Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Dec. 21, 2007
Ravi ShankarThe Concert for World Peace: Live at Royal Albert Hall (A&E)
Filmed November 1993 at London's Royal Albert Hall and originally released in 1995 on audio format, Ravi Shankar's Concert for World Peace captures the commanding presence of the then-73-year-old sitar virtuoso as he guides the audience through four ragas backed by tabla player Zakir Hussain and two tamboura players providing droning atmospherics. Calm, meditative, and inherently spiritual, Shankar's performance parallels witnessing the Dalai Lama at the Frank Erwin Center, both mediums to the message. Call-and-response interplay between Shankar and his sarodist disciple Partho Sarathy toward the end of the 20-minute opener, "Raga Jait: Alap-Jor-Jhala," proves the highlight, the two improvising within the strict confines of traditional Indian music. The accompanying documentary is necessary viewing, providing informative interviews with Shankar and daughter Annapurna Devi Shankar, while composer Philip Glass offers insight from a Western perspective.