Ravi Shankar and the Roots of Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Sahana Mohan

In the 1960s, the West witnessed an explosion of interest in Indian music and it marked the beginning of a new cross-cultural era in music. Bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were heavily influenced by Indian music, and the sounds of Indian instruments, especially the sitar, became increasingly heard in Western rock and pop music.

At the heart of this phenomenon was sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar, who enamoured Western audiences with his sophisticated sound and dexterity. Celebrating his life and legacy, Sahana Mohan co-curated a centennial exhibition in 2020, titled Ravi Shankar @100: India’s Global Musician which chronicled his life and contribution and was hosted at the Indian Music Experience, Bengaluru.

In this illustrated talk Mohan discusses the origins of cross-cultural collaboration through the incredible life of Ravi Shankar and his continuing relevance to music even today.

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