68 Facts About Ravi Shankar


Ravi Shankar, was an Indian sitarist and composer.


Ravi Shankar was born to a Bengali Brahmin family in India, and spent his youth as a dancer touring India and Europe with the dance group of his brother Uday Ravi Shankar.


Ravi Shankar gave up dancing in 1938 to study sitar playing under court musician Allauddin Khan.


In 1956, Ravi Shankar began to tour Europe and the Americas playing Indian classical music and increased its popularity there in the 1960s through teaching, performance, and his association with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and Beatles guitarist George Harrison.


Ravi Shankar engaged Western music by writing compositions for sitar and orchestra and toured the world in the 1970s and 1980s.


Ravi Shankar continued to perform until the end of his life.


Ravi Shankar was born on 7 April 1920 in Benares, then the capital of the eponymous princely state, in a Bengali family, as the youngest of seven brothers.


Ravi Shankar's father, Shyam Shankar Chowdhury, was a Middle Temple barrister and scholar who originally from Jessore district, East Bengal.


Ravi Shankar had five siblings: Uday, Rajendra, Debendra and Bhupendra.


Ravi Shankar attended the Bengalitola High School in Benares between 1927 and 1928.


At the age of 10, after spending his first decade in Benares, Ravi Shankar went to Paris with the dance group of his brother, choreographer Uday Ravi Shankar.


Uday's dance group travelled Europe and the United States in the early to mid-1930s and Ravi Shankar learned French, discovered Western classical music, jazz, cinema and became acquainted with Western customs.


Ravi Shankar was sporadically trained by Khan on tour, and Khan offered Ravi Shankar training to become a serious musician under the condition that he abandon touring and come to Maihar.


Ravi Shankar's parents had died by the time he returned from the Europe tour, and touring the West had become difficult because of political conflicts that would lead to World War II.


Ravi Shankar gave up his dancing career in 1938 to go to Maihar and study Indian classical music as Khan's pupil, living with his family in the traditional gurukul system.


Khan was a rigorous teacher and Ravi Shankar had training on sitar and surbahar, learned ragas and the musical styles dhrupad, dhamar, and khyal, and was taught the techniques of the instruments rudra veena, rubab, and sursingar.


Ravi Shankar often studied with Khan's children Ali Akbar Khan and Annapurna Devi.


Ravi Shankar began to perform publicly on sitar in December 1939 and his debut performance was a jugalbandi with Ali Akbar Khan, who played the string instrument sarod.


Ravi Shankar moved to Mumbai and joined the Indian People's Theatre Association, for whom he composed music for ballets in 1945 and 1946.


Ravi Shankar recomposed the music for the popular song "Sare Jahan Se Achcha" at the age of 25.


Ravi Shankar began to record music for HMV India and worked as a music director for All India Radio, New Delhi, from February 1949 until January 1956.


Ravi Shankar founded the Indian National Orchestra at AIR and composed for it; in his compositions he combined Western and classical Indian instrumentation.


Ravi Shankar was music director for several Hindi movies including Godaan and Anuradha.


Ravi Shankar had performed as part of a cultural delegation in the Soviet Union in 1954 and Menuhin invited Ravi Shankar in 1955 to perform in New York City for a demonstration of Indian classical music, sponsored by the Ford Foundation.


Ravi Shankar heard about the positive response Khan received and resigned from AIR in 1956 to tour the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States.


Ravi Shankar played for smaller audiences and educated them about Indian music, incorporating ragas from the South Indian Carnatic music in his performances, and recorded his first LP album Three Ragas in London, released in 1956.


In 1958, Ravi Shankar participated in the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the United Nations and UNESCO music festival in Paris.


Ravi Shankar founded the Kinnara School of Music in Mumbai in 1962.


Ravi Shankar befriended Richard Bock, founder of World Pacific Records, on his first American tour and recorded most of his albums in the 1950s and 1960s for Bock's label.


In 1967, Ravi Shankar performed a well-received set at the Monterey Pop Festival.


Ravi Shankar won a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance for West Meets East, a collaboration with Yehudi Menuhin.


Ravi Shankar opened a Western branch of the Kinnara School of Music in Los Angeles, in May 1967, and published an autobiography, My Music, My Life, in 1968.


Ravi Shankar performed at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969, and found he disliked the venue.


In October 1970, Ravi Shankar became chair of the Department of Indian Music of the California Institute of the Arts after previously teaching at the City College of New York, the University of California, Los Angeles, and being guest lecturer at other colleges and universities, including the Ali Akbar College of Music.


In late 1970, the London Symphony Orchestra invited Ravi Shankar to compose a concerto with sitar.


Ravi Shankar performed at the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971, held at Madison Square Garden in New York.


For, as Ravi Shankar explained, 90 percent of all the music played was improvised.


In November and December 1974, Ravi Shankar co-headlined a North American tour with George Harrison.


Ravi Shankar toured and taught for the remainder of the 1970s and the 1980s and released his second concerto, Raga Mala, conducted by Zubin Mehta, in 1981.


Ravi Shankar was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score for his work on the 1982 movie Gandhi.


Ravi Shankar performed in Moscow in 1988, with 140 musicians, including the Russian Folk Ensemble and members of the Moscow Philharmonic, along with his own group of Indian musicians.


Ravi Shankar served as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper chamber of the Parliament of India, from 12 May 1986 to 11 May 1992, after being nominated by Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.


Ravi Shankar performed between 25 and 40 concerts every year during the late 1990s.


Ravi Shankar taught his daughter Anoushka Ravi Shankar to play sitar and in 1997 became a Regents' Professor at University of California, San Diego.


Ravi Shankar performed with Anoushka for the BBC in 1997 at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham, England.


In June 2008, Ravi Shankar played what was billed as his last European concert, but his 2011 tour included dates in the United Kingdom.


Ravi Shankar went on to help popularize Shankar and the use of Indian instruments in pop music throughout the 1960s.


Ravi Shankar thought it rather amusing that George took to him so much, but he and George really bonded.


Ravi Shankar realised that it wasn't just a fashion for George, that he had dedication.


Ravi Shankar had such integrity, and was someone to be respected, and at the same time huge fun.


Ravi Shankar wrote a second autobiography, Raga Mala, with Harrison as editor.


Ravi Shankar developed a style distinct from that of his contemporaries and incorporated influences from rhythm practices of Carnatic music.


Ravi Shankar's performances begin with solo alap, jor, and jhala influenced by the slow and serious dhrupad genre, followed by a section with tabla accompaniment featuring compositions associated with the prevalent khyal style.


Ravi Shankar often closed his performances with a piece inspired by the light-classical thumri genre.


Ravi Shankar has been considered one of the top sitar players of the second half of the 20th century.


Ravi Shankar popularised 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.


Hans Neuhoff of Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart has argued that Ravi Shankar's playing style was not widely adopted and that he was surpassed by other sitar players in the performance of melodic passages.


Ravi Shankar introduced at least 31 new ragas, including Nat Bhairav, Ahir Lalit, Rasiya, Yaman Manjh, Gunji Kanhara, Janasanmodini, Tilak Shyam, Bairagi, Mohan Kauns, Manamanjari, Mishra Gara, Pancham Se Gara, Purvi Kalyan, Kameshwari, Gangeshwari, Rangeshwari, Parameshwari, Palas Kafi, Jogeshwari, Charu Kauns, Kaushik Todi, Bairagi Todi, Bhawani Bhairav, Sanjh Kalyan, Shailangi, Suranjani, Rajya Kalyan, Banjara, Piloo Banjara, Suvarna, Doga Kalyan, Nanda Dhwani, and Natacharuka.


Ravi Shankar married Allauddin Khan's daughter Annapurna Devi in 1941 and their son, Shubhendra Ravi Shankar, was born in 1942.


Ravi Shankar separated from Devi during 1962 and continued a relationship with Kamala Shastri, a dancer, that had begun in the late 1940s.


Ravi Shankar separated from Shastri in 1981 and lived with Jones until 1986.


Ravi Shankar entered an affair in 1978 with married tanpura player Sukanya Rajan, whom he had known since 1972, which led to the birth of their daughter Anoushka Shankar in 1981.


Ravi Shankar was a Hindu, and a devotee of the Hindu god Hanuman.


Ravi Shankar wrote of his hometown, Benares, and his initial encounter with "Ma":.


Ravi Shankar wore a large diamond ring which he said was manifested by Sathya Sai Baba.


Ravi Shankar performed his final concert, with daughter Anoushka, on 4 November 2012 at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach, California.


On 9 December 2012, Ravi Shankar was admitted to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, San Diego, California after complaining of breathing difficulties.


Ravi Shankar died on 11 December 2012 at around 16:30 PST after undergoing heart valve replacement surgery.