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Ravi Shankar was an Indian musician and composer best known for popularizing the sitar and Indian classical music in Western culture.
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All the while, he continued to compose orchestral music blending Western and Indian instrumentation, including a collaboration with Phillip Glass: the 1990 album Passages.
Throughout his career, Shankar received criticism for not being a classical purist from some Indian traditionalists. In response, the musician once said, "I have experimented with non-Indian instruments, even electronic gadgets. But all my experiences were based on Indian ragas. When people discuss tradition,
they don't know what they are talking about. Over centuries, classical music has undergone addition, beautification, and improvement—always sticking to its traditional basis. Today, the difference is that the changes are faster."
Shankar won many awards and honors throughout his career, including 14 honorary degrees, two Grammy Awards, and a membership to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Shankar died on December 11, 2012, in San Diego, California, at the age of 92. The musician had reportedly suffered from upper respiratory and heart ailments throughout 2012, and had undergone surgery to replace a heart valve in the days leading up to his death. Shankar was survived by two daughters who are also musicians, sitar player Anoushka Shankar and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Norah Jones.
Known fondly today as the "godfather of world music," Shankar is remembered for using his wealth of talent to infuse Indian culture into the world's forever-growing music scene, and is largely credited with building a large following for Eastern music in the West.
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