RAVI SHANKAR (b. 1920, d. 2012)
It was with great sadness, that, in late 2012, we marked the passing of Pandit Ravi Shankar: sitar virtuoso, cultural ambassador, teacher, friend, father and inspiration to audiences all over the world. But it is with great joy that we celebrate his life of 92 years, its uncompromising dedication to musical collaboration beyond national boundaries, its virtuosity in every creative endeavor, and the Maestro’s fundamental love of India classical music. The accomplishments of Ravi Shankar and his vision of Peace Through Music live on as long as there is music to be created and audiences to listen.
An incredible, unique and amazing life story of a man who lived and breathed music until the very end. He influenced musicians and touched the lives of millions all over the world and built bridges for the musical world to connect. He was one of a kind; he meant so much for both East and West and what they could accomplish together. He embodied the ideal of Peace through Music.
– Sukanya Shankar
When you come to know my father’s life and musical career, his unparalleled creative output, his panoramic cultural significance and uniquely spiritual artistic depth you understand why George Harrison called him, “the Ambassador of World Music.”
– Anoushka Shankar
When I met Raviji in 1967, I realized there was a way to write music that would take me outside my own history. Ravi, not drugs, was my acid trip. It was like totally clearing all decks, and overnight I began writing a completely different kind of music.
– Philip Glass
For an entire generation of musicians it was Ravi Shankar who established and personified the idea of music as a devout spiritual path, he inspired by his example and by his devotion; and this world and the worlds beyond are richer because of it. Thank you Ravi.
Pandit Ravi Shankar was not only a friend but a great soul whose demonstration of humility is a quality that I will carry within me forever. He leaves an entire generation of disciples led by his most talented Anoushka, who will carry his banner of Indian classical music throughout the world.
– Zubin Mehta
He was able to take the best of any culture he came into contact with and make it uniquely his own, each element contributing to his monumental artistry which in turn manifested itself in the ability to create the most sublime music out of thin air and at the drop of a hat.
– David Murphy
Ravi Shankar physically left us in 2012, but, through his influence, his performance, his composition, he will remain immortal. Hear his life force from forty-five years ago and know it’s still as powerful as ever.
Chuck Foster – The Big Takeover
Not only did Ravi give us such beautiful music, but a beautiful example of how to live our lives…beautifully, musically, lovingly, and he encouraged us to practice, practice, practice…practice beauty, music, and love.
– Jeff Bridges
Raviji is a deep and welcoming musical mind, with a sense of melody and rhythm so many light years ahead of my own abilities. I’ve spent my life trying to catch up.
– Nico Muhly
Raviji is a deep and welcoming musical mind, with a sense of melody and rhythm so many light years ahead of my own abilities. I’ve spent my life To young people, who give their mind and heart to Ravi Shankar’s art, he has made sense and brought order out of chaos, for he has restored the fundamental and supreme value of dedicated work, of self-control, of faith and of the value of living.
– Yehudi Menuhin
The word ‘guru’ means ‘dispeller of darkness’. I am fortunate to have Ravi as a friend and teacher. The moment we started, the feelings I got were of his patience, compassion and humility. The fact that he could do one of his five-hour concerts, but at the same time he could sit down and teach somebody from scratch the very basics: how to hold the sitar, how to sit in the correct position, how to wear the pick on your finger, how to begin playing. We did that and he started me going on the scales. And he enjoyed it – he wasn’t grudging at all and he wasn’t flash about it either.
– George Harrison
Guruji was soft hearted, sentimental, curious, supremely talented, deeply spiritual and charming. He addressed every aspect of music unlike others who focussed only on certain areas of music and remained restricted within that zone all their lives. He had a systems’view and hence was able to cover raga, laya, tone, presentation, content, and soulfulness in his search for the ” perfect rendition.” What he achieved in 92 years is equivalent to 500 years of work! I cannot be thankful enough to the cosmos for bringing me into the orbit of this fantastic and fascinating man! He opened my eyes, honed my musicality and helped me to become enriched as a human being. He is in the league of Tagore or Shakespeare with respect to the sheer breadth of his contribution. Yet he was so incredibly real. He had a deep rooted humility and that allowed him to freely mingle with people from all walks of life. This enriched him and allowed him to grow in music and as a person to his last day. When I shut my eyes I can still tune into one of the hundreds of concerts in which I accompanied him and remember the goosebumps I would invariably experience when he would enter that ethereal zone where the body, the mind and matter ceased to exist, overpowered completely by the soul. Guruji, Jethamoshai, you are the ultimate. You are my inspiration. You are the inspiration for all artists worth their salt. I will always miss you deeply. It goes without saying that this world will never be the same without you.
– Bickram Ghosh