One of the great music documentaries of the 1970s is now available on a remastered DVD. Raga: A Film Journey into the Soul of India is dedicated to the the great Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar. The celebrated musician is one of the key figures in the introduction of Indian classical music in the West. He was George Harrison’s teacher and was a friend of British violinist Yehudi Menuhin.
One of the opening scenes shows Shankar mesmerizing a large audience of young adults, including many hippies, with Indian classical music. “George Harrison became my student in the mid sixties, which certainly opened up the biggest door in all the continents for me,” says Ravi Shankar. “George was one whom I loved very much as he was so deeply attracted to our music and the Vedic culture and traditions of India.”
The film documents the life of Shankar during the exciting hippy era, in the late 1960s and 1970s. The footage includes fascinating cinematography shot in India, as well as segments filmed in the United States. The music includes Indian classical and spiritual chants. “It has been so many years since I went on this journey with Howard Worth and Nancy Bacal, to India and around the United States, to document my very special relationship with my music, my origins and my life as an Indian musician working in the West,” adds Shankar. “Music is the soul of India and it has always been my life as well. Many might ask, why re-release Raga now? The answer is simple: it was a very special period of my life.”
Ravi Shankar narrates the documentary himself, providing insightful details about his past and his relationship with western culture. After many years, he travels back to India to revisit his guru, Bengali multi-instrumentalist and composer, Baba Ustad Allauddin Khan.
“It is with Raga, that I offer my old admirers a chance to reminisce and new audiences a glimpse and opportunity to discover once again the universe from which I have cultivated my music, my life, and my deep love of Indian classical music,” concludes Shankar.
Raga: A Film Journey into the Soul of India is an essential film about one of the most influential musicians in the world music scene.
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