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Ravi Shankar was born as Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury on 7 April 1920 in Varanasi to a Bengali Brahmin family. Shankar spent his youth touring Europe and India with the dance group of his brother Uday Shankar. Shankar gave up dancing to study sitar playing under court musician Allauddin Khan and had training on sitar and surbahar, learned ragas and the musical styles dhrupad, dhamar and khyal.
Shankar worked as a composer for the Apu Trilogy, Godaan and Anuradha. Shankar founded the Kinnara School of Music in Mumbai in 1962. Shankar opened a Western branch of the Kinnara School of Music in Los Angeles, California, in May 1967. He published an autobiography, My Music, My Life, in 1968. Pt Shankar engaged Western music by writing concerti for sitar and orchestra. He served as a nominated member of Rajya Sabha from 1986 to 1992.
Shankar was first married to Annapurna Devi with whom he had a son. The couple was later separated. He later had an affair with a New York concert producer Sue Jones and had daughter Norah Jones with her. Shankar later married Sukanya Rajan with whom he had daughter Anoushka Shankar. The maestro was very passionate about music and continued to perform up until the end of his life. He died on 11 December 2012 in California.
Music Career of the Maestro:
One of the prominent sitar players of the second half of the 20th century, Pt Ravi Ravi Shankar's style was distinct from that of his contemporaries. He incorporated influences from rhythm practices of Carnatic music. He popularized performing on the bass octave of the sitar for the alap section and became known for a distinctive playing style in the middle and high registers that used quick and short deviations of the playing string and his sound creation through stops and strikes on the main playing string. Shankar's interplay with tabla maestro Alla Rakha improved appreciation for tabla playing in Hindustani classical music. Shankar promoted the jugalbandi duet concert style and claims to have introduced new ragas Tilak Shyam, Nat Bhairav and Bairagi.
Shankar worked as a composer and created the music for the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray which became internationally acclaimed. Shankar was also the music director for several Hindi movies including Godaan and Anuradha. He was also music director of All India Radio, New Delhi from 1949 to 1956. In the 1950s Shankar became the first Indian classical musician to perform on American television and record a full raga performance for Angel Records. Shankar's tour to Europe and the Americas playing Indian classical music increased its popularity there in the 1960s. The maestro was involved in teaching and performance and had association with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and Beatles guitarist George Harrison which thereby increasing the popularity of sitar outside India. During the 1960s he became the first Indian to compose music for non-Indian films.
Awards and Honours of Ravi Shankar
Pt Ravi Shankar has been the recipient of many awards and honours for his distinctive contribution to music. He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1962. In 1967 he was honored with the Padma Bhushan and in 1981 the Padma Vibhushan by the government of India. The Indian government honored him with the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in 1999. In 1992 the maestro was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award. He was awarded the Silver Bear Extraordinary Prize of the Jury at the 1957 Berlin International Film Festival. The maestro also had three Grammy Awards.
Words and Wishes:
"The demise of Panditji is a massive loss, not only for India but the world. He took our music to the western world. Even someone as great as the Beatles became his followers. He made the country proud."
"Ravi Shankar . Musician , Composer , Dancer & the only global Indian superstar . RIP"
"Pandit Ravi Shanker a national treasure has "left us forever". But his music will resonate in the consciousness of the world forever!!"
"Farewell and Away to beautiful peace Ravi Shankar @bishi_music the soundtrack to our dream days in 1997 x patrick"
"rest in peace sweet ravi shankar. i hope you're making music again with george. instagr.am/p/TIEGq7OnYC/"
Dr Manmohan Singh
"An era has passed away with Pt. Ravishankar. The nation joins me to pay tributes to his unsurpassable genius, his art and his humility."
"an entire life, an era, a most incredible period in the history of classical music in India has come to an end".
Ustad Zakir Hussain
"Beings like him don't die. They just go back to heaven to take their rightful place amongst Gods. Today, with his presence, heaven is enriched. Farewell Ravi uncle."
Children: Anoushka Shankar, Norah Jones, Shubhendra Shankar
(FAN OF Shri ROBINDRO SHAUNKOR CHOWDHURY)
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