Ravi Shankar: The Living Room Sessions Part 2
Ravi Shankar was just a little more than a year from death when he recorded a burst of intimate ragas at his home in Encinitas, Calif., in October 2011. The first volume, released the following April, won a Grammy for Best World Music Album earlier this year. This is the rest: three ragas, ranging from 11 minutes to just more than 22 minutes. They are, by necessity and design, low-key affairs. Shankar was, after all, 91 years old at the time, and to ask a musician of that age to match the intensity and dexterity displayed at a younger age would be foolish. But the recording, made with longtime tabla accompanist Tanmoy Bose and two tanpura players, is also gentler because the surroundings—a living room—called for it. That’s not to imply that Shankar had lost his gift: The warmth and soul coming from his mind and fingers never flagged, even as his health faded.