World music superstar and Beatles inspiration Ravi Shankar has died at age 92. The master of the sitar and father of singer Norah Jones, Shankar was dubbed the "godfather of world music" by late Beatle George Harrison, who collaborated with Shankar for the legendary 1971 benefit Concert For Bangladesh.
According to reports, three-time Grammy winner Shankar died Tuesday at a hospital near his home in Encinitas, California following heart valve replacement surgery last week. In addition to Jones, Shankar was also the father of musician Anoushka Shankar, a Grammy-nominated sitar player and composer.
George Harrison introduced "his" sitar to Western music
Shankar became an icon of the hippie music of the sixties because Beatle George Harrison was inspired by him. His influence was heard in several songs from the Fab Four , which the Indian classical music was introduced in the pop, rock and jazz. Shankar Harrison called "the godfather of world music '.
Born Ravindra Shankar Chowdhury in Varanasi, India, on April 7, 1920, Shankar (whose shortened name means "sun") moved to Paris with his mother at age 10 to tour with his brother Uday's Indian dance troupe. Inspired by Indian classical music, he then moved back to his native country at age 13 and studied the sitar for seven years with his teacher, Allauddin Khan.
Mesmerized by his fluid, improvisational playing of the sitar — a long-necked string instrument that looks like an oversized lute — the Beatles were inspired to write the 1965 song "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," on which George Harrison played sitar. That song also began a lifelong friendship between Shankar and late Beatle Harrison that lasted until Harrison's death in 2001.
Yet his music is sometimes a mystery to the western listener. During the Concert for
in '71 was already loudly applauded
when he half minutes long, which strumming on his sitar. "If you vote for
my sitar all so beautiful, I hope that the play itself more fires," he