Sanskrit chants from Vedas, Upanishads and other scriptures have been recorded by many in India and elsewhere, either in its original form by the traditional scholars who have kept it up for many centuries through their families and disciples, or sung within Raga forms by eminent musicians with accompanying instruments. Some have attempted to make them more popular by using semi-classical form of music. Chants Of India included in the Ravi Shankar George Harrison Collaborations box set (3CD/1DVD) are timeless Suktas, Mantras and Shlokas that are chanted as they were 4000 years ago.
Chants Of India, Disc 1 of the Collaborations box set, was an absolute bestseller when it was first released in 1997. The album sold 1,00,000 units in the US alone. The idea of creating music for ancient Sanskrit chants appealed to George Harrison so much that he wanted to take the whole responsibility of producing it. The music was recorded in two sessions, one in Madras (January and April 1996) and one at George’s studio in England (July 1996). To maintain the integrity and purity of the ancient Vedic chants was a tremendous challenge to both George Harrison and Ravi Shankar.
Chants Of India – Vandanaa Trayee (30 sec) :
Chants Of India – Asato Maa (30 sec) :
Chants Of India – Gaayatri (30 sec) :
Chants Of India – Prabhujee (30 sec) :
“I always had in my mind not to make it so difficult for hearing, for people who are not used to our music at all, for instance. But apart from the words, which are very old and they all mean the same thing, peace and love, for equality for human beings, body, spirit, everything. Until about 30 years or 40 years ago, these chants were absolutely not heard. But now everything’s out. It’s even on the internet, you know.”
~ Ravi Shankar
“It’s such a beautiful record, it’s something which I was proud to be able to contribute a little bit towards. It’s something which I think has a value, and I think a lot of people can benefit by having this kind of music in their lives, help as a balance towards a peaceful daily life.”
~ George Harrison
Chants Of India album had been out of license for over 5 years.
Music Festival From India, Disc 2 of the Collaborations box set, was a live event that was staged in London in 1976. Organized by George Harrison’s Material World Charitable Foundation, the event witnessed an Indian classical ensemble of 18 artists. Musicians including tabla wizard Alla Rakha, santoor player Shivkumar Sharma, flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia, sarangi maestro Sultan Khan, vocalist Lakshmi Shankar, violinist L Subramaniam graced the occasion. This troupe then toured Europe culminating in a show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The event propelled most of the artists who participated to worldwide stardom.
Music Festival From India – Tarana, Chaturang (30 sec) :
Music Festival From India – Bhajan (Krishna Krishna) (30 sec) :
Music Festival From India – Naderdani (30 sec) :
Music Festival From India – Dehati (30 sec) :
Composed by Ravi Shankar and recorded during five weeks in 1976, this album was produced by George Harrison. Music Festival From India was only released on vinyl, and has not been available for over 30 years.