Pandit Ravi Shankar (1920-2012)
Dhun (I: Dadra; II: Fast Teental)
Monterey Pop Festival, June 1967 (from the D.A. Pennebaker film Monterey Pop)
I can’t say with great certainty when I first heard Ravi Shankar’s music, but I knew about him and I remembered that he was associated with George Harrison and did several projects with him.
When you’re young, sometimes it’s easy to write things off and ignore them not realizing that something might be truly beautiful about it, but then I saw Monterey Pop, the D.A. Pennebaker film about the ’67 festival, and with all of the highlights of that event complied in the film, Ravi’s “Dhun (Dadra and Fast Teental)” appears to be the festival’s true climax. This sweeping 20-minute piece was all at once uplifting, hypnotic, fun, beautiful and exciting.
It’s wonderful that there is footage of the Dhun in the movie (where you can see all of the American flower children of the “Summer of Love” reacting to this powerhouse), but I’m even more thankful that more things from Ravi’s set at Monterey have been available as an album for 45 years, and it has become the thing I listen to when I need true spirituality and sanity away from things in my life that are difficult, like power outages and driving in bad weather.
R.I.P. Ravi Shankar