond their experience. The other tracks were recorded in India, including a 48-minute raga taped along the banks of the sacred Ganges and another piece recorded with the chanting of Hindu temple priests. It’s not a CD for beginners, but rather for aficionados interested in the context of Shankar’s music and its reception in the West during the 1960s.