Legendary musician Pandit Ravi Shankar, who introduced the West to Indian ragas in the 60s, died Tuesday in USA. He was 92. Shankar died at Scripps Memorial Hospital outside San Diego, where he had travelled in order to undergo heart surgery. Last week, Shankar and his musician daughter Anoushka were each nominated for Grammy Awards in the World Music category.
Another daughter is American singer-songwriter Norah Jones. He was a de facto tutor for Westerners fascinated by India’s musical traditions. Shankar has won three Grammy awards and was nominated for an Oscar for his musical score for the movie Gandhi. His death has evoked tributes from the global music fraternity and beyond, and the PM’s office says it is a loss of ‘national treasure’.
The veteran’s golden advice
In an interview to HT City in 2009, Shankar had said that the need of the hour is for Indian traditional music to adapt itself to new tastes and times. “I have been criticised many a time for not playing pure music, but still I get a lot of local audience everywhere I perform. It’s purely because of my adaptation to a new style of presentation,” he had said, adding, “I see a lot of potential in young Indian artists and find them very receptive. I find Bollywood music very interesting ... it offers a lot of variety.” Aakriti Sawhney
His spirit will live on, says family
Shankar’s wife Sukanya and sitarist daughter Anoushka jointly issued a statement saying, “Despite the best efforts of doctors, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery. We were at his side when he passed away. We know that you all feel our loss with us, and we thank you for all of your prayers and good wishes through this difficult time. His spirit and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in his music.”
The man who inspired Beatles
Labelled “the godfather of world music” by George Harrison of The Beatles, Shankar helped millions of rock lovers around the world discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music. Harrison met Shankar in 1966, and soon after sought him as his music guru. The Beatles song Within You Without You sparked the
raga-rock phase of 60s.