Artist: Ravi Shankar

Ravi ShankarTo quote a famous line from “A Day In The Life” by The Beatles: “I read the news today oh boy…” The first thing that caught my attention today on this auspicious day of 12/12/12 was that the world had lost an iconic musician, one of the greatest of our time – Ravi Shankar. I’ll never forget hearing his music for the first time when I was in college in those heady days of the late 1960’s. It was unlike anything I had ever heard; exotic, alien, the sound of a far away place and time. Yet as unfamiliar as it was on one level, on another it felt like the sound of my soul. Meditation was just becoming popular at the time and I felt compelled to listen to that record over and over with my eyes closed, as the scent of incense filled the room, feeling like it was a key to unlock something deep within my being.

At the time, I never dreamed that I would one day have the rare opportunity to speak with Ravi Shankar. Yet, in what is perhaps the pinnacle of my 30 years as a music journalist, I was blessed with the chance to interview him for an article in the nationally published Body Mind Spirit Magazine in 1997. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and in honor of his passing, and his incredible life, I’d like to reprint a brief excerpt from that article.


Ravi Shankar



Body Mind Spirit Magazine – September, 1997

After an exclusive interview with Ravi Shankar, Michael Diamond wrote this article on his life, his music, and his special relationship with George Harrison:


Ravi and George HarrisonSilence… as the dark embrace of night yields to the pre-dawn blush of the morning sun. Silence… except for the gentle lapping of the water against the hull of the houseboat. Piercing the veils of sleep, a sound, deeply mystical and achingly beautiful, weaves it’s way into the receding dreams of the students who are beginning to awaken to continue their studies with the great master. The sound of Ravi Shankar tuning his instrument reminded the young disciples how fortunate they were to be in the presence of such a gifted soul. The year was 1966 and a young George Harrison, on sabbatical from the Beatles reminisces: “we lived on a houseboat in the lake, just Ravi’s advanced students, himself, and me. They’d wake us up before the sun and give us tea and biscuits, and you’d see boats go by pulling these floating gardens, and next door, I’d hear Ravi doing morning practice with the sitar. It was a very privileged position to be in, just to hear him.”



ravi shankarNow over thirty years later, Harrison, no doubt, shares some of the same feelings. Although he is still a student of the master, his relationship has evolved into that of a colleague and close personal friend. Ravi Shankar’s new album “Chants Of India:” – which Harrison played on and produced has just been released. A remarkable achievement for a man of 77 who has suffered two heart attacks. But then again, remarkable achievements have been the keynote for Shankar’s momentous career. Having received such accolades as being called “the single most recognizable world music artist”, “an icon of world music”, “a model musical ambassador”, and “the Godfather of world music”… Shankar manages to maintain a sense of perspective and humility: “I always feel I can do more. I am never satisfied. I think whatever I do is not enough. Mastery is one word I never use”.



Postscript: Blessings and gratitude for all you have given to the world, and for awakening so many to the power of music as a vehicle for the expression of Spirit.