Freshly Played #12: Ravi Shankar

I don’t know what it is about string instruments that mesmerize me so. The rousing strains of guitar music usually are enough to leave me in fits of ecstasy.

However, sometimes one needs to hear something more soothing. When I’m in this disposition, violins usually do the trick, but there is another instrument originating in the East which looks quite unwieldy, but produces the most orgasmic melodies imaginable – the Sitar.

When it comes to the Sitar, there is no better exponent of its power to tease the senses, than Ravi Shankar. I have chosen this video of a set he performed in 1971 at Madison Square Garden, during what is regarded as the precursor to Live Aid benefit concerts – The Concert for Bangladesh. The concert was organised by George Harrison of The Beatles, in conjunction with Shankar.

Shankar is accompanied by Ali Akbar Khan, a well-known master of Indian music, on another beautiful string instrument, the Sarod.