Woodstock Wiki
Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar01.jpg
Ravi Shankar playing the sitar at Woodstock
Performed on Day 1
Started at 12.00 am (midnight), Saturday, 16th
Played for 40 min.
Further Information
Festival Day Chronology
Prev. artist Tim Hardin at 8.30 pm
Next artist Melanie Safka at 1.00 am

The Indian music genius Ravi Shankar was a special guest at the Woodstock festival. He made his first appearance to the western world at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967, followed by an invitation from Beatle George Harrison. In the wake of spiritualism and the search for new influences his music became very popular, but Shankar wasn't fond of the drug-consuming and partying crowd of young people[1].

Shankar started at midnight on Saturday evening and played for over 40 minutes throughout the rain.


  • Ravi Shankar - sitar
  • Maya Kulkarni - tambura
  • Alla Rakha - tabla


  1. Rāga Puriya-Dhanashri / Gat In Sawarital
  2. Tabla Solo In Jhaptal
  3. Rāga Manj Kmahaj (Alap, Jor, Dhun In Kaharwa Tal)


Ravi Shankar's music isn't the usual blues, folk or psychedelic rock music that one expects from such a festival. This traditional Indian music, adapted by Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha (birth name: Ustad Allarakha Qureshi), needs carful listening and openness for different and unknown kinds of rhythms and melodies.

"Puriya-Dhanashri" is an evening rāga. It has 11 beats in the form of 4+4+3. The second piece is a tabla solo (a pair of hand drums) in the rhythmic cycle of Jhaptal with 10 beats, divided 2+3+2+3. Alla Rakha impressively demonstrates his skills.

The last song is again an evening rāga but Ravi Shankar doesn't mention the rhythmic cycle. However, this is a 21 minute long piece that really needs attention. It starts slower than the previous ones, more comfortable but soon developes into a furious interplay between Shankar and Rakha with amazing improvisations.


As it turned out, the live album At the Woodstock Festival was more or less a fake[2].