‘At Woodstock, who was listening to music? They were all stoned’


Pandit Ravi Shankar, in the second part of an interview with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24x7's Walk the Talk, speaks on livening up classical music, on Woodstock and the Beatles, and on his relationship with daughters Norah and Anoushka

Shekhar Gupta: You owe a lot to him (Ustad Allauddin Khan).

Pt Ravi Shankar: Absolutely. I would say everything because the depth of music...when we say music, there are different layers. But the music that I am talking about which includes been, surbahar, sitar, rabab, sarod and all that. And the whole training of Swami Haridas, Mian Tansen and the Beenkar gharana and Rababi gharana. People really have lost the complete sense of what it was all about. And that thing, Baba had. And I also met his guru — Uzar Khan Sahib's grandson Dabir Khan Sahib and others who still had that old taleem. And that was so connected to the spiritual side of the whole thing, not just music to please. Now music means speed. The virtuosity is the main attraction.

Shekhar Gupta: Like 20-20 cricket. Over in two hours.

Pt Ravi Shankar: It is very difficult to explain today the type of music I am talking about. And I have tried to maintain that. Our audiences were very small.The very word classical, what does it mean? It belonged to a class. The same thing happened with Beethoven and Mozart in the old days. But with us, it was a really very closed thing.

Shekhar Gupta: But you are, after all, our own Beethoven, Mozart.

Pt Ravi Shankar: No, no (laughs). And then after Independence, after the rajas, maharajas, those artistes were in trouble, because they weren't used to singing for such large audiences. Even on radio, they got chances.

Shekhar Gupta: And there was no patronage.

... contd.

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