Sitar master Ravi Shankar dies at 92

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SAN DIEGO — Ravi Shankar, the Indian sitarist and longtime Encinitas resident who played an influential role for The Beatles, died in San Diego Tuesday, his family announced. He was 92.

Shankar, the father of five-time Grammy winning singer Norah Jones, died at 4:30 p.m., according to a statement on his website.

Shankar underwent heart valve replacement surgery last week, Stuart Wolferman, a publicist for his record label, Unfinished Side Productions, told the Los Angeles Times.

Shankar taught Beatle guitarist George Harrison how to play the sitar in the 1960s, and Harrison used it for “Within You Without You” on the 1967 album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Pandit Ravi ShankarShankar’s collaboration with Harrison led to the first big rock music benefit, the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971. It was actually two shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City, featuring Harrison, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Shankar, that raised funds for war refugees.

Harrison produced and participated in two albums with Shankar, “Shankar Family & Friends” and Festival of India.”

Harrison, who died in 2001, called Shankar “the godfather of world music.”

Shankar also performed at two of rock music’s most famous concerts — Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festival.

Shankar also authored violin-sitar compositions for Yehudi Menuhin and himself, music for flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal and collaborated with composer Phillip Glass.

Shankar also composed for movies and ballets.

“His genius and his humanity can only be compared to that of Mozart’s,” Menuhin, who died in 1999, once said.

Shankar trained his other daughter, Anoushka Shankar, on the sitar and she has been nominated for a Grammy Award.

Shankar was a lecturer at UC San Diego. He gave his final concert Nov. 4 at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach.

In addition to his daughters, Shankar is survived by his wife, Sukanya, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

The family released a statement regarding his passing:

“We know that you all feel our loss with us, and we thank you for all of your prayers and good wishes through this difficult time. 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 a part of our lives. His spirit and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in his music.”

Memorial plans were not immediately released.

7 comments

  • NZA

    Am I the only one noticing that the two still pictures behind the news anchors are NOT Ravi Shankar? That is too funny!

  • m G r

    Ravi. brother, we have learned from one of the best. and you have had an amazing life. you were so talented with your strings, the citar and many other instruments. i play alittle myself and your lessons and love have transcended space and time, they will forever stay with US as you will in hour hearts. tho this is a time of mourning, no epitaphs have to read sorrow, i know you are resting peacefully and you are in a good place, its a beautiful space between dimensional strings merging and quantum energies, you can play those strings now and angels will sing behind them. and i feel you watching over those who are survived by you and you will continue living through them, all sensory. that is a beautiful thing my old friend. ..perhaps you can send me some of that positive energy from where are you, lord knows i need it, not to sound subjective. I will cherish your memory and the memories you have given so many in this lifetime. you are loved deeply and will be remembered always. <3-matthew

  • Sanjay

    Dear Fox5 SD team,

    The picture you are showing in the news is of Sri Sri Ravishankar who is another personality from India, I hope you would not mind correcting this mistake.

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