In 1995 George Harrison was producer of an impressive 4 CD compilation box set honouring the musical life and genius of his friend and mentor, the Indian master musician Ravi Shankar. It was called In Celebration and it formed a key part of the celebrations that year marking Shankar’s 75th birthday.
The four CDs trace four distinct aspects of Shankar’s output: Classical Sitar; Orchestral and Ensembles; East-West Collaboration; and Vocal and Experimental.
The set was released on the Angel label (an EMI subsidiary specialising in classical music), and George’s own Dark Horse Records label.
Because it was expensive the following year (1996) there was also an In Celebration – Highlights single-disc version for those wanting a taste from each of the four CDs:
We’ve had a copy of the single disc Highlights for years and have often enjoyed escaping into the world of Indian music. As a result we’ve been on the lookout for a long time for a reasonably priced second-hand copy of the full box set – now long out of print. At last we’ve got our hands on a copy (via eBay and from a seller based in France of all places).
The larger set is a much more detailed and elaborate affair, with silver embossed printing details and individual artwork for each CD. When we say “box set” this is actually presented as a tall, deluxe hard-back book, with the four CDs stored in holders inside the front and rear covers.
In between them is a beautiful 60 page book with a foreword by George Harrison and a lengthy essay, richly illustrated with photographs, on the life and work of Ravi Shankar by Timothy White, a former Editor In Chief of Billboard magazine:
There’s a handy glossary of terms included at the back – a big help in understanding and appreciating Indian classical music, its instruments and main themes and influences.
This is all really nicely done as a package and a great selection of, and tribute to, Shankar’s life and work.
Hi, thank you for this post. I learned a lot about this album. I am trying for a long long time to find the lyric of the “Vandana” song. It’s the first song of the last CD. Does the hardcover book provides the lyric of this song? If it does, could you please take a picture of the lyric and e-mail me? I would be very gratefull. Thanks!
Hi Ricardo, I checked the book and it does not have the words printed for ‘Vandana”. The song comes from the 1975 album Ravi Shankar’s Music Festival From India (on Dark Horse Records) and I checked the original vinyl LP I have and it doesn’t have the words either sorry. I did photograph the text about the song in the In Celebration book and you can see it here: https://beatlesblogger.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/img_5036.jpg
It has a little bot more information about the song for you.
Thank you very much for your response. And thanks a lot for sharing the information about the music. It helped a little bit. Congratulations on the content of the blog!