Ravi Shankar, father of Norah Jones, inspired The Beatles
Ravi Shankar, the legendary sitar player, died Monday, his family said in a statement. Dubbed the "Godfather of World Music," Shankar was 92 years old.
In a career that spanned six decades, Shankar served as a bridge between Eastern and Western music, collaborating with everyone from avant garde composer Philip Glass to rock star David Crosby. However, his greatest influence may have been on The Beatles, who inspired by his delicate playing, integrated the sitar into their seminal album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band."
Along with George Harrison, Shankar would launch star-studded benefit concerts to benefit Indian refugees with Concert for Bangladesh. That concert would become the template for other celebrity fueled benefits. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine something such as the recent "12-12-12" Madison Square Garden concert for Hurricane Sandy relief had it not been for Shankar and Harrison's work.
Shankar was also known for his emotionally fraught relationship with his estranged daughter, Grammy-winning singer Norah Jones. He fathered Jones out of a relationship with concert promoter Sue Jones, and the two had periods where they did not communicate, although they ultimately reconciled.
In an interview with the Independent last April, Jones said that she traveled before recording her 2009 album "The Fall," she spent a month with Shankar in Delhi.
"People think of me separately from him now, and that's great," Jones said. "I love my dad and we have a very good relationship now."
Shankar's other daughter, Anoushka Shankar, is also a sitar player.
Shankar's family said in a statement that his health has been fragile for the past several years and last week he underwent surgery.
"We know that you all feel our loss with us, and we thank you for all of your prayers and good wishes through this difficult time," Shankar's family said. "Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives. His spirit and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in his music."
Among his many honors, Shankar won three Grammy awards and was received an Oscar-nomination for composing the music to the 1982 film "Gandhi." He would also score the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray, a high-water mark of Indian film, and toured the world extensively.
Shankar's albums include "Ragas & Talas" (1964), "The Sounds of India" (1968) and his Grammy-winning "Full Circle: Carnegie Hall 2000."