“Namaskar, friends!” It is Monday 1st September 2008 and Ravi Shankar is on stage at the Salle Pleyel. Everyone knows this is his last concert in Europe.
Tomorrow, he will be giving a master-class at the same venue, which will be his last encounter with the French public. It’s a powerful statement: the most famous Indian musician in history has chosen to take his leave by consequently giving a concert and a conference.
The whole of Ravi Shankar is embodied in this dual process: performance and transference, demonstration and explanation. The virtuoso whose inspired intuition flabbergasts even the greatest connoisseurs of Hindustani music and the pedagogue who tirelessly explains to westerners what is mean by the world raga, the companion in musical adventures of Yehudi Menuhin, the initiator of the Beatles…
His career is not only exceptional for its longevity, but also for the accomplishment of a huge body of work, as instrumentalist, composer, populariser, academic, experimenter, pedagogue.
For millions of human beings, singly and solely Ravi Shankar embodies the vast domain of classical Indian music. If only one name sticks in your mind it will be his – and the same goes in India itself.
DVD - AC 141 - 2010