Family, friends and fans have all congregated in California today to mourn the late Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar, who passed away earlier this month.
Shankar will long be remembered for his inspirational style of playing the sitar, which has led many to claim him to be the greatest player of the instrument in the modern era. His work with The Beatles and the influence he had on them, particularly George Harrison, who became a close friend to Shankar, opened his work and a completely new sound to Western ears for the first time for many, and his music will be remembered long after his passing.
Olivia Harrison, the widow of George, attended the ceremony and gave a speech telling of the impact Shankar had on her, her late husband and everyone who came into contact with him. Whilst Ravi's daughter, Anoushka Shankar, and her half-sister Norah Jones also showed up to pay their respects to the late great.
Continue reading: Ravi Shankar Memorial Service Held In California
Shankar changed the face of modern music and opened the eyes of millions to sitar music as well as the Asian-sub-continent's classical music differences in tone, rhythm, harmony and timbre. Sitar music has entirely different scales to the European classical music that had informed most artists until the 1960s when The Beatle's George Harrison introduced Shankar to the world of pop music, and pop music's fans to Shankar.
As the music world weeps for the loss of one of the last century's greatest influences, many people have spoken of their sense of loss. Ivan Hewett, writing for the Telegraph, speaks of his 'first encounter' with Shankar on one his parent's vinyls. He describes the music as "darting and bobbing like a hummingbird and sighing like a disembodied voice." He wrote, "I especially liked the moment when the tabla entered, because this signalled was the closing section of a composition that would get faster and faster, ending in a dizzying whirl of virtuosity."
As his friendship with George Harrison blossomed, he played at an array of enormous music festivals, including the iconic festival Woodstock in 1969 which resulted in his music being associated with the free-loving, drug-fuelled moment of the era. "People had this idea that my music was somehow mixed up with the drug culture, that it was a way of losing your consciousness," Shankar said said. "But that's so wrong, the tradition is all about achieving an inner purity. I always hated the drugs, and I decided not to play at those festivals any more."
The Recording Academy have paid tribute to the late Ravi Shankar, who passed away, aged 92.
In a statement, from the organisation behind the annual Grammy awards, his influence is acknowledged in many musical fields, such as pop, classical, jazz and world music. “Three-time GRAMMY® winner and renowned sitar player Ravi Shankar was a true pioneer in introducing Indian music to the West,” writes the Recording Academy’s President / CEO Neil Portnow.
The statement continues “Just last week, I had the honor to inform him that he would receive a 2013 Lifetime Achievement this February. He was deeply touched and so pleased, that he extended a gracious and personal invitation to visit with him at his home. We have lost an innovative and exceptional talent and a true ambassador of international music. Our thoughts and sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and all of those around the world who were inspired by his music and compassionate philanthropy.”
Continue reading: "A True Pioneer" - The Recording Academy Pay Tribute To Ravi Shankar
Pandit Ravi Shankar, the virtuoso sitar player, who inspired the 60s psychedelic movement through his collaboration with the Beatles, has passed away at age 92. He was in his San Diego home at the time, where he was recovering from surgery. His wife Sukanya and daughter Anushka explained that he was too frail to endure the heavy surgery and following recovery period.
“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. Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives. His spirit and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in his music,” the two commented in a joint statement for the press. Despite his age, Shankar had continued to perform almost to the very end. He was occasionally joined by Anushka, who is a sitar virtuoso herself. Pandit Shankar’s passing is mourned by musicians and fans across the world.
The Indian prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said in his speech about Shankar: “The nation joins me to pay tributes to his unsurpassable genius, his art and his humility” The late citar master has had a huge impact on the musical scene, through introducing Indian classical music to the West. His contributions have not been forgotten to this day and his memory will be celebrated in India and across the world.