In Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar, writer Oliver Craske presents readers with the first full portrait of this legendary figure, revealing the personal and professional story of a musician who influenced--and continues to influence--countless artists
Of all the astonishing things that happened in the 1960s, the transformation of Ravi Shankar into global superstar and hippy hero is one of the hardest to explain to anyone who wasn’t there. Yet Oliver Craske’s superlative biography — the fruit of 130 interviews, exhaustive research on three continents and six years’ writing — achieves that and much more. Shankar’s protean 80-year career as mesmerising boy-dancer and virtuoso instrumentalist, joyous composer and inexhaustible Casanova is narrated in revelatory detail ... Still writing an opera on his deathbed at 92, the perpetually impish Shankar lived in a kind of wonderland conjured up by his musical genius and the effect it had on people. Craske evokes that world superbly; a masterly chronicle of a life teeming with all-too-human incident but heavenly inspiration.
In Oliver Craske, Shankar has attracted a biographer who understands the intricacies of classical Indian music and the labyrinths of a culture that believes there’s no enterprise that can’t be improved by being made more complicated – religion, language, family trees, music, railway timetables. His portrait of a restless, often melancholic genius is appropriately exhaustive, involving 130 fresh interviews and 100 pages of credits. There is much to explain ... Craske handles the niceties of Shankar’s personal life with diplomacy while staying focused on his subject’s musical mission and lifelong hunger for spiritual fulfilment. He wears his expertise lightly and his passion on his sleeve; a winning combination for a definitive work.
This first authorised biography is the product of 25 years’ research and interviews. For fans of Shankar and Indian classical, Oliver Craske’s mighty work will surely be a delight ... 'Now I am the music,' Shankar said in 2012, months before his death, and it is in his emotional playing that he lives on. Craske does him justice as a performer and composer: Shankar leaves a complex and enduring legacy that will be unpicked further by future disciples of his craft.