Harisongs, Chants of India

The year was 1972, I began attending the University of New Haven. My first class was Intro to Music held on the basement floor of the main building.

I walked in and chose a place to sit. Sitting in front of me was the music professor, barefoot, cross-legged on the rug. He had an Indian sitar on his lap. When we were all assembled, he said not a word as he began to play this marvelous instrument. I soon felt a wonderful sense of peace. I decided at that moment to minor in music at UNH. I later took a course on the music and culture of India. I learned about ragas and the tintal beat (16 beats actually in a rhythmic cycle).

Little did I realize how influential that time would become in the spirituality and the healing power of my soul.

George Harrison introduced us to Ravi Shankar through his recordings and at The Concert for Bangladesh. Their friendship has come full circle. I miss them both.

I first saw a Facebook post shared by Dhani Harrison about Harisongs. It led me to the George Harrison estate. Why don’t I let George Harrison and Ravi Shankar tell you more, Namaste’.

The George Harrison estate is happy to announce HariSongs, a new label created to celebrate the Indian classical music George loved and believed would “help as a balance towards a peaceful daily life.” HariSongs launches today with two reissues in honour of both Ravi Shankar’s birthday (b. 7th April, 1920) and Ali Akbar Khan’s birthday (b. 14th April, 1922) this month.

Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan’s In Concert 1972, and Ravi Shankar’s Chants of India, are now available for the first time via streaming outlets, as well as to download.

In Concert 1972

Then after I posted this article this morning I got an email from George Harrison titled, “Proudly announcing HariSongs”. I loved the picture it contained as well as these words from George.

RaviandGeorge

A Statement By George Harrison 

In 1966, through the grace of God, my life was blessed and enhanced from the sudden desire to investigate the classical music of India. Although intellectually, I could not comprehend it – the music, (which happened to be Ravi Shankar and the sitar) made more sense to me than anything I had heard in my life. When I read Ravi saying he felt he had only started, I was overwhelmed, humbled and encouraged to try and understand the music and the man much more. Miraculously I met Ravi Shankar and felt an even greater attraction to him, the music and later the tradition and self-discipline of India, without which, my life would be empty and pointless. In 1966 I heard music which had been written by Ravi Shankar some years before (Nava Rasa Ranga). It was performed by Ravi, along with some other musicians, for All India Radio. Until then I had not heard Indian classical music in any form other than solos or duets, and the beauty has haunted me for the past eight years and still haunts me today. I hope this Music may help a little, to nurture the wealth of the West. God only knows. – George Harrison, 1973

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Dhani Harrison – Guitar Aficinado Magazine

I discovered something very cool while browsing the Barnes & Noble magazine stand today. I happened upon a new music magazine, Guitar AficionadoI was struck by the photograph of Dhani Harrison on the cover of the Spring 2012 issue. I picked up the magazine and began leafing through the pages.

Guitar Aficionado-Spring 2012-The George Harrison Collection - Click Image to Close

Being an avid fan of digital publishing I was psyched to see on page four that Guitar Aficionado was available for the iPad and iPhone devices.  I took out my iPhone 4s and went looking on Apple’s App Store for the Guitar Aficionado App. I downloaded it and picked up the free issue with Richard Gere on the cover. It was added to my iPhone Newsstand. I knew I had to buy the magazine after that and walked the physical copy to the register.

I love what is happening with the convergence of print media and digital publishing through the iCloud. Publications like Guitar Aficionado are making tremendous strides in allowing readers choice in how they read and experience content.

The more exciting proposition is the added value that Dhani Harrison is bringing to fans of his father’s music. Dhani Harrison, along with the George Harrison Estate and Bandwidth Publishing will soon be making available a new iPad app which will allow Beatles and guitar fans the chance to check out the personal guitar collection of the late George Harrison. The app, The Guitar Collection: George Harrison, will be released through iTunes on February 23, two days before what would have been the former Beatle‘s 69th birthday.

You can get an in-depth preview of the iPad app with Dhani Harrison as your guide through the pages of the latest issue of Guitar Aficiando Magazine. I can tell you first hand its an exciting and informative set of articles. The information is complemented with brilliant color pages and wonderful memories for us all. I am so indebted to Dhani and Olivia Harrison for being so sharing with the world. It is another extension of George’s love to fans living in the material world. 🙂

Watch this video and see how you can touch and interact with George Harrison’s guitar collection. which is absolutely amazing if you ask me 🙂

I love how this continues the synergy between The Beatles and Apple through digital technology. Something tells me that George Harrison and Steve Jobs  are smiling hugely over this accomplishment.

George Harrison – Living In The Material World

Cover of "Living in the Material World"
Cover of Living in the Material World

The Martin Scorsese picture, George Harrison: Living In The Material World is harvesting a spiritual renewal in the life, music and teachings of George Harrison. I am grateful that Olivia Harrison trusted Martin Scorsese with the task of putting together George’s story through archive films from the Harrison estate. I can think of no other film producer more worthy of sharing George Harrison‘s legacy with the world than Scorsese.

Whenever Paul McCartney speaks of George at live concerts, he refers to him as his little brother. I find comfort in Paul’s words. George Harrison was the spiritual disciple who commanded respect by the very nature of his silent religious smile.

Olivia Harrison is also releasing a coffee table book with Abrams Books which is a companion compilation to the film.  Living In The Material World  the book features photos, diaries and other memorabilia in conjunction with the documentary.

Rolling Stone Magazine’s latest issue (September 2nd) gives us an exclusive look at this new book with many never seen before pictures, along with a cover story about George Harrison’s life by Brian Hiatt.

rs1139 cover george harrison