Ravi Shankar, sitar maestro and Beatles inspiration was 92 *

Anoushka Shankar leads Eric Clapton and an Indian orchestra in an original composition by her father Ravi Shankar at the Concert for George in 2002, honoring George Harrison. Ravi Shankar and Harrison's widow, Olivia, look on.

ravi-shankar-2009.jpgRavi Shankar died this afternoon in San Diego after being admitted to Scripps Memorial Hospital last week complaining of breathing difficulties. He underwent heart-valve replacement surgery on Thursday. The legendary musician and his daughter Anoushka were both nominated last week for 2013 Grammy awards in the world music category. Recording star Norah Jones is also the daughter of Ravi Shankar.

The prime minister of India has confirmed the death and called Shankar a national treasure.

Shankar moved from India onto the international music scene in the 1950s, and after becoming associated with George Harrison and the Beatles he performed at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and at the Woodstock music festival in 1969. He opened a music school in Los Angeles and became chair of the Indian music department at CalArts in 1970. He also taught for a time at UCLA, according to Wikipedia. One of his records is from a 1961 concert at UCLA's Royce Hall.

His final public performance was Nov. 4 in Long Beach. Shankar performed last year at Walt Disney Hall.

From the Associated Press:

Ravi Shankar, the sitar virtuoso who became a hippie musical icon of the 1960s after hobnobbing with the Beatles and who introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over an eight-decade career, has died. He was 92...

Labeled “the godfather of world music” by George Harrison, Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music.

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.

As early as the 1950s, Shankar began collaborating with and teaching some of the greats of Western music, including violinist Yehudi Menuhin and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. He played well-received shows in concert halls in Europe and the United States, but faced a constant struggle to bridge the musical gap between the West and the East.

Describing an early Shankar tour in 1957, Time magazine said “U.S. audiences were receptive but occasionally puzzled.”

His close relationship with Harrison, the Beatles lead guitarist, shot Shankar to global stardom in the 1960s.

Shankar had lived in Encinitas, on the coast north of San Diego, since 1992. The Ravi Shankar Foundation, based there, posted a note tonight saying "With profound grief and sorrow, we mourn the passing of Pandit Ravi Shankar on December 11, 2012. He died in San Diego at 4:30 pm Pacific time." A new DVD was released today of a live concert last year in Escondido.

Don Heckman in the LA Times
New York Times
The Hindu

Shankar's performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967:

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