Ravi Shankar Quotes

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Ravi Shankar
KBE

Ravi Shankar in 1988
Background information
Birth name Rabindra Shankar Chowdhury
রবীন্দ্র শঙ্কর চৌধুরী
Born (1920-04-07)7 April 1920
Varanasi, India
Died 11 December 2012(2012-12-11) (aged 92)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Genres Hindustani classical
Occupation(s)

Musician
composer

Instruments

Sitar
vocals

Years active 1939–2012
Labels East Meets West Music [1]
Associated acts

Uday Shankar
Allauddin Khan
Ali Akbar Khan
Lakshmi Shankar
Yehudi Menuhin
Chatur Lal
Alla Rakha
George Harrison
Anoushka Shankar
Norah Jones
John Coltrane

Website ravishankar.org

One single raga can be performed for two hours, three hours.
There are thousands of ragas, and they are all connected with different times of the day, like sunrise or night or sunset. It is all based on 72 of what we call 'mela' or scales. And we have principally nine moods, ranging from peacefulness to praying, or the feeling of emptiness you get by sitting by the ocean.
Ravi Shankar
I have great difficulty sitting in the middle of the night and writing. Everything I do comes spontaneous. Sometimes it takes a long time; sometimes it comes just like that.
Ravi Shankar
The music that I have learned and want to give is like worshipping God. It's absolutely like a prayer.
Ravi Shankar
I think musicians and actors have all these problems, because of the popularity and the opportunity.
Ravi Shankar
Many people, especially young people, have started listening to sitar since George Harrison, one of the Beatles, became my disciple.
Ravi Shankar
In the olden days, I believe Mozart also improvised on piano, but somehow in the last 200 years, the whole training of Western classical music – they don't read between the lines, they just read the lines.
Ravi Shankar
I will keep playing as long as my body lets me, and as long as I'm wanted by my listeners. Because music is the only thing that keeps me going.
Ravi Shankar
I have always had an instinct for doing new things. Call it good or bad, I love to experiment.
Ravi Shankar
I try to give to my music the spiritual quality, very deep in the soul, which does something even if you are not realizing it or analyzing it – that's the duty of the music.
Ravi Shankar
I love the work of Matisse and Picasso, but I don't have enough millions to own one. And I don't really believe in owning art, anyway.
Ravi Shankar
In the U.K., classical music is composed by individuals and written down. Indian music is based on certain sequences called ragas. When I perform live, 95% of the music is improvised: it never sounds the same twice.
Ravi Shankar
I believe in one thing: that anyone who is able to do something good for someone, I mean, should be praised.
Ravi Shankar
In India, I have been called a 'destroyer.' But that is only because they mixed my identity as a performer and as a composer. As a composer I have tried everything, even electronic music and avant-garde. But as a performer I am, believe me, getting more classical and more orthodox, jealously protecting the heritage that I have learned.
Ravi Shankar
I don't appreciate avant-garde, electronic music. It makes me feel quite ill.
Ravi Shankar
Pop changes week to week, month to month. But great music is like literature.
Ravi Shankar
My music has a very spiritual background, a sanctity that is almost like worship.
Ravi Shankar
In our culture we have such respect for musical instruments, they are like part of God.
Ravi Shankar
'Ravi' means 'sun.' It's a Sanskrit original word. And 'Shankar' is another name of Shiva, one of the holy trinity god that we worship.
Ravi Shankar
Everybody has a right to like or dislike anything or anyone. From a flower to a flavor to a book or a composition but it is very sad that in our country we actually fight over such things in an unseemly manner.
Ravi Shankar
I think musicians and actors have all these problems, because of the popularity and the opportunity.
Ravi Shankar
My brother had a house in Paris. To it came many Western classical musicians. These musicians all made the same point: 'Indian music,' they said, 'is beautiful when we hear it with the dancers. On its own, it is repetitious and monotonous.'
Ravi Shankar
My secret ambition was always to provide music for animation films: something with an Indian theme, either a fairy tale or mythological tale or on the Krishna theme. I still have a very deep desire, but these sorts of chances don't always come.
Ravi Shankar
I started out as a dancer, but gradually became more interested in music.
To me, you know, from my childhood I always had a fascination for United States.
Ravi Shankar
When people say that George Harrison made me famous, that is true in a way.
Ravi Shankar
Ah, 'Pather Panchali' was the most inspiring film that I wrote music for, and it was so spontaneously done. I saw the film, composed on the spot, along with myself and only four other musicians, and everything was done within 4-1/2 hours, I think an all-time record anywhere.
Ravi Shankar
I do think that my Indian classical audiences thought I was sacrificing them through working with George; I became known as the 'fifth Beatle.' In India, they thought I was mad.
Ravi Shankar
I have my own spiritual guru, and I'm so happy, and I feel so satisfied that I might appreciate many other famous gurus, but, you know, I am not attracted that way because I have found the person.
Ravi Shankar
I was admired by all these hippies, and it was wonderful playing at Monterey and Woodstock, performing for half a million people.
Ravi Shankar
I enjoy seeing other Indian musicians – old and young – coming to Europe and America and having some success. I'm happy to have contributed to that.
Ravi Shankar
I was invited for the first Woodstock. Actually, I started the programme.
I appreciate very much Vilayat Khan, the sitar player, and Bismillah Khan, the shehnai player; and among the tabla players, of course, Alla Rakha, Kishan Maharaja, and all these people.
Ravi Shankar