The Wire

The world's greatest print and online music magazine. Independent since 1982


Ravi Shankar RIP

Ravi Shankar has died in San Diego at the age of 92. Shankar last performed five weeks ago with his daughter Anoushka, also a sitar player.

The sitar virtuoso was a central figure in exporting Indian classical music to the West, through working with The Beatles in the 1960s. Shankar was introduced to George Harrison by The Byrds's Roger McGuinn, but later regretted the exposure he gained, feeling it had turned him into a pop star.

He was born in 1920 and began his career as a dancer touring Europe in the 1930s, giving it up at the age of 18 to play the sitar. He trained under Allaudin Khan for seven years.

Shankar composed the score for for Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy and Richard Attenborough's Gandhi. He collaborated with Philip Glass in 1990, and won three Grammys. Shankar received a knighthood in 2001, and the Indian civilian award the Bharat Ratna in 1999.