Ravi ShankarComposer / Sitar Player
Born: 7 April 1920
Died: 11 December 2012
Birthplace: Varanasi, India
Best known as:
The sitar virtuoso who influenced The Beatles
Name at birth: Robindro Shankar
Ravi Shankar was the 20th century's most famous player of the complex stringed instrument known as the sitar. The 1950s were possibly Shankar's most creative period: he composed and performed, worked as musical director of All-India Radio in Delhi, created the Vadya Vrinda Chamber Orchestra, scored films (most notably the Apu Trilogy of director Satyajit Ray) and began touring the world and winning acclaim for himself and for Indian music. In the 1960s, Ravi Shankar grew still more famous for his influence on The Beatles, who used a sitar in some of their more psychedelic tunes. (Shankar was particular friends with George Harrison, who produced some of Shankar's later albums.) As years passed, Ravi Shankar became known less as a performer and more as an elder statesman of world music. In 2000 he was given the French Legion of Honor, and in 2001 he was awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.
Ravi Shankar's daughter, Anoushka Shankar Wright, also is a popular sitarist... Shankar was the father of vocalist Norah Jones; she was his daughter with an American woman, Sue Jones... Like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, Ravi Shankar played at Woodstock... He was often called Pandit Ravi Shankar; "Pandit" is an Indian term meaning a scholar, teacher or expert.
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