Ravi Shankar had never played at a pop festival before till Monterey. He finally agreed to do so, it seems, on the insistence of George Harrison, one of the four famed members of The Beatles. Harrison had been the most influenced of the group by Indian instruments. He went on to learn the Sitar from Ravi Shankar. Beatles fans would concur - listen to Within You, Without You, Love You To and Norwegian Wood as evidence and listening pleasure.
Shankar arrived at Monterey two days before he was scheduled to play. He almost thought of not playing, witnessing firsthand the atrocious onstage behaviour of some rock stars, one of them was legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix - burning his guitar and throwing it to the audience. Ravi Shankar was shocked to see this. He regarded the instrument as a friend, an artist burning his guitar was an unbelievable sight.
Ravi Shankar woke up to a dark rainy morning and it was afternoon when the rain stopped and he began playing, accompanied by Tabla maestro Allah Rakha and Kamala Dasgupta on the Tanpura. The collage above is clipped from a youtube video of the artists playing Dadra and a fast teental, the final piece from the Shankar full set on that day.
This 19 minute magical piece, "a light classical melody," as Ravi calls it in the introduction, consists of a main tune that is decorated with improvisations of folk and other tunes. Allah Rakha is at his best, the result is a rare uplifting epic creation.
Here is the youtube video of this masterpiece. Allow the video to load fully, the entire section is part of the same musical tree.