Wednesday, December 12, 2012

R.I.P.: sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar

R.I.P.: Ravi Shankar, a great sitar virtuoso and George Harrison's pal/mentor

He came from India, but lived in southern California. "Labeled 'the godfather of world music' by Harrison, Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music. His close relationship with Harrison, the Beatles lead guitarist, shot Shankar to global stardom in the 1960s."

"He also pioneered the concept of the rock benefit with the 1971 Concert For Bangladesh."

"To later generations, he was known as the estranged father of popular American singer Norah Jones. When Jones shot to stardom and won five Grammy awards in 2003, (Ravi's other daughter) Anoushka Shankar was nominated for a Grammy of her own. Shankar himself won three Grammy awards and was nominated for an Oscar for his musical score for the movie Gandhi."

"Despite his fame, numerous albums and decades of world tours, Shankar's music remained a riddle to many Western ears. Shankar was amused after he and colleague Ustad Ali Akbar Khan were greeted with admiring applause when they opened the Concert for Bangladesh by twanging their sitar and sarod for a minute and a half. 'If you like our tuning so much, I hope you will enjoy the playing more,' he told the confused crowd, and then launched into his set."

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