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Ravi Shankar Passes at 92

George Harrison and Ravi Shankar
(Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

Legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar died yesterday (December 11th) at age 92, according to the BBC. Shankar, who was considered among the greatest musicians to have ever lived, died in San Diego’s Scripps Memorial Hospital after being admitted last week after complaining of breathing difficulties. In addition to his own work, he is known to a new generation as the father of musicians Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar. Both Ravi and Anoushka are up for 2013 Grammys in the World Music category. Shankar broke onto the Western rock scene with his 1967 appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival.

His friendship and tutelage of George Harrison on the sitar, can be marked as the moment when world music became globally accepted. Harrison collaborated with Shankar numerous times over the years and had him serve as the opening act for 1971’s The Concert For Bangladesh. Harrison produced material for him, toured with him in 1974, and had him serve as the principle artist of his own label Dark Horse Records.

In 2010, the three-CD, one-DVD box set, Collaborations, featuring highlights of their works was released to critical acclaim.

Following the Beatles’ final tour in August 1966, George Harrison and his wife Pattie Boyd flew to India to meet with Ravi Shankar — a connection, which Boyd felt was key to her and Harrison’s spiritual development: “I knew that I was extremely lucky to be with Ravi Shankar, who guided us and told us and explained the culture of India and how the whole system worked. And I think without that knowledge, to just turn up, it’s a bit too mind-blowing ’cause you just can’t get the measure of it. Unless you understand their culture, you don’t get it properly. You need a bit of instruction.”

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