Ravi Shankar was a sitar virtuoso and composer from India. He is perhaps the most well-known sitarists of the twentieth century, and played a big role in exporting Indian classical music to the west.
Ravi grew up in a musical family, and spent his youth touring India and Europe as a dancer. He later started studying sitar under the esteemed court musician, Allauddin Khan. From there, he began composing and was music director of the All India Radio, New Delhi.
Ravi began touring Europe and America in the 1950’s, which increased the popularity of Indian classical music abroad. He became associated with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and also began teaching Beatles guitarist, George Harrison. The influence of Ravi Shankar on George Harrison popularised the use of Indian classical music in Western pop music. He also wrote numerous compositions for western music which featured the sitar and orchestra. In 1999, Shankar was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.
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