The Dawn of Indian Music in the West

Front Cover
A&C Black, Apr 24, 2006 - Music - 456 pages

A little more than 50 years ago, in 1955, Ali AkbarKhan issued an LP called Music of India: Morning and Evening Ragas, with spoken introduction by violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Until then, Indian music was terra incognita in the West. When the same album was reissued as a CD in 1995, under the title Then and Now,it was nominated for a Grammy.
In the last 50 years, there has been the explosive influence of Indian music and culture in the West. Words such as karma, yoga, raga, nirvana, all once unknown here, have entered the language. Most famously, the wonders of the Indian musical world were spread by George Harrison and the Beatles. The music also had a profound effect on Mickey Hart and the Grateful Dead, John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra), the Byrds, John Coltrane, and many others. The annus mirabilis 1967 saw the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi spreading the wonders of transcendental meditation, Swami Prabhupada founding the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in New York City, and the growing influence of Ravi Shankar. Four years later, George Harrison organized the groundbreaking Concert for Bangladesh, the first charity event of rock. Shankar had already wowed audiences at the Monterey Pop Festival, and he achieved stardom at the Madison Square Garden event. (Where Westerners, new to the sounds they heard, applauded after the musicians had finished tuning their instruments!)
Peter Lavezzoli, a Buddhist and a musician, has a rare ability to articulate the personal feeling of music, and at the same time narrate a history. Lavezzoli has interviewed more than a score of musicians, such as Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, David Crosby, Philip Glass, Zakir Hussain, Mickey Hart, Zubin Mehta, and John McLaughlin.

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User Review  - Yiggy - LibraryThing

This book is tremendous in the level of detail it takes and the degree to which it explores every connection that Western Music has made with Indian Classical Music in the 20th century. And given that ... Read full review

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This book is factually incorrect. It mentions Ustad Masit Khan as “the original founder of the Farrukabad gharana”, which is completely incorrect. The original founder of this gharana was, famously, Ustad Haji Vilayat Khan. This is a fact known to almost anyone who belongs to the Farrukabad gharana - the fact that the author missed such an obvious fact makes me wonder what other liberties with facts have been taken in this book?
Apart from this, the book is, disappointingly, yet another replay of the glory and contributions of the same tired old names we have been hearing for the last fifty years: Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain ... etc. These are great musicians to be sure, but this is just the surface. There is a myriad of other Indian musicians who have contributed to Indian music in the West, who do not get any mention. For me the book feels like a cliched view of Indian music. It feels as if the author wanted to write a book and ensure strong sales - hence has simply stuck to these famous names, hasn’t bothered going beyond scratching the surface.


The Dawn of Indian Music in the West
The Way of Raga
Yehudi Menuhin Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan
Ali Akbar Khan
Mickey Hart
Alla Rakha and Zakir Hussain
Philip Glass
David Crosby and Roger McGuinn
The PostColtrane IndoJazz Movement
John McLaughlin
Bill Laswell
Cheb i Sabbah
Vilayat and Shujaat Khan
The Ali Akbar College of Music
Shubhendra Rao and Saskia Raode Haas
Anoushka Shankar

George Harrison
Jim Keltner
Tanmoy Bose
Zubin Mehta
Terry Riley
John Coltrane and the Birth of IndoJazz
Ravi Shankar
An Afterword
Select Bibliography
Index of Names

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About the author (2006)

Peter Lavezzoli is the author of The King of All, Sir Duke: Ellington and the Artistic Revolution, which is also published by Continuum. As a percussionist and vocalist, Lavezzoli explores the connection between musical and spiritual expression. He lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL

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