Ravi Shankar

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About Ravi Shankar

In a career that spanned decades, sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar brought worldwide attention to the intricate melodies and shimmering drones of Indian classical music. A prolific performer and educator, Shankar showcased his elegant playing style in countless albums and live performances, while his mentorship of other artists—including George Harrison of The Beatles—helped bring the sitar to the Western pop canon. Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury was born in 1920 in Varanasi, India. Raised in an affluent Bengali family, he got his start in his early teens performing in a Hindu dance troupe alongside his brother Uday, but eventually he focused on the sitar under the tutelage of Allauddin Khan. He toured with his ornate stringed instrument in the United States and Europe for the first time in 1956, and a series of albums released internationally over the next decade offered a master class in the rapturous nuances of Indian raga. While Shankar was especially productive in the ’60s and ’70s (he even played at Woodstock in 1969), he never really slowed down, maintaining a steady schedule of recording and touring until his death in 2012 at the age of 92. His daughters Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar have pursued successful music careers of their own.

HOMETOWN
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
BORN
April 7, 1920
GENRE
Indian Classical
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