Ravi Shankar, George Harrison bonded culturally

Dec 12 2012, 16:12 IST
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Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravi Shankar with Beatles' George Harrison. (IE Archive) Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravi Shankar with Beatles' George Harrison. (IE Archive)
SummaryRavi was the first person who did not try to impress me but in turn I was impressed by him: George Harrison

"Ravi was the first person who did not try to impress me but in turn I was impressed by him," Beatles legend George Harrison says about his first meeting with Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar in Martin Scorsese's documentary 'George Harrison: Living In the Material World'.

The meeting not only began a great friendship between two great musicians but was also a catalyst in introducing Harrison to Indian philosophy, which impacted every aspect of his life.

"His meeting with Ravi was not just between two individuals but of two cultures. It was a great cultural exchange," Olivia Harrison, wife of the late Beatle, said at the screening of the film here last year.

The documentary on Harrison also included rare footage of other musicians including Ravi Shankar.

"I think India influenced his music a lot. He was very fond of Indian classical music and instruments like sitar, sarangi, tabla and veena," Oilivia added.

Harrison met Ravi Shankar in 1966 in London, which resulted in the rock musician's visit to India to learn how to play sitar. The maestro not only taught Harrison about music but also had a strong influence on his spiritual life.

Their collaboration contributed immensely to the international popularity of Ravi Shankar and helped place Indian music on the world stage. He played a four hour set at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and later at the opening day of Woodstock festival in 1969 and the concert for Bangladesh in 1971.

Many of Harrison's songs have Indian musical influences and the sitar was used in three Beatles albums Ė 'Rubber Soul', 'Revolver' and 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'.

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