A definitive biography of Ravi Shankar, one of the most influential musicians and composers of the 20th century and the best-known practitioner of Hindustani classical music, told with the cooperation of his estate, family, and friends
Ravi Shankar was not just a composer and player of classical Indian Hindustani music-he was arguably India’s most important cultural figure of the past century. In Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar, writer Oliver Craske introduces readers to this legendary figure, carefully combiningboth the personal and professional story of a musician who influenced-and continues to influence-countless artists. Shankar lived through many of the most important international events of the 20th century. He is most commonly known today as the musician who introduced George Harrison and the Beatles to Indian music in the 1960s, dramatically shaping the trajectory of their future albums. Still, there are countless more extraordinary events from his life that make his story utterly fascinating. As a child, Shankar toured European stages as part of his family’s dance troupe, including Weimar Germany as Hitler was rising to power, and, in the early 1950s he took part in a cultural delegation to the Soviet Union, Poland and Czechoslovakia. A few years later, he was brought to the USA for a CIA-funded music conference project, courting India as part of the new Cultural Cold War, and by the early 1960s, the Edinburgh festival saw the first flowerings of the counterculture’s embrace of his music. He cultivated genuine friendships with Philip Glass, Yehudi Menuhin, George Harrison, John Coltrane, and Benjamin Britten, among many others. From the moment of his birth in Benares, India to his death in a San Diego hospital in 2012, Shankar lived a life that was as colorful, creative, and endlessly collaborative-and the extent to which his influence has rippled into modern music is incalculable. Weaving together never-before-seen material from Shankar’s archives along with interviews given and conducted by his widow and daughter, Indian Sun gives readers unprecedented access to a man who defined the modern music landscape as we know it today.