Ravi Shankar (1920 - 2012)

The "godfather of world music" and Beatles associate has died following surgery in San Diego.

Ravi Shankar, the Indian sitar maestro, has died aged 92. He had been admitted to the Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego last week, but did not fully recover from surgery that would have “potentially given him a new lease of life”, his wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka said in a statement.

Shankar was known for his association with The Beatles, with George Harrison famously describing him as “the godfather of world music”. Shankar was originally a dancer in his brother’s troupe, but gave up dancing to study the sitar at 18. For seven years he studied under Baba Allaudin Khan and became well-known in India for his virtuoso sitar playing.

In 1999, Shankar was awarded the highest civilian citation in India – the Bharat Ratna, or Jewel of India. For the last years of his life, Shankar lived in California with his wife. In a statement, his wife and daughter said “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. He will live forever in our hearts and in his music.”

You can listen to Ravi Shankar’s 1964 LP in full below. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

Update: In celebration of Ravi Shankar’s life, Trunk Records have just announced that they are giving away a free download of his debut LP ‘Music Of India – Ragas And Talas’, for one day only. Head here to get your copy.

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