Pandit Ravi Shankar would have turned 96 today and search giant Google has dedicated today’s doodle to the sitar maestro. The doodle depicts an upright sitar set amidst the background of a delicate green creeper in the shape of the word, ‘Google’. By clicking on the doodle, one is re-directed to the musician’s Wikipedia page.
Pandit Ravi Shankar, the great sitar maestro regaled the world audience with his rendition of the sitar, inspiring many other musicians all over the world. Ravi Shankar who was born in 1920 was the youngest of five siblings. The early years of his life were spent largely in Europe with his father and brother where he studied in the Parisian schools besides being a member of his brother’s dance troupe. The combined influences of the Western and Indian musical traditions were to help him in his musical career later.
Early Career & Learning
Panditji began learning the sitar under Allaudin Khan who was his music teacher, his mentor, his guru, his life guide; he meant everything to him. On completion of his sitar training, Panditji came to Mumbai for a job. He worked first at the Indian people’s Theatre Association and then he moved on to the New Delhi radio station All India Radio as a music director.
In the 1965s, the Beatles guitarist, George Harrison began learning the sitar under Panditji and also played it in one of their tracks, ‘Norwegian Wood’. All the while, Panditji’s musical compositions were receiving wide acclaim and it was around 1967 that he collaborated with Yehudi Menuhin to perform and compose music.
Fame & Awards
The years spanning the 1970s through the early 21st century saw the steady rise of Panditji’s fame and recognition. Many awards and honors came his way during his lifetime. Two Grammies, 14 honorary degrees, membership to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the country’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, Panditji earned it all.
Pandit Ravi Shankar is survived by two daughters both musicians in their own right.