In the beginning there was black & white television, and there was Korla Pandit. Not necessarily in that order. In fact it has always puzzled historians as to whether Korla Pandit was made for television, or visa-versa. One thing is crystal clear: no one was better suited to the medium during those formative years.
Korla Pandit was TV's first "talking head", except, per mentor Klaus Landsberg's direction, he didn't even talk! Instead he just gazed dreamily into the camera, and into the hearts and imaginations of millions upon millions of viewers over the years, when television was in its infancy and people were captivated by this Mesmerist and his "Universal Language of Music".
Orchids & moonlight, unchained melodies, worshippers from under the water, India's One & Only Song, themes magnetic, played a thousand different ways, all embodied the spiritual and spirited performances of a handsome young man in a turban, a music-box Sabu, he of Indian origin, foreign to American music audiences, foreign to American TV audiences, foreign and yet not foreign at all.
of yours and mine, played on the Heartstrings of Time" was this guru's
forte, fingers first flying over grand piano ivories then soon the
revolutionary new Hammond B-3 electronic organ, complete with drawbars,
pre-sets, percussion, and 2 Jr-20 speakers, each endowed with cavernous
reverberation. Korla played his "music of the Exotic East" along
with a blend of waltzes, tangos, cha-cha-cha's and other tunes of the 40's
and 50's, with even an occasional classic such as "Claire de Lune"
or "The Swan" thrown in for good measure. Korla was known for
playing both his favorite instruments - the
Like many performing artists of the day, Korla emerged from the shadowland of radio, where he had been secreted away somewhere in a corner of the studio, supplying exotic themes and mood music for the popular "Chandu the Magician" White King soaper, into the limelight of Hollywood's mercurial "stardom."
pioneered "Exotica"; he was its embodiment and he conjured it up
musically and on the new "tube," visually as well, effecting all
manner of tonal orchestration on the
daily or weekly TV broadcasts his schedule grew with the popularity of
Theatre Organs, and Korla in later years eventually discovered an entirely
new career for himself on the concert circuit, piping it up everywhere from
the Tiki Revival close at hand, Korla Pandit appeared at
Korla Pandit passed away October 2, 1998, at the (theoretical) age of 77. It's a matter for conjecture as he nonchalantly allowed, whenever asked, that he was in the neighborhood of two thousand years of age. His final days were spent doing what he loved the most, playing his exotic melodies in the sunset of his lifetime.
"YOU AND THE NIGHT ARE GONE, BUT THE MELODY LINGERS ON"…….
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