Ravi Shankar, World Music Icon, Dead at 92
Ravi Shankar, the sitar virtuosuo whom Beatle George Harrison called the "godfather of world music," died Tuesday at the age of 92, reports the New York Daily News. Suffering from heart and respiratory issues, Shankar passed with his wife Rajan and daughter Anoushka alongside him.
Shankar brought traditional Indian music to the world, and throughout his years as a performer, had musical connections with the likes of The Beatles, David Crosby, and John Coltrane. He is also credited for conceptualizing the rock benefit concert and raised millions for destitute, third-world nations.
"He was legend of legends," Shivkumar Sharma, a musician who performed with Shankar, told Indian media. "Indian classical was not at all known in the Western world. He was the musician who had that training...the ability to communicate with the Western audience."
The Grammy-award winning musician had a close relationship with George Harrison, who brought Shankar's music into the global spotlight in the 1960s. In the early 1970s, the two came together and collaborated with Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, and Eric Clapton for two benefit concerts, which not only raised millions for UNICEF but also generated an album and film.
While Shankar's musical career appeared to have a straight path to success, his personal life was more complicated. In the early 1960s, he ended a 20-year marriage, which begat a son, and had a string of other relationships throughout his life—one of those being with concert promoter Sue Jones, who gave birth to their daughter, Grammy-award winning artist Norah Jones, in 1979. Although Jones and Shankar were known for having an estranged relationship, the two reconnected in later years.
Ultimately, Shankar found stability and love again with singer Sukanya Rajan, and the two married in 1989. They had a daughter Anoushka, who later became a Grammy-nominated sitarist and toured with her father.
Of Shankar's death, mother and daughter released the following statement: "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."
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