I just realized I had neglected to note the passing of the great Ravi Shankar, who died last week at the ripe old age of 92.
He was for me, of course, as for everyone else who was young in those days, the one who opened the door to the treasure-house of Indian music. I first heard his music by way of his association with, and influence upon, the Beatles, but once I had acquired the taste I wanted more.
In 1968 I bought a mind-boggling album (twelve-year-old aspiring musicians have easily bogglable minds, and in those heady days there was much to be boggled by) called West Meets East, a collaboration between Mr. Shankar and the violinist Yehudi Menuhin. It was aptly named, because it was really this record that brought me fully into contact with the richness of Indian music — which up till then had just been some droning guitar-like sounds on a few Beatle records (though the opening cut of side two of Sergeant Pepper’s had given me my first real inkling that there was more to it than that).
Here you go, then: Swara Kakali, from West Meets East.
Whew! I still get goosebumps when those tabla start to play.