Sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar is not a name typically known by the average American, but he is one whose influence has been felt for decades throughout the modern music community. Chances are you have been impacted by him without even knowing it. Consider the following about Ravi Shankar:
- Taught George Harrison to play the sitar.
- Composed the music score for Ghandi—nominated for an Oscar.
- Won three Grammy Awards.
- Father of Norah Jones, who has won eight Grammy Awards.
- John Coltrane named his son after him.
Yesterday, December 11, Ravi Shankar passed away in a hospital near his San Diego home as a result of upper-respiratory and heart issues. He was 92.
While sitar players usually don’t become world-renown, Shankar’s rise to fame as a global figure largely hinged on his association with the rock artists of his day, particularly George Harrison of The Beatles. This resulted in Shankar playing for major musical events such as Woodstock (1969) and the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. His participation in the pop/rock culture helped to place Indian music in a large place of influence on the modern pop and rock styles of the day. Shankar went on to work with Harrison to coordinate the historic Concert for Bangladesh, the resulting album of which went on to garner a Grammy in 1972 for Album of the Year.
While memorial plans are still in the works, the Recording Academy has already announced that Shankar will be honored posthumously with a fourth Grammy, the Lifetime Achievement Award, at the Grammy Awards in February 2013.
RIP, Ravi Shankar.