Google marks the 96th birth anniversary of the Godfather of World Music, Pandit Ravi Shankar, with a Doodle. Being the most popular Indian musician, composer, and sitar player, he is known for introducing the Indian musical traditions to the West.
10 Lesser Known Facts About The Sitar Maestro Pandit Ravi ShankarApril 7, 2016 636 0 0
In 70 years of his musical career, Pandit Ravi Shankar became the face, the brand ambassador for Indian music, culture and art in the West. While Google has paid homage with a Doodle on its homepage, we have rounded up some facts about his life and music career:
1. Pandit Ravi Shankar was not his original name
He was born as Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury in a Bengali family on 7th April 1920.
2. Started his career as a dancer
He joined his brother’s (Uday Shankar) dance group at a tender age of 10 and travelled to various countries to perform. It was during this period that he got interested in classical music and learned about jazz and Western Classical Music.
3. He wanted to learn classical music under Ustad Inayat Khan
In the year 1938, Ravi Shankar gave up his dancing career to learn classical music from Ustad Inayat Khan. Later on, he became a disciple of Baba Allauddin Khan (the lead musician of Maihar court in Madhya Pradesh) and soon his favourite student. This guru-shishya bond became so strong that later Ravi Shankar married Baba’s daughter Annapurna Devi.
4. Taught Indian classical music to George Harrison
George Harrison of the Beatles came to India in order to learn sitar from this legendary artist. Harrison was asked to assume a disguise in order to avoid people recognizing him. Soon the two became friends and some people believe that this association extended Ravi Shankar’s popularity throughout the world.
5. After Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, Ravi Shankar composed Mohankauns
After Gandhi’s assassination, Ravi Shankar was asked to play and compose a mournful music for the All India Radio. Using the three sargam notes from Gandhi’s name, he developed a new melodic theme and named it as Mohankauns.
6. Grammy awards
In his 70-year long musical career, Pandit Shankar won 3 Grammy awards for West Meets East (1967), Full Circle: Carnegie Hall 2000 (2002) and Lifetime Achievement Grammy award (2013).
7. Last performance
His last performance was in California along with his daughter Anoushka Shankar.
8. Awards for his contributions
This precious jewel who introduced Indian classical music to the West was awarded the top three civilian awards: Padma Bhushan (1967), Padma Vibhushan (1981) as well as Bharat Ratna (1999).
9. Norah Jones
Norah Jones, the daughter of Pandit Ravi Shankar and Sue Jones (New York concert producer) is a popular musician who bagged eight Grammy awards in the year 2003.
10. Revised the tone of Sare Jahan Se Accha
The responsibility of adding a more inspiring impact to the previous slower version of “Sare Jahan Se Accha” was given to Ravi Shankar. So, he set it to a stronger tune which remains as the most popular version to date.
He breathed his last on 11th December 2012 in San Diego, CA, losing a battle to heart and respiratory ailments. He was probably the first musician to have fused and experimented with Indian classical and Western music.