CreaseCrusader91 Posted December 14, 2012 Share Posted December 14, 2012 Ravi Shankar, the sitar virtuoso and composer who died on Tuesday at 92, created a passion among Western audiences for the rhythmically vital, melodically flowing ragas of classical Indian music — a fascination that had expanded by the mid-1970s into a flourishing market for world music of all kinds. A Beatle Was Intrigued In particular, his work with two young semi-apprentices in the 1960s — George Harrison of the Beatles and the composer Philip Glass, a founder of Minimalism — was profoundly influential on both popular and classical music. Western interest in his instrument, the sitar, exploded in 1965 when Harrison encountered one on the set of “Help!,” the Beatles’ second film. Harrison was intrigued by the instrument, with its small rounded body, long neck and resonating gourd at the top, and its complexity: it has 6 melody strings and 25 sympathetic strings, which are not played but which resonate freely as the other strings are plucked. He soon learned its rudiments and used it that year on a Beatles recording, “Norwegian Wood.” The Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Byrds and other rock groups followed suit, although few went as far as Harrison, who recorded several songs on Beatles albums with Indian musicians rather than with his band mates. By the summer of 1967 the sitar was in vogue. At first Mr. Shankar reveled in the attention his connection with popular culture had brought him, and he performed for huge audiences at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 and at Woodstock in 1969. He also performed, with the tabla virtuoso Alla Rakha and the sarod player Ali Akbar Khan, at an all-star concert at Madison Square Garden in 1971 that Harrison had organized to help Mr. Shankar raise money for victims of political upheaval in Bangladesh. Full story and at the NY Times ------ Missed this news the other day, but R.I.P. to a pioneer whose music really influenced many artists during the 1970s. For those who don't know much about Shankar, you might be familiar with his daughter, Norah Jones. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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