December 12, 2012

Indian sitar virtuoso Shankar dies at 92

Ravi Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music.

Muneeza Naqvi and Ravi Nessman / Associated Press

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Indian musician Ravi Shankar was a sitar virtuoso who became a hippie musical icon of the 1960s after hobnobbing with the Beatles and who introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over an eight-decade career.

2005 Associated Press File Photo

He married Rajan in 1989 and trained young Anoushka as his heir on the sitar. In recent years, father and daughter toured the world together.

The statement she and her mother released said, "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 part of our lives."

When Jones shot to stardom and won five Grammy awards in 2003, Anoushka Shankar was nominated for a Grammy of her own.

Shankar himself won three Grammy awards and was nominated for an Oscar for his musical score for the movie "Gandhi." His album "The Living Room Sessions, Part 1" earned him his latest Grammy nomination, for best world music album.

Despite his fame, numerous albums and decades of world tours, Shankar's music remained a riddle to many Western ears.

Shankar was amused after he and colleague Ustad Ali Akbar Khan were greeted with admiring applause when they opened the Concert for Bangladesh by twanging their sitar and sarod for a minute and a half.

"If you like our tuning so much, I hope you will enjoy the playing more," he told the confused crowd, and then launched into his set.

 

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