Some sad music news: Ravi Shankar died. He was the master of the sitar, an Indian instrument that was foreign to most AMericans until George Harrison got interested in it, used it on the Beatles song "Norwegian Wood," met Shankar at a party in L.A., became his student, and started adding the sitar to more Beatles songs. And the two collaborated on the legndary and influential Concert for Bangladesh.
Not everybody understood his music at the time; there's his famous line at the Concert for Bangladesh, after the crowd applauded his playing: "If you enjoyed the tuning up that much, I hope you enjoy the music even more."
Dubbed the Godfather of World Music by his most famous student, George Harrison, Shankar learned to play several Indian classical instruments in his teens and began touring abroad in the 1950s, introducing Indian ragas to audiences in Europe and the U.S.
"When George became my student, I got a new audience: the younger generation," Shankar told Rolling Stone in 1997. "And, of course, they came like a flood because the whole thing happened with the hippie movement and this interest in Indian culture. Unfortunately it got all mixed up with drugs and Kamasutra and all that. I was like a rock star . . . I never said one shouldn't take drugs or drink alcohol, but associating drugs with our music and culture, that's something I always fought. I was telling them to come without being high on drugs. I said, 'Give me the chance to make you high through out music,' which it does, really. I think it's good I made that stand, and that's why I'm still here today."
Here's a sweet video of Shankar giving Harrison a sitar lesson in 1968: