Entertainment & Arts

Ravi Shankar: western musicians pay tribute

Ravi Shankar
Image caption Ravi Shankar's last performance was with his daughter Anoushka on 4 November in California to mark his 10th decade on the musical stage

Slash, Nitin Sawhney and Peter Gabriel are among the western musicians to have paid tribute to Ravi Shankar, who has died in hospital, aged 92.

Gabriel called the Indian sitar player "a master of his instrument".

"He opened the door to non-western music for millions of people around the world," he added.

Nitin Sawhney wrote on Twitter: "Just came back from hospital where I was paying my last respects to the greatest legend and inspiration.

"RIP Pandit Ravi Shankar. He was my greatest childhood inspiration. I feel honoured to have known him."

Shankar, father to jazz singer-songwriter Norah Jones and sitar player Anoushka Shankar, is credited with teaching George Harrison of The Beatles to play the instrument.

Harrison called Shankar - a multiple Grammy Award winner - "the godfather of world music".

In a statement, former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr said: "Ravi was a great loss musically, spiritually and physically. God bless to Ravi's family. Peace & Love, Ringo."

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Media captionRavi Shankar teaches George Harrison the sitar

Beatles producer Sir George Martin said he was "very saddened" upon hearing of the musician's death.

"His mastery of the sitar was legendary, his musicianship superb. I learned so much from him in understanding the complex rhythms and tonalities of Indian music, and always felt privileged to be a friend," he said.

"A lovely man whose passing has left us all diminished."

Martin's son Giles, a producer in his own right, remembered Shankar as "a beautiful, worldly man with warmth and talent".

"I bet George is happy to see him again," he added.

Peter Gabriel, who has promoted world music through his Real World record label and Womad festival, said Shankar had "inspired musicians to look beyond their own culture".

"He was very serious about his music, and I remember at one Womad performance, he stopped the music to ask his audience not to point their feet at him as that was seen as offensive in India.

"He was also warm, witty and mischievous as a man. He will be badly missed".

'Beautiful sound'

Many musicians, including Former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, expressed their sorrow on Twitter.

"Sad day; spiritual, cultural & music legend Ravi Shankar dead at 92. RIP," wrote the musican, whose real name is Saul Hudson.

Manchester band Happy Mondays said: "Sad day. Ravi Shankar, probably one of the greatest musicians of all time has died... always loved his music... Love n lite."

American singer K D Lang wrote on her official account: "Ravi Shankar.... May you have a swift and positive rebirth. Thanks for being a musical ambassador."

Solo artist and The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess paid tribute via his Twitter account, saying: "The great Ravi Shankar has left the building. An amazing talent and the maker of a beautiful sound."

Comedian and musician Reggie Watts summed up Shankar's legacy with a tweet that said: "Rest in peace Ravi Shankar bringer of eastern light to the western mind."

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