Known  as an contemporary Indian musician Ravi Shankar,  master sitar player passed away Tuesday at a hospital near his home in San Diego, CA.  Born Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury in 1920,  was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1999, and received three Grammy Awards. He continued to perform in the 2000s.  Shankar last played on Nov. 4 in Long Beach with his daughter Anoushka Shankar, also a renowned sitarist. A week prior, Shankar learned he had been nominated for the best world music album Grammy for “The Living Room Sessions Part 1.”

In the 1960s  Beatles guitarist George Harrison, sought  out the help of Shankar to  improve his sitar playing, which he first tried on the “Rubber Soul” classic “Norwegian Wood” in 1965.  Harrison’s improved playing of the  sitar can be heard on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” track, “Within You Without You” which won a Grammy Award for album of the year in 1967.

The three-time Grammy winner charted five albums on the Billboard over the course of his career, with the highest-charting being the 1967 release “Ravi Shankar at the Monterey International Pop Festival”.  Most recently, his “Collaborations” set with George Harrison peaked at No. 3 in 2010.

He’s survived by his wife, Sukanya, daughters Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.


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