George Harrison And Ravi Shankar’s ‘Chants of India’ To Receive Record Store Day Reissue

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press/Clive Arrowsmith

On June 20, George Harrison and Ravi Shankar‘s ‘Chants of India’ will be reissued on vinyl for the first time.

The album was first released in 1997,  making it one of the last projects Harrison worked on before his death from cancer in 2001.

Released by George Harrison’s recently rebooted Dark Horse records label, the album comprises of 16 tracks by Harrison’s guitar teacher and close friend Ravi Shankar.

George Harrison was very enthusiastic,” Shankar shared in a 1997 interview with Rolling Stone, “and he wanted to take charge of the production. These chantings are very old, from the Scriptures. Some I composed. ‘Mangalam’ came to me while I was walking in Friar Park, George’s place, where we were recording. I was looking at the trees and the sky, and feeling very elated all of a sudden, wishing everything should be good for everyone, and it just came to me.”

In addition to producing the album, Harrison would contribute vocals, acoustic guitar, autoharp, bass, vibraphone, marimba, and glockenspiel.

George Harrison first met Ravi in 1966.

Shankar would teach Harrison the rudiments of sitar and mentor him in matters of Indian culture and spirituality, something which had a profound impact upon the Beatle.

Indian music is brilliant,” Harrison not long after meeting Ravi, “and for me, anyway, this is only personal, it’s got everything in it. I still like electronics and all sorts of music if it’s good but Indian music is just… an untouchable you can’t say what it is because it just is.”

The news of Chants of India‘s release follows the announcement that George’s son Dhani Harrison alongside Ravi’s daughter Nora Jones will be paying tribute to Shankar at a series of centennial concerts this May.

Chants of India will be available on 2 x 12” LP 180-Gram Red Vinyl and include an exclusive 12”x12” photo print.

Harrison’s former Beatles bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney will also receive Record Store Day reissues.

You can read a full list of 2020 Record Store Day releases here.

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