Ravi Shankar (7 April 1920 – 11 December 2012) was an Indian sitarist and composer. A maestro of the sitar, he became one of the world’s most prominent exporters of North Indian classical music in the late 20th century, influencing many musicians in India and around the world. Shankar was awarded India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, in 1999.
Born into a Brahmin family in Bengal, India, Shankar spent his adolescence as a dancer, touring India and Europe with his brother Uday Shankar’s dance company. In 1938, he quit dancing to study with court musician Alauddin Khan and learn to play the sitar. After completing his studies in 1944, Shankar worked as a composer, composing the music for Satyajit Ray’s Apoo trilogy.
The youngest of seven children, Shankar was born into a Bengali family in Benares (now Varanasi), then the capital of the monarchy of the same name. His father, Shyam Shankar Chowdhury, was a lawyer and scholar at Middle-His Temple from East Bengal (now Bangladesh). A prominent statesman, lawyer and statesman, he served as his Dewan (Prime Minister) of Jalawar, Rajasthan for several years and used the Sanskrit spelling of his surname, dropping the last part. Shyam married Hemangini Devi, who came from a small village called Nasrapur in Mardabrok in the Gazipur district near Benares, and her father was a wealthy landowner. Shyam later worked as a lawyer in London, England and it was there that he married for the second time, while Devi raised Shankar in Benares and did not meet her son until he was eight years old.
Shankar’s parents died when he returned from a European tour, and political conflicts leading to World War II made traveling across the West difficult and went to Maihar to study Indian classical music as a Khan student and live with his family in the traditional Gurukul system. Khan was a strict teacher, Shankar was trained in sitar and surbahar, studied raga and dhrupad, damar and kyar musical styles, he learned the instrumental techniques of rudra, veena, rhubarb and surshingal.
Shankar completed his education in 1944. He moved to Mumbai and joined the Indian People’s Theater Society, in 1945 and he composed ballet music in 1946. Shankar composed the music for the popular song “Sare Jahan Se Achcha” when he was 25 years old. He began recording music for his HMV India and from February 1949 he was Music Director of All India Radio (AIR) in New Delhi until January 1956. In his compositions he combined western and classical Indian instruments.
Shankar won a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance for West Meets East, a collaboration with Yehudi Menuhin. In May 1967, he opened the Western branch of the Kinnara School of Music in Los Angeles and published his autobiography, My Music, My Life, in 1968. In 1968 he composed the score for the film Charlie. He performed at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969. In the late 1960s, Shankar distanced himself from the hippie movement and drug culture.
From 12 May 1986 until 11 May 1992 he was appointed Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and served as a member of the Rajasabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. Shankar composed his drama Ghanashyam Dance in 1989. His liberal views on musical collaborations led him to contemporary composer Philippe. George Harrison organized the Bangladesh Charity Concert in August 1971, in which Shankar also participated. In the 1970s, Shankar and Harrison worked together again, recording Shankar Family & Friends in 1973, and the following year Shankar toured Europe at a Harrison-sponsored Indian music festival, followed by a tour of North America to mixed response. bottom. Shankar wrote his second autobiography, Raga Mala, with Harrison as editor.
Shankar developed a style distinct from that of his contemporaries, incorporating influences from the rhythmic practices of Carnatic music. His performances begin with solo his alap, jor, jhala, followed by tabla accompaniment sections and compositions generally associated with his Khyal style.
On December 9, 2012, Shankar was admitted to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, San Diego, California, complaining of difficulty breathing. He died on December 11, 2012 after heart valve replacement surgery. He was known for his efforts to introduce Indian music to the West and for his influence on American and British popular music. With Shankar’s success, Indian influence on Western pop music and jazz expanded, and hybrid his genres such as raga his rock developed.