Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar

Infobox musical artist
Name = Ravi Shankar

Img_capt = Ravi Shankar playing the sitar.
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = non_vocal_instrumentalist
Birth_name = Pandit Ravi Shankar
Alias =
Born = Birth date and age|1920|4|7|mf=y
Benares, United Provinces, British India
Died =
Instrument = Sitar
Genre = Indian classical music
Occupation = Composer, sitar player
Years_active = 1939 – present
Label = HMV, Private Music
Associated_acts = Ustad Alla Rakha Yehudi Menuhin
URL = [http://www.ravishankar.org RaviShankar.org]
Notable_instruments =

Pandit Ravi Shankar ( _bn. রবি শংকর, Devanagari: रविशंकर, "Pandit" (Sanskrit, "learned") is honorific), born April 7, 1920, in Benares, United Provinces, British India is a Bengali Indian sitar player and composer; his family originates from East Bengal(later East Pakistan and now Bangladesh)] . He is a disciple of Baba Allauddin Khan, the founder of the Maihar gharana of Hindustani classical music. [ [http://www.ravishankar.org/bio.html Ravi Shankar - Biography ] ]

Ravi Shankar is a leading Indian instrumentalist of the modern era. He has been a longtime musical collaborator of tabla-players Pandit Chatur Lal and Ustad Allah Rakha, and intermittently also of sarod-player Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. His collaborations with violinist Yehudi Menuhin, film maker Satyajit Ray, and the The Beatles (in particular, George Harrison) added to his international reputation.

In 1999, Ravi Shankar was awarded the Bharat Ratna award, India's highest civilian honor.

He is the brother of renowned dancer Uday Shankar, uncle of fellow Indian musician Ananda Shankar, and the father of singer Norah Jones and sitarist Anoushka Shankar, who were born in 1979 and 1981 to Sue Jones and Sukanya Shankar respectively.

Musical career

Ravi's first public performances in India came in 1939. Formal training ended in 1944, and he worked out of Bombay. He began writing scores for film and ballet and started a recording career with HMV's Indian affiliate. He became music director of All India Radio in the 1950s. From 1946 onwards he began to compose original music for films. Some of his most noted scores include the ones for Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy and Richard Attenborough's Gandhi.

Ravi Shankar then became well known to the music world outside India, first performing in the former Soviet Union in 1954 and then the West in 1956. He performed in major events such as the Monterey Pop Festival and at major venues such as the Royal Festival Hall.

After reaching pop cultural fame, Shankar was invited to play venues that were unusual for a classical musician, such as the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival in Monterey, California, with Ustad Allah Rakha on tabla. He was also one of the artists who performed at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, and with George Harrison was one of the organizers of The Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, in an attempt to raise awareness of the growing crisis (see 1970 Bhola cyclone, Bangladesh Liberation War and 1971 Bangladesh atrocities carried out by West Pakistan Army) that was occurring in East Pakistan (now independent Bangladesh) at the hand of West Pakistan Army where Shankar's family origins lay. Ravi Shankar & Friends co-headlined Harrison's 1974 tour of North America with mixed reviews. His final working album with Harrison was on a 1997 album, Chants of India, where Harrison grew an interest in chant music. After his colleague's death on 29 November in 2001, following a long fight against cancer, Shankar, his daughter, Anoushka, along with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Billy Preston, among many others attended Concert for George in London, where Shankar dedicated the memorial to Harrison.

Shankar has been critical of some facets of the Western reception of Indian music. On a trip to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district after performing in Monterey, Shankar wrote, "I felt offended and shocked to see India being regarded so superficially and its great culture being exploited. Yoga, Tantra, mantra, kundalini, ganja, hashish, Kama Sutra? They all became part of a cocktail that everyone seemed to be lapping up!" In 1969 he published an English language autobiography, "My Music, My Life".

Shankar has written two concertos for sitar and orchestra, violin-sitar compositions for Yehudi Menuhin and himself, music for flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal, music for Hōzan Yamamoto, master of the shakuhachi (Japanese flute), and koto virtuoso Musumi Miyashita. He has composed extensively for films and ballets in India, Canada, Europe, and the United States, including "Chappaqua", "Charly", "Gandhi" (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award), and the "Apu Trilogy". His recording "Tana Mana", released on the Private Music label in 1987, penetrated the New Age genre with its unique combination of traditional instruments with electronics. In 2002, Ravi composed a piece for "The Concert for George." He did not play at the concert, but his daughter Anoushka led an ensemble of Indian musicians in the piece. The classical composer Philip Glass acknowledges Shankar as a major influence, and the two collaborated to produce "Passages", a recording of compositions in which each reworks themes composed by the other. Shankar also composed the sitar part in Glass's 2004 composition "Orion".

Ravi Shankar has homes in Encinitas, California; Warren, New Jersey, and New Delhi, Delhi, India.


Ravi Shankar has taught innumerable students in India and abroad. Significant contributions have been made to Indian music by Kartik Kumar (Sitar), Tarun Bhattacharya (Santoor), Jaya Bose(Sitar), Ronu Majumdar (Bansuri) and so on. All of them carry on the legacies of Ravi Shankar.

When he was based in Mumbai, Ravi Shankar taught a child prodigy sitar player Pandit Chandrakant Sardeshmukh. Shankar taught Sardeshmukh from the age of 8, from 1963 to 1976. He is the only common disciple between Ravi Shankar and Annapurna Devi. He is following in the footsteps of Ravi Shankar by promoting the Indian Traditions in Australia and Japan.

Anoushka Shankar started learning with him at the age of 10 and has already travelled with Ravi Shankar all over the world giving recitals in major European Countries as well as the United States.


Shankar is an honorary member of the International Rostrum of Composers. He has received many awards and honours from his own country and from all over the world, including 14 honorary doctorates, the Padma Vibhushan, Desikottam, the Magsaysay Award from Manila, three Grammy Awards, the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize (Grand Prize) from Japan, and the Crystal Award from Davos, with the title "Global Ambassador," to name but some. In 1986 he was nominated to be a member of the Rajya Sabha, India's upper house of Parliament, for six years. In 2002, he was conferred the inaugural Indian Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award. The Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, was awarded to him in 1999. In 1998 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize with Ray Charles. He shared an Academy Award nomination with George Fenton for Best Original Score to Gandhi (1982).


*Three Ragas (1956)
*Improvisations (1962)
*India's Most Distinguished Musician (1962)
*India's Master Musician (1963)
*In London (1964)
*Ragas & Talas (1964)
*Portrait of Genius (1964)
*Sound of the Sitar (1965)
*Live at Monterey (1967)
*In San Francisco (1967)
*West Meets East (1967)
*At the Monterey Pop Festival (1967)
*The Exotic Sitar and Sarod (1967)
*A Morning Raga / An Evening Raga (1968)
*The Sounds of India (1968)
*In New York (1968)
*At the Woodstock Festival (1969)
*The Concert for Bangladesh (1971)
*Raga (Soundtrack) (1972)
*In Concert 1972 (1973)
*Transmigration Macabre (SOUNDTRACK) (1973)
*Shankar Family & Friends (1974)
*Music Festival From India (1976)
*Homage to Mahatma Gandhi (1981)
*Räga-Mälä (Sitar Concerto No. 2) (1982)
*Pandit Ravi Shankar (1986)
*Tana Mana (1987)
*Inside The Kremlin (1988)
*Passages with Philip Glass (1990)
* (1995)
*Chants of India (1997)
*Concerto for Sitar & Orchestra with Andre Previn (1999)
* (2001)
* (Documentary-directed by [Mark Kidel] ) (2001)
*The Man and His Music (2005)
*Flowers of India (2007)


*Prominently figures in D.A. Pennebaker's classic documentary "Monterey Pop"
*Performed music for the animated short, "A Chairy Tale" (directed by Norman McLaren)
*"Music Direction Apu Trilogy" (directed by Satyajit Ray)
*Composed original score for "Alice in Wonderland" (1966, directed by Jonathan Miller)
*"Chappaqua" (1966, directed by Conrad Rooks)
*"Raga" (1971) (directed by Howard Worth)
*"The Concert for Bangladesh" (1971)
*"Music for Gandhi" (directed by Richard Attenborough) (Academy Award nomination for Shankar)
*"Concert for George" (2003)
*"Forbidden Image" (directed by Jeremy Marre)
*"Charly" (directed by Ralph Nelson)
*"Anuradha"- Composed the soundtrack for this 1960 Hindi movie
*Composed for a Brit art film 'Viola', with an album entitled 'Transmigration Macabre'


*"Raga Mala" (1997) (Autobiography edited by George Harrison)
*"Learning Indian music: A systematic approach (1979)"
*"My Music, My Life" (1968) (Autobiography)
*"Music memory (1967)"


External links

* [http://www.ravishankar.org Ravi Shankar Official Website]
* [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0706987535 His autobiography - "My Music, My Life"]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/audiointerviews/profilepages/shankarr1.shtml Audio excerpts from a 2000 interview for the BBC]
* [http://www.thedepaulia.com/story.asp?artid=2299&sectid=5 Ravi Shankar Interview 4/13/07]
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4578267 Stream and 2005 interview for his 85th birthday]
* [http://www.olivercraske.com/ravishankar/ravibioessay.htm EMI Biography]
* [http://www.mcsweeneys.net/links/sestinas/27RaviShankar.html Sestina by Shankar]
* [http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/may/13ravi.htm Hard to say no to free love: Ravi Shankar]
* [http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view?back=http%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3Fp%3Dravi%2Bshankar%26ei%3Dutf-8%26fr%3Dsfp%26xargs%3D0%26pstart%3D1%26b%3D19%26ni%3D18&w=225&h=215&imgurl=assets.mog.com%2Fpictures%2Fwikipedia%2F100156%2FRavi_shankar.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fmog.com%2Fmusic%2FRavi_Shankar&size=11.9kB&name=Ravi_shankar.jpg&p=ravi+shankar&type=JPG&oid=192fe30192d6de84&no=32&tt=13,231&sigr=111h9jkf9&sigi=11ptqufhp&sigb=137coife1]
*Leading British Conductor David Murphy - Mentored by Ravi Shankar

NAME=Shankar, Ravi
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=রবি শঙ্কর (Bengali); Shôngkor, Robi (Bengali transliteration)
DATE OF BIRTH=April 7 1920
PLACE OF BIRTH=Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

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