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Sitar Maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar Dies at 92 in California

By: for The Times of India on Dec. 14, 2012
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Ravi Shankar and George Harrison

Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar passed away in San Diego, US, On Tuesday evening. He was admitted to Scripps Memorial Hospital last Thursday after he complained of breathlessness. He was 92.

The Prime Minister of India has condoled the death of the musician who was the "global ambassador of India's cultural heritage".

Ravi Shankar, who trained under Baba Allauddin Khan of the Senia Maihar gharana, enjoyed worldwide popularity and known for his in-depth understanding of various styles and schools of music. In 1966, he met George Harrison, lead guitarist of The Beatles in London. Harrison later came to India to learn to play the sitar from Ravi Shankar. The sitar was, most famously, used in The Beatles 'Norwegian Wood', catapulting Ravi Shankar to greater international acclaim.

"He brought Indian classical music to north America. With the collaboration with The Beatles, he took it to the world stage. He was always on the lookout for fresh talent and introduced many Carnatic and Hindustani musicians to the west," said V V Sundaram, a friend of the family and founder of the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival, the largest Indian classical music festival outside India.

Members of the music fraternity in India also paid tribute to the musician. "We have lost one of our biggest stars in the world of music," said singer Kailash Kher, adding that Ravishankar helped spread Indian music in the west and collaborated with musicians abroad. He also took the sitar, a fairly unknown instrument, to great heights, he said.

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