Famous sitarist who introduced India's classical music to the rest of the world.

He founded India's National Orchestra, Vadya Vrinda, composed music for ballet, toured Europe, Japan, and America, performed with Yehudi Menuhin (who said of him "his genius and his humanity can only be compared to that of Mozart's"), created many award-winning film soundtracks, taught John Coltrane, and composed music for Buddy Rich. All of this he accomplished before 1966, when he met George Harrison, and began his rise to true fame.

Since then, he has appeared at the legendary Monterrey Pop and Woodstock Music Festivals, won Grammy Awards, been nominated for an Oscar (for the film Ghandi), and performed with such luminaries as Andre Previn's London Philharmonic, Zubin Metha's New York Philharmonic, and noted flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal.

Oh yeah, there was also that thing with the Beatles, and later George Harrison, and the Concert for Bangladesh, but all that was just a blip in the career of this giant.

If there were a contest for the greatest musician in all of History, he would have to be a contender.

Editor's note: Ravi Shankar died on December 11, 2012 at the age of 92. At the time he was suffering from upper respiratory and heart-related issues.

Bharat Ratna Ravi Shankar (more frequently called simply "Ravi Shankar"), was a Bengali musician born on April 7, 1920.1 He died on December 11, 2012. In addition to being an established musician in his own right, he is also the estranged father of Grammy award winner Norah Jones, a fact which he is (understandably) less than eager to discuss with the media or the public.

Having fathered and then abandoned Norah Jones and her mother, Sue Jones, in Norah's early childhood, the matter of Shankar's relationship with Jones is one of much curiousity and speculation among both Jones' fans and Shankar's. Ravi Shankar's wife, Sukanya Shankar, says that "Nobody knows the inside story about our family except for us, really." Ravi Shankar's past, says Sukanya, "is nobody's business and inquiring about it intrudes on our privacy."2 This objection has had little effect, though, and the intrusion of a curious public still abounds.

So intense is the curiousity that as of October, 2003, Bollywood filmmaker Dev Anand was planning the release of a movie focusing on this very subject. The film would be titled Song of Life2 but no release date is yet set.

This public interest in one's private life is an unfortunate side effect of being famous, and the Shankar family's attitude of wanting to keep 'dirty laundry' private is shared by Jones, who now claims that she harbors no animosity toward her father.

Ravi and Sukanya Shankar also have another daughter, named Anouska, a sitarist who was nominated for a Grammy in her own right, and furthermore, has performed on one of Ravi's Grammy-award-winning albums.3

Editors note: Ravi Shankar died on December 11, 2012 at the age of 92. At the time he was suffering from upper-respiratory and heart related issues.

 


Notes

1. http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Ravi%20Shankar

2. Sukanya Shankar qtd. in The Globe and Mail, story by the Associated Press, at:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20031003.wnorah1004/BNStory/Entertainment/

3. Thanks to blue_bellied_lizard for assistance on this point.

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