Editors Note: When I first posted this concert in 2015 I was unaware of its original length. As was pointed out to me by several readers, there was an entire second part missing. Sure enough – after going through the vault I unearthed a tape which was mis-labeled and which proved to be the second half of this concert, and an additional two hours of music. All told, this concert runs over 4 hours, and even at that, the tape runs out at hour 4. But this is the most complete record of this concert so far. – G.S.
Another rare and long-thought lost concert this week. The Festival Of Indian Music at The Hollywood Bowl, given on August 4, 1967 featuring a troupe of Indian musicians led by Sitarist Ravi Shankar.
The sudden huge popularity in music from India was due in no small part to George Harrison and his incorporating it into a number of Beatles songs starting in 1966. Ravi Shankar, a noted Musician from a musical family and who was no “overnight sensation”, particularly in India, was catapulted to international fame via The Beatles influence. Sitar sales were on the rise and it seemed like everyone had a Tabla and music from India became the “must-listen-to” soundtrack of the 60s.
And so, in order to capitalize on this sudden celebrity, a tour of the U.S. by notable Indian musicians, led by Ravi Shankar began in 1967 with an appearance at The Hollywood Bowl. It was a widely publicized affair, with George Harrison playing an active role in getting the Media interested and appearing with Shankar at a Press Conference in Los Angeles just ahead of the concert.
And as promised, it was a star-studded affair. But it was Ravi Shankar’s night and a night for the troupe of Musicians to finally bask in the recognition they had only gotten as local figures back home.
The audience is polite, reverential and the whole concert has an air of mystic aroma (not to mention clouds of incense). Not at all like the raucous affairs most concerts had become in recent years.
Sadly, Ravi Shankar died in 2012 after a long and illustrious career. But in 1967 he was it and Ragas were all the rage.
This weekend, you get to hear it for yourself.