Music as a Cultural Bridge- Ravi Shankar Speaks

Music  is so often the cultural bridge that links our differences into one long beautiful thread. One of my favorite musicians in the world is Ravi Shankar. The other favorite musicians that I still have a mysterious passion for, are the Beatles. Recently, I discovered a new or perhaps not so new, online publication with an excellent interview with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison. The publication is called, “Urban Mozaik” magazine, and I think you should take note of an excerpt from this interview:

“Vishwer Shilpie” (artist of the world) – these Bengali words are perhaps best epitomized by the legendary Bengali-Indian musician and composer, Ravi Shankar. Indeed, this music great has been revered as “the Godfather of World Music” by the Beatles’ George Harrison and praised by the media as being “one of the most important musicians of this century”. Such titles are well-deserved; in addition to popularizing Indian classical music in the West, Pundit Shankar has pioneered the realm of cross-cultural music in which he has harmonized the sitar with Western orchestras, merged Indian classical music with Bolshoi dancing, and written as well as performed Indo-Japanese works. Careful to avoid the term “fusion music”, Ravi Shankar has aimed to preserve the integrity and character of Indian classical music in his cross-cultural experiments.

From the early age of ten, Shankar has been involved in the introduction of Indian dance and music to the West. As part of a Paris-based Indian dance troupe formed by his eldest brother, Uday Shankar- an accomplished dancer in his own right – the young Shankar toured with the company across Europe both as a musician and dancer. It was in this troupe that he met Ustad Allauddin who, for seven years, taught Shankar the sitar in the traditional Indian guru-shishya method involving a very disciplined and guru-controlled study in an isolated environment. After gaining fame as a performer in India, Ravi Shankar advanced Indian classical music in the West working with noted artists, such as Yehudi Menuhin, Andre Previn, and George Harrison.


It matters not where you are from, as Shankar’s music is so magnificent in igniting all of your senses, that you will not know what happened! Shankar’s music becomes the cultural bridge that we all seek, and yet, perhaps do not have the awareness to find. His music transports us to the experience of transcending differences that we might have in our minds, to the exquisite boundlessness and  transcendence of our hearts. Whether you are a seeker, or not, please read more about Ravi Shankar, and George Harrison, and listen to his music. 

Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar- Photo by : Alexandra Ignatenko

You’ll be glad you did.


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