INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: George Harrison as a sitarist....

 

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BeatTheMeatles
George Harrison as a sitarist.... Oct 18, 2003 01:23 p.m.


What do you think about Beatles guitarist George Harrison's use of the sitar?
AJ
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Oct 18, 2003 01:35 p.m.


I think it was a really good thing, as it introduced the instrument to many people who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to hear sitar...........I like George and listen to him alot at times, in all the stages of his musical life, ie Hamburg up til last year.........
He did a great service in promoting ICM and helping to introduce Ravi Shankar to the rest of the world.........!
But I think it's a good thing he didn't give up his day job................... : )

You know what he REALLY loved to play???
Ukelele : ) !

Long live the Dark Horse!

AJ

Jaym
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Oct 20, 2003 11:11 a.m.


What is great about George Harrison, is that he really respected India, it's culture and music. So much so, that he traveled there and spent months studying with Ravi. To me, there was nothing more pitiful then the hippie movement and their phony 'connection' with Indian culture and music. That was the negative side of Harrison's involvement. Ravi, in his book RagaMala, seemed to feel pity for these people because they were so clueless and so obsessed with getting high.
AJ
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Oct 20, 2003 09:52 p.m.


There's people like that in every culture, Jaym.....

AJ

Jaym
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Oct 21, 2003 11:23 a.m.


True AJ but I am just commenting on that particular time and that 'movement'.
Amitava
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Oct 21, 2003 12:09 p.m.



Jaym (Oct 20, 2003 11:11 a.m.):
What is great about George Harrison, is that he really respected India, it's culture and music. So much so, that he traveled there and spent months studying with Ravi. To me, there was nothing more pitiful then the hippie movement and their phony 'connection' with Indian culture and music. That was the negative side of Harrison's involvement. Ravi, in his book RagaMala, seemed to feel pity for these people because they were so clueless and so obsessed with getting high.


I think non-high/sober people (non-Indian and Indian) are equally cluless of Indian music As are Indian "fusion" musicians of Jazz/Blues/Classical. I think it is a phenomemnon common to all cultures. This is something that RS falied to grasp. In fact if I remember, his attitude opened up a little between the two biographies.

I agree that GH's association promoted RS a great deal, and Indians forget that connection. Well, I cannot for sure say that GH was a sitariya though (connection to another thread)...or a sitar poser..or practitioner:) I think his love for RS and the music kept their relationship going.

I find nothing wrong with being clueless. Everyone enjoys an experience (music, dance, food, life) with their view/universe. Some grow - while other do not. Both are acceptable. There is a great deal in this universe to experience, and one cannot be an expert in everything. As long as one focuses on something and grows/evolves, it is fine.

Enuf philosophy for the day...
A

Jeff
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Oct 21, 2003 12:30 p.m.


In music the passions enjoy themselves. "Nietzsche"
Jeffrey R King
Bob
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Oct 21, 2003 01:52 p.m.


It's interesting that during the sixties era, it was hip to claim to like sitar music, but very few counter-culture types actually played the sitar. So many Ravi Shankar records being played while incense burned, but not a mizrab in a thousand miles. I can remmeber frequently walking across the campus and passsing small groups of long-haired people gathered around a guitarist sitting on the grass. I can't help but think that if even one person amongst the large student population at our school had sat there with a sitar and played it -- not necessarily well -- it would have caught on and there would have been a sudden sitar revolution. I mentioned this to my daughter the other day and she told me the lack of American sitar playing in the sixties was due more to cultural arrogance than anything else -- people were willing, she said, to listen to "foreign music" and get high, but wouldn't even for a moment consider "lowering themselves" to actually playing it. There may be something to that, but frankly I thonk it had more to do with the general perception among those who might otherwise had some interest in playing, that Indian music was utterly unapproachable to the westerner. Well perhaps that was just as well. A campus full of people playing the sitar as badly as I do is a frightening thought indeed!
K.K.
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Oct 21, 2003 02:22 p.m.



Bob (Oct 21, 2003 01:52 p.m.):
... I mentioned this to my daughter the other day and she told me the lack of American sitar playing in the sixties was due more to cultural arrogance than anything else....but frankly I thonk it had more to do with the general perception among those who might otherwise had some interest in playing, that Indian music was utterly unapproachable to the westerner...

Bob, I would have to agree with you, as opposed to your daughter, on this one. I would have loved to even just seen a sitar in person back in those days (I don't recall seeing any hanging on the walls of the local music stores alongside the Fender Mustangs and Tele's) and even on just a musical level, for most people back then, anything out of the 4/4, 6/8, etc time sig was incomprehensible.

Billy
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Oct 21, 2003 02:35 p.m.



Bob (Oct 21, 2003 01:52 p.m.):
There may be something to that, but frankly I thonk it had more to do with the general perception among those who might otherwise had some interest in playing, that Indian music was utterly unapproachable to the westerner.

I think you both are right. The fact was, there were actual "castes" among the counter-culture crowd. Many were in it for the fad, the Mod styles, where "doing your own thing" meant doing what everyone else were doing, even if it meant listening to music that you don't get. Others were in it for the drugs. But there were those of us who really tried to understand, who knew there was something spiritual out there that we just didn't understand. Hearing Ravi's explanation of Indian music on "The Sound of India" or reading short articles on it only made it seem even more complex, completely unattainable unless we were willing to do like GH did, go to India and study for an extended time. I honestly believe that was in my mind at the time. I remember wanting to learn, but it just seemed impossible.

The only thing remotely Indian that was accessable to us was Mahareesh Mahish Yoga and Transcendental Meditation. I think he did so much in bringing Eastern Thought to the US. Of course, these days I follow other meditation paths and don't agree with TM methodology, I'm just saying back then, no one made anything accessable to us except him and his teachers, at least in my area of the country.

But back to the sitar, they were available, I remember seeing one at a music store, it hung there forever more as decoration than anything else, and it probably was one of those tourist models that was meant for decoration anyway. But it attracted me for so long. All I knew was there was no way I could go to India to learn it. And I wasn't the only one who thought that way.


Namaste',
Billy Godfrey
Sitarsrule
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Nov 06, 2003 12:05 a.m.


George opened up my ears to the Sitar,It took almost 8 months to get my hands on a Sitar, it took 3 months to find Tony karasek to set the Jawari for me on it. I think that George proved that you can love music and fit it to sound the way you want it to. I don't think that I'd ever had liked Sitar if not for George, but who knows................Peace
AJ
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Nov 06, 2003 12:32 a.m.


The world is a better place for George having been able to play his music for us.......and many other things he did while he was here.......

I'm glad we had him for awhile

AJ

Jeff
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Nov 06, 2003 07:48 a.m.


I never was much into the Beatles though I do sort of like some of their stranger stuff. My wife just simply adored them. She was a young teen when they came out.
As far as GH's technique and abilities on the sitar,, I'm envious. I agree he helped to introduce the sitar and Indian culture to the west, which I think is a very good thing.
Jeffrey R King
Jaym
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Nov 06, 2003 11:09 a.m.


Reading about GH and RS relationship in Ravi's book Raga Mala showed how close they were and how deeply GH respected ICM and the Sitar. I think GH deserves a lot of credit for incorporating Sitar and Tanpura into western pop.

The Beatles are the greatest band ever!
Sgt Peppers was recorded on a 4-track!

K.K.
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Nov 06, 2003 01:55 p.m.



Jaym (Nov 06, 2003 11:09 a.m.):

The Beatles are the greatest band ever!
Sgt Peppers was recorded on a 4-track!


What was so cool about Sgt. Peppers was that it was actually recorded on (at least) two 4-track machines running in sync. The Beatles (Engineer Ken Townsend and Sir George Martin) were also resposnsible for introducing other inovative recording techniques including "flanging."

Matt
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Nov 09, 2003 08:53 p.m.


As an aside ~

Harrison's final album, "Brainwashed", contains a nice instrumental track titled "Marwa Blues". I'm not familiar with the raag of the same name, but I'm guessing that the tune is based on that. It does sound a bit exotic. Anyone know for sure?

AJ
Re:George Harrison as a sitarist.... Nov 09, 2003 10:22 p.m.



Matt (Nov 09, 2003 08:53 p.m.):
As an aside ~

Harrison's final album, "Brainwashed", contains a nice instrumental track titled "Marwa Blues". I'm not familiar with the raag of the same name, but I'm guessing that the tune is based on that. It does sound a bit exotic. Anyone know for sure?


Sure don't but it is a very lovely melody : )

AJ

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