“Any player on any instrument with any ears would be deeply moved by Ravi Shankar. If you love music, it would be impossible not to be,” singer Crosby, whose band The Byrds was inspired by Shankar’s music, said in the book “The Dawn of Indian Music in the West: Bhairavi.”
Shankar’s personal life, however, was more complex.
His 1941 marriage to Baba Allaudin Khan’s daughter, Annapurna Devi, ended in divorce. Though he had a decades-long relationship with dancer Kamala Shastri that ended in 1981, he had relationships with several other women in the 1970s.
He grew estranged from Sue Jones in the 80s and didn’t see Norah for a decade, though they later re-established contact.
The statement she and her mother released 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 part of our lives.”
Shankar himself won three Grammy awards and was nominated for an Oscar for his musical score for the movie “Gandhi.” His album “The Living Room Sessions, Part 1” earned him his latest Grammy nomination, for best world music album.
Despite his fame, numerous albums and decades of world tours, Shankar’s music remained a riddle to many Western ears.
Shankar was amused after he and colleague Ustad Ali Akbar Khan were greeted with admiring applause when they opened the Concert for Bangladesh by twanging their sitar and sarod for a minute and a half.
“If you like our tuning so much, I hope you will enjoy the playing more,” he told the confused crowd, and then launched into his set.
Nessman reported from Bangkok. Associated Press writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.
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