On Dec, 11, 2012, The GodFather of Sitar & WorldMusic left this world's stage to play with the heavenly orchestra. This is a little tribute to him who was an inspiration to so many, and to me to get hold of a sitar & try to play it. May he live & be blessed forever...
"Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar, who was responsible for bringing classical Indian music to the masses in the Western world via Beatle George Harrison's interest in Shankar, his instrument and his Hindu religion, died at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla last week. He was 92.
Shankar had been given heart-valve replacement surgery. A message on his website said, "Though the surgery was successful, recovery proved too difficult for the 92-year-old musician."
The three-time Grammy winner's final performance was Nov. 4 in Long Beach; it was a celebration of his 10th decade in music.
In 1952, Shankar began a musical collaboration with Western classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin but their work, while highly lauded, didn't bring about mass exposure to a Western audience. That would come a decade-and-a-half later.
In 1965, Harrison developed a fascination with the sitar and Indian music. The Beatle bought a secondhand sitar in a London shop and improvised a sitar part on John Lennon's "Norwegian Wood," marking the first time the instrument was used in a Western pop song (months earlier, The Yardbirds recorded a version of their hit, "Heart Full of Soul," with a sitar as the lead instrument, but that version wasn't released until much later).
In June 1966, Harrison met Shankar and asked to be his student. Shankar accepted. Interest in the sitar and other Indian instruments and the music spread through rock music like a wildfire.
His appearance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival provided his introduction to a young generation of music fans eager for diverse sounds and blending of musical forms. He also performed at Woodstock and in August 1971, he convinced his friend Harrison to stage rock music's first major benefit, the Concert for Bangladesh, that raised international awareness of the plight of refugees following a devastating cyclone and civil war in the south Asian nation. Shankar opened the two concerts (afternoon and evening) at Madison Square Garden.
Eventually, Shankar became mostly critical of rock's incorporation of the sitar because of its connection to drugs. He and Harrison remained the best of friends and collaborated often until Harrison's death from lung cancer in Los Angeles in November 2001. Harrison was 58.
Among Shankar's survivors are his wife Sukanya and two daughters, acclaimed sitar player Anoushka Shankar Wright, whose husband, Joe Wright, directed the recently released film, "Anna Karenina," and Shankar-Wright's half-sister, adult contemporary singer-songwriter Norah Jones."
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