Concert: Ravi Shankar

A was very impressed that he was adding to my cultural enrichment by getting me a ticket (due to a last-minute cancellation by a relative of his) to see Ravi and Anoushka Shankar in concert at the Proms. It was a wondrous and uplifting evening of musical meditation.

Well for the most part. The first half consisted of a piece by Param Vir Horse Tooth White Rock which sounded interesting in parts but it also had some very loud percussion sections. I had warned A previously that loud percussion can make me jump unexpectedly and this was no exception. It was a pity that I wasn't sitting with A so he didn't see this very undignified jolt. But his relatives who I was sitting with did, and this amused them for the rest of the performance... Well, one can't always be dignified and graceful.

After this loud and noisy piece, Shankar's Sitar Concerto followed. It was a welcome relief and I think most of the audience felt this way... You could feel the audience get more and more excited as Anoushka Shankar played and as the music continued to its finale. And as a piece of programming it was an excellent way to introduce the second half.

After the interval Ravi Shankar came on to play a series of Sandhya (evening) ragas. The sell-out crowd in Albert Hall leapt to their feet as he walked on. The atmosphere was electric. It wasn't just an evening of musical entertainment but so much more. The ragas lasted for a little over an hour and the audience was rapt throughout. The improvisation and techniques were astonishing, the music sublime, and the sensation of the performance unfolding before you was all part of the experience.

Afterwards A whisked me away from Albert Hall. He thought there were far too many South Asian Men in the vicinity for his liking. I don't know where he got the idea that I was some dirty stopout. It may have been those leering references to how friendly the South Asian men are at my local M&S... But I digress... The evening to me seemed a fairly mixed affair. And besides, music as good as this has no boundaries.

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