Tributes pour in for Ravi Shankar; Sitar maestro to receive Grammy award

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 13, 2012 10:10 hrs
US Hindus urge special awards for Ravi Shankar

Washington: Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar will be honoured with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously, organisers of the Recording Academy announced on Thursday, the first Indian to get the prestigious award.

The award would be presented on February 10 at the 55th Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Shankar, 92, a three-time Grammy winner, died on Wednesday after undergoing a heart-valve replacement surgery at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California.

"The decision to honour Ravi was made before his death. He was personally notified by phone by our President/CEO Neil Portnow last week," Grammy spokeswoman Stephanie Schell told PTI after the awards were announced.

"Just last week, I had the honour to inform him that he would receive a 2013 Lifetime Achievement this February. He was deeply touched and so pleased, that he extended a gracious and personal invitation to visit with him at his home," Portnow said.

Shankar was a true pioneer in introducing Indian music to the West, he said, adding the music icon influenced artists across classical, jazz, pop, rock, and world music genres, including the Beatles, John Coltrane, Philip Glass, and his daughters, Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar.

"We have lost an innovative and exceptional talent and a true ambassador of international music. Our thoughts and sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and all of those around the world who were inspired by his music and compassionate philanthropy," Portnow said.

Other recipients of this year's lifetime achievement Grammy awards are Glenn Gould, Charlie Haden, Lightnin' Hopkins, Carole King, Patti Page, and the Temptations. 

Big B recalls Ravi Shankar's first, last call

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who is grieving the demise of Pandit Ravi Shankar, says he was puzzled to receive the sitar maestro's call for the first time a week before the music legend's demise. He never knew it would be his last.

"A strange feeling crawls within me. Just last week his wife Sukanyaji had sent a message to me on my mobile, while I transited from Marrakech, Morocco to Florence in Italy. It was the first time ever that I had received a message from her," Amitabh wrote on his blog

"She had requested a time when she could call back as Ravi Shankarji had wanted to talk to me. He was keeping unwell she had said and was to undergo a surgery on Thursday.

"Due to the time difference, I was unable to connect with her immediately and it was only the next day when I called back that she spoke most endearingly and put me on to the great maestro! I was speaking to Pandit Ravi Shankar for the very first time ever on the phone," he posted.

The 70-year-actor says Ravi Shankar spoke to him with great warmth and also appreciated his work.

"We knew each other, there were strong and long family relationships, a few casual meetings, but nothing more. Why was he wanting to speak to me now? I was puzzled. But he came on the line, spoke with great warmth, on seeing me on the television often, of my films and my fans in the house, informed me that he was going in for a surgery - I had wished him well and after the phone call was over, sat for long, wondering how what had transpired had actually happened," he added.

Amitabh says "an entire life, an era, a most incredible period in the history of classical music in India has come to an end".

Guns N Roses pay tribute to Pandit Ravi Shankar

American rock band Guns N' Roses dedicated their Delhi performance to sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar.

The band's lead singer Axl Rose talked about the sitar legend during the concert last night and said, "We dedicate this show to Pandit Ravi Shankar, who passed away today."

Notorious for being late for their performances across the world, Guns N' Roses surprisingly started their show on time.

During their three hour non-stop performance the band belted out old hits like 'Sweet Child of Mine', 'November Rain', 'Paradise City', 'One in a Million', 'Welcome to the Jungle' and 'Think About You'.

Performing in front of 5000-odd people, Rose introduced his mates - Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Chris Pitman, Richard Fortus, Ron Thal, Frank Ferrer and DJ Ashba - as he took the microphone.

"Hello Delhi, it is a wonderful evening I am happy to be here," he said.

Delhi witnessed its first hard core rock performance after a long time after Metallica's gig was cancelled last year.

With head banging a normal sight at rock shows, fans couldn't stop shouting and dancing at the gig.

"I am a die hard fan of the band and had booked the passes a month back. I am so happy they have come to India. They are amazing," said a college student.

Guns N' Roses was formed in 1985 and had Rose and guitarist Slash as its most famous faces. However, Slash parted with the band because of an alleged feud with Rose.

Rose is now the only original member remaining. The band has already performed in Bangalore and Mumbai before last night's show here.

Oscar bosses urged to honour Shankar with a posthumous award

Hindu leaders from America are urging Oscar bosses to follow the example of their Grammy Awards peers and honour the late Ravi Shankar at the 2013 Academy Awards, it has been revealed.

The Indian sitar player passed away late on Tuesday just hours before the world learned that he was to be awarded a special Grammy accolade in February 2013, which will now be presented posthumously.

Hindus now feel that the musician's life should be honoured at the Oscars.

"Ravi Shankar gave so much to the world in his lifetime through music and he will continue to do so in the coming decades. He was highly revered in the world of music for his intense, distinct and deeply moving music and was known for rhythmic novelties," Contactmusic quoted Rajan Zed, the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, as telling Wenn.

"We urge the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to grant him a Special Oscar at the Academy Awards on February 24th and we'd also like to extend that wish for next year's Kennedy Center Honors, so that Ravi Shankar can be further celebrated for his unparalleled contributions to world of music," he added.

'Shankar ignited an interest in the West about India'

Legendary sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, who died at a hospital in California, ignited an interest in the West about India, an eminent think-tank today said, as condolence message continued to pour in from across the globe.

"He ignited an interest in the West of India as a great civilisation, and recast that image with a deep respect of the sophistication and complexity of the music while at the same time making it accessible to an uninitiated audience," Rachel Cooper, Asia Society's Director for Global Performing Arts and Special Cultural Initiatives, said.

Noting that it would not be hyperbolic to say that Ravi Shankar had a significant impact on global culture, Cooper said he was fierce in his defence of the integrity of the Indian classical tradition and its authentic voice.

"At the same time, his deep knowledge of the music did not keep him from seeing potential for cross cultural musical encounters and an openness to collaboration.

"His knowledge of the West fuelled a desire, even an obligation, to share his passion for Indian music with the West, whether with classical musicians such as Yehudi Menuhin or rock musicians such as George Harrison and the Beatles," Cooper said.

President Pranab describes Shankar as a genius

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday condoled the passing away of Indian musician and sitar exponent Pandit Ravi Shankar.

In his condolence message, the President said, "Panditji was a genius who delighted India and the world with his ethereal music. He became a global icon of music, art and culture."

"His creative and versatile genius not only left an indelible mark on the world of Indian classical music but also popularised Indian classical music worldwide. Panditji's passing away has left a void in the field of music which will be difficult to fill."

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