The Ravi Shankar Collection
Ragas Jog, Ahir Bhairav and Simhendra Madhyaman (Disc 1)
Ragas Bairgi, Nata bhairavi and Marwa (Disc 2).
Ravi Shankar - Sitar, Chatur
Lal - tabla, and Prodjot Sen - tamboura,(Disc 1)
Alla Rakla - tabla, and Shyam Bul-Nagar - tamboura (Disc 2).
Disc 1 recorded in mono in London in 1956, and Disc 2 in New York in 1968.
EMI CDM567310-2 and
CDM5 67311-2 [54.51] [46.04]
This is a little different than the usual discs which I have reviewed so
far, and these two discs have given me a tremendous amount of sheer pleasure.
EMI have seen fit to release Shankar's first ever LP and another early black
disc recording. The first disc is in mono because the original stereo tapes
have been damaged. This is in no way a problem as the recording has such
an immediacy that you do not notice too much difference between the two discs.
The sound has an "in your face" quality about it and there is more than enough
going on to hide the mono provenance of one of the discs. It is often much
more exciting to listen to than more 'accurate' recent digital offerings.
These were made at the time when George Harrison and many other would-be
gurus and/or students of gurus were causing concerts of Indian Music concerts
to be mobbed and followed with a frenzy similar to that of current pop stars.
Ravi Shankar obviously found himself in the right place at the right time.
Because of this, he was able to establish a style of playing all his own
and has been copied by many many artists since.
The main difference between these two discs and more modern offerings is
that the modern issues often allow the artists to improvise at much greater
length and so the listener has a much better opportunity to appreciate the
player's skill at improvisation of the ragas.
Ravi Shankar represents the Hindustani style of playing and is noted for
his ability to play in a great variety of different rhythms. The normal 16
beats (tintal) rhythm is no problem to him, playing as he does without any
problems 13, 15 or 17 beats. Part of this is no doubt due to the fact that
Shankar's own guru did not play, and so Ravi Shankar had to develop his own
style and was not lead into following his own teacher, as many contemporary
You will find much pleasure to be had from listening to these early recordings
played by an absolute master.