Cover image for Raga mala : the autobiography of Ravi Shankar
Raga mala : the autobiography of Ravi Shankar
Shankar, Ravi, 1920-2012.
Personal Author:
First Welcome Rain edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Welcome Rain Pub., 1999.
Physical Description:
336 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Guildford : Genesis, 1997.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML419.S49 R35 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML419.S49 R35 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Raga Mala is an unprecedented look at Ravi Shankar, master of the sitar and one of the most enduring and inspirational performers of the twentieth century. During a career which spans seven decades, he has performed for countless millions of adoring fans and earned the respect and admiration of his fellow musicians.

Ravi presents here in a charming and candid manner the story of his fascinating life, from his youth spent touring the world with his brother Uday's dance troupe, through the years of dedicated study of the sitar under the legendary Allauddin Khan, to his involvement with the Beatles, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix in the crazy days of the 1960s, and the achievement of a unique international fame and influence, all the while undergoing his own personal transformation in a turbulent emotional life with an evolving spiritual awareness.

Edited and introduced by the Beatles' George Harrison -- Ravi's student, friend and collaborator of over 30 years -- and featuring contributions byrenowned musicians such as Yehudi Menuhin, Zubin Mehta, and Philip Glass, Raga Mala is the remarkable tale of a truly fascinating life.

Author Notes

Ravi Shankar is the world's foremost sitar player who spearheaded the international spread of Indian culture. His masterful play inspired the sitar boom in the 1960s, influencing musicians such as George Harrison and the Beatles, Yehudi Menuhin, and Philip Glass. In the public eye for almost seventy years, he still maintains a huge following around the world through regular performances and recordings

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Striving to tell all one could ever want to know about him, India's most famous musician heaps detail upon technical note. The man who turned the world's attention to the sitar was a highly respected figure before George Harrison of the Beatles began to champion him in the late 1960s. Of course, that endorsement and subsequent efforts to incorporate the sitar into Western pop music made Shankar an international pop star. That his music was the equivalent of Western classical rather than pop music didn't matter. The Beatles liked it, so thousands of wide-eyed, often chemically enhanced young people began to listen to the intricate ragas the great man played. Shankar's autobiography is outfitted with a chronology; a very helpful glossary; a nice index; scads of beautiful, gold-tinted photographs; and an idiosyncratically lovely typeface. Perhaps it will be heavy sledding for casual fans, but for readers seeking to know the inside story of Shankar, Indian music, and the Beatles, it is just the ticket. --Mike Tribby

Publisher's Weekly Review

Shankar, a sitar player known as the godfather of world music for his role in opening Western ears to sounds from the East, gives an honest, in-depth look at his life and work in this prodigious autobiography. Like a fine musical composition, Shankar beautifully narrates his life's milestones--his early years in India, his travels as a performer in Paris during the 1930s, his breakthrough in the West and rise to stardom during the '60s, his turbulent personal life in the '70s and '80s--while periodically returning to his basic theme: his love of music and the sitar. Throughout, Shankar builds on his 1968 book, My Music, My Life, which provided a general introduction to Indian music. He describes his performances in U.S. music festivals (Woodstock, he says, was " a terrifying experience" where "the music was incidental"); he also weaves in tales of people he affected (Gene Kelly, Richard Burton, Peter Sellers, Marlon Brando and, of course, editor Harrison), and those who influenced him--most importantly Ustad Allauddin Khan, the classical musician and pioneer of modern Hindustani instrumental music. Along with the enormous number of photographs that accompany this dense and lengthy work, Shankar presents letters and musical transcriptions to produce a history of Indian music during the 20th century. Although Shankar has been somewhat taken for granted in recent years due to his long-standing popularity, this book convincingly reasserts his historical importance. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Born in India, sitar master Shankar was raised in his brother Uday's dance company, which toured internationally. His life, populated by a rich cast of family and friends, thus reveals a fascinating tension between Western and Eastern cultures. In this book, the man who was India's premier musical ambassador for over 40 years displays both sincere humility and the sort of self-confidence that borders on boastfulness. But, for the most part, his manner is so gentle that the reader cannot help but be charmed. Edited by Harrison--the ex-Beatle who propelled Shankar to a kind of pop star-like fame when he became Shankar's student in 1966--his narrative tends to meander; an "additional narrative" by Oliver Craske provides important background information and context for Shankar's many reminiscences. The emphasis throughout is on Shankar the man; those interested in his ideas about India's musical traditions should seek out his earlier book, My Music, My Life (1968). Recommended for popular and world music collections.--Lloyd Jansen, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

George HarrisonLord Menuhin
Forewordp. 6
Preface (Tuning Up)p. 8
1 Gangeshwarip. 11
2 Bairagip. 35
3 Rangeshwarip. 83
4 Manamanjarip. 105
5 Suranjanip. 141
6 Kameshwarip. 189
7 Tilak Shyamp. 231
8 Jogeshwarip. 259
9 Mohan Kaunsp. 285
10 Parameshwarip. 305
Postscript: Dhun-Rasiyap. 314
Afterwordp. 316
Glossaryp. 318
Chronologyp. 323
Credits and Publishers' Notep. 326
Indexp. 327