Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar01
Ravi Shankar playing the sitar at Woodstock
Performed on Day 1
Started at 10.00 pm, Friday, 15th
Played for 40 min.
Further Information
Festival Day Chronology
Prev. artist Tim Hardin at 9.00 pm
Next artist Melanie Safka at 11.00 pm

The Indian music genius Ravi Shankar was a special guest at the Woodstock festival. He made his first appearance to the western world at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967, followed by an invitation from Beatle George Harrison. In the wake of spiritualism and the search for new influences his music became very popular, but Shankar wasn't fond of the drug-consuming and partying crowd of young people[1].

Shankar started at about 10 pm on Friday evening and played for over 40 minutes throughout the rain.

Musicians Edit

  • Ravi Shankar - sitar
  • Maya Kulkarni - tambura
  • Ustad Alla Rakha - tabla

Setlist Edit

  1. Rāga Puriya-Dhanashri (Gat In Sawarital)
  2. Tabla Solo In Jhaptal
  3. Rāga Manj Kmahaj

Details Edit

Ravi Shankar's music isn't the usual blues, folk or psychedelic rock music that one expects from such a festival. This traditional Indian music, adapted by Ravi Shankar and Ustad Alla Rakha, needs carful listening and openness for different and unknown kinds of rhythms and melodies.

Puriya-Dhanashri is an evening rāga, called Puriya-Dhanashri. It has 11 beats in the form of 4+4+3. The second piece is a tabla solo (a pair of hand drums) in the rhythmic cycle of Jhaptal with 10 beats, divided 2+3+2+3. Ustad Alla Rakha impressively demonstrates his skills.

The last song is again an evening rāga but Ravi Shankar doesn't mention the rhythmic cycle. However, this is a 21 minute long piece that really needs attention. It starts slower than the previous ones, more comfortable but soon developes into a furious interplay between Shankar and Rakha with amazing improvisations.

Availability Edit

As it turned out, the live album At the Woodstock Festival was more or less a fake[2].

Audio Edit

Video Edit

Images Edit

References Edit

  1. German Wikipedia, article Ravi Shankar
  2. Yahoo! Woodstock Project mailing list Quote from Stereophile magazine