Ravi Shankar, Indian sitar master best known in America for his friendship with George Harrison and as the father of Norah Jones, has died at 92.
Shankar died in San Diego on Tuesday, December 11th.
Many people in America and other parts of the Western world first heard the sitar and the traditional Indian raga from Shankar, especially through his association with George Harrison. Through Harrison, Shankar also organized the first rock benefit concert, The Concert for Bangladesh, in 1971. This concert set the pattern for future benefits such as Live Aid, Farm Aid, and today’s concert for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Today, many Americans are mostly aware of Shankar as the father of singer Norah Jones, but in India and much of the world, he was a legend in his own right as a musician. Harrison called him “the godfather of world music,” according to the article at U.S. News, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called him “a national treasure.” While the gap between American, European, and Indian music is difficult to bridge and many Westerners were never able to appreciate the ragas even with the best of intentions, Ravi Shankar influenced many musicians, including not only The Beatles but David Crosby, Yehudi Menuhin and John Coltrane, as mentioned in the U.S. News article.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons