Video Blog – Ravi Shankar At Monterey Pop

Ravi Shankar ‘Dhun (Dadra And Fast Teental)’

From ‘Monterey Pop’ 1967

Video Blog Info:


If I could have been at one single event during the ’60s, the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967’s  ‘Summer Of Love’ is likely to have been it. D.A. Pennebaker’s superb film of this historic gathering manages to get right to the essence of the era, for whilst the East Coast Woodstock festival, 2 years later, has been the enduring symbol of the ’60s, the moment when, through sheer force of numbers, the power of this new generation was acknowledged, Monterey, on the West Coast, set the wheels in motion, being the first festival of its type and a triumph of the Hippie spirit. Besides, as far as performances are concerned, Monterey, for my money, has never been bettered – Otis Redding backed by Booker T. & The M.G.’s wowing ‘the love crowd, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, making their US debut (Hendrix having exploded on the London scene, having moved there in Sept ’66), frightening the life out of the audience, and Janis Joplin, with Big Brother & The Holding Company, a banshee unleashed, waking the witch. These are right up there for me in the lofty category of all-time performances by true titans of music, along with one other, that of the Indian sitar maestro, Ravi Shankar.

Accompanied by tabla great Alla Rakha, this, above anything else I’ve ever seen, illustrates the power of music to energize. Watch the audience metamorphosize before your eyes, from sleepy to spellbound and, like them, be awed by the man who George Harrison described at the time as the greatest musician on the planet that he was aware of. I could swear his hand is moving so fast at one point that it completely vanishes!

I always wonder what Jimi Hendrix, who you see in the audience, made of Shankar, and, of equal fascination, what Shankar made of Hendrix – one artist disciplined and spiritual, the other wild and chaotic, but both able to access something of what the other had to make their expression complete. Arguably the 2 greatest string instrumentalists of the 20th century – on the one hand polar opposites, whilst on the other kindred spirits.

Monterey Pop Wikipedia:

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6 Responses to Video Blog – Ravi Shankar At Monterey Pop

  1. Dan Soulsmith July 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Mesmerising and energising!

  2. Lou Lou July 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Brilliant footage. Very well put Greg. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Paul Wright July 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    😀 Absolutely magical, I would have loved to have been there too! A joy to see people and the musicians connecting through such incredibly intricate, spellbinding music and moments.

  4. ReinMan September 7, 2012 at 1:17 am #

    I keep coming back to this video!! LOVE IT!!!
    A secret for all….. sure you can see Jimi Hendrix in the video, but I do believe you can spot Barbara Streisand, Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees, a young and gorgeous Candace Bergen, and Christine from the Mamas & Papas! There might be others, I was born too late to recognize any one else, but that COULD be Carlos Santana in the white knit cap.

  5. anand December 12, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    there’s also, i think, mike bloomfield in the crowd, right after the slightly thoughtful hendrix.

  6. mr_melvis December 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    In reading the obituary for Ravi today in the New York Times – they indicate that he was horrified by what Hendrix did at Monterrey, and Ravi asked to be let out of the festival because of it. The burning of Jimi’s guitar to him was the ultimate sacrilage against the spirit of music…

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