Daughters accept Ravi Shankar’s Grammy

Posted by: Adhika | Posted on: February 11th, 2013 | No Comments

Daughters accept Ravi Shankar’s Grammy

Ms. Anoushka Shankar, a reputed sitarist herself, and Ms. Jones, who has carved a niche as a singer-songwriter, attended the pre-Grammy ceremony at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre to accept the honour bestowed on their iconic father, who passed away on December 11, 2012 at the age of 92.

“We know he was very excited to be receiving this award.

We really miss him. He lived and breathed music. He was tapping out rhythms on the breakfast table and making me do five over seven… I am still trying to get it. We are very happy to accept the award for him,” said nine-time Grammy winner Ms. Jones (33).

“It was 60 days ago today that he passed away. It’s kind of difficult to be standing up here, like Norah said, I am thrilled that he knew about this award before he passed away at least.

But I wish we weren’t standing up here for him,” said Ms. Anoushka Shankar (31), who has accompanied her father at concerts all around the world.

“I want to say thanks to my mom… He did his last performance just a few weeks before he died and I believe she was the reason he was able to be as healthy and strong as he was. I am eternally grateful to her for that.

“My father always said that music could create world peace because it had the potential to raise the consciousness of people… When I watched him play what moved me was this incredible meditative state where he could take people,” she added.

In addition to the Grammy Awards, The Recording Academy presents Special Merit Awards recognising contributions of significance to the recording field, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical Grammy Award.

 

Obituary: Ravi Shankar, sitar player and composer

A look back at the life of Ravi Shankar

Sitar player and composer Ravi Shankar, who has died aged 92, played a leading role in promoting and popularising classical Indian music around the world. He introduced the Beatles to the Indian sounds that informed their later music.

Multiple Grammy Award winner, Shankar was described as “the godfather of world music” by George Harrison, the Beatles’ lead guitarist.

Shankar became a superstar in the Western world, but was always drawn back to the revered traditions of the sitar.

Born in April 1920, he spent his early years in the holy city of Benares (Varanasi), in modest circumstances.

The family rarely saw Shankar’s father, a prominent lawyer, and when Shankar’s eldest brother, Uday, made a name for himself in Europe by forming his own dance company, their mother and the other three boys joined him in Paris.

Indian ‘Mozart’

There they mixed with luminaries like the novelist Gertrude Stein, classical guitarist Andres Segovia and the songwriter Cole Porter.

Touring Europe and North America, Ravi Shankar performed first as a dancer, but was captivated when the virtuoso Indian musician, “Baba” Allauddin Khan, played with the troupe.

Back in India, Shankar dedicated himself to seven years of studying the sitar with “Baba”.

“Khan told me you have to leave everything else and do one thing properly,” Shankar later said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Shankar married his teacher’s daughter and, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, built a reputation for himself as a classical soloist and composer of innovative stage musicals and film scores.

He later received an Oscar nomination for the film, Gandhi.

The violinist Yehudi Menuhin was enchanted by Ravi Shankar’s music, comparing his genius to Mozart.

The pair became close friends and together issued three volumes of East Meets West recordings.

Ravi Shankar in 1967 Hippie idol: Ravi Shankar pictured in 1967

But it was Shankar’s 1966 meeting with the Beatles, and especially Harrison, that was to make him a hippie idol. Harrison had already played sitar on the band’s Norwegian Wood. Shankar, who was typically direct, said “it sounded horrible”.

Shankar’s appearances at the Monterey and Woodstock festivals were not an entirely happy experience. He was disturbed by the drug-taking of the flower power scene and hurt by Indian critics who said he was becoming “Americanised”.

Famous daughters

His own doubts that many of his Western audience derived anything meaningful from his music were confirmed at one of the concerts to raise funds for the Bangladesh refugee crisis of 1971, when his three-and-a-half minute tuning session was greeted by an ovation.

Shankar set about rebuilding his domestic audience, performing ancient ragas in traditional form, but also retained his international profile.

While living with his second wife in San Diego, he enjoyed the blossoming talent on sitar of his daughter, Anoushka, with whom he played on tour.

Ravi Shankar teaches George Harrison the sitar

But it was the daughter from an earlier relationship, the multi Grammy-winning singer Norah Jones, who claimed more attention.

Shankar continued to be a bridge between East and West right into his 80s. More precious to him, though, were the traditions of India: yoga, dance, the philosophical ideas and, above all, the music.

His last performance was with Anoushka on 4 November in Long Beach, California, to mark his 10th decade.

Special thanks to BBC and DNAIndia for this special content. Please do join us on our facebook group ‘Prem United’ for extra comments, new blog posts, and story updates!

 

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