George Harrison called him the “Father of World Music”, he being the one who brought the sound of raga to the Western musical consciousness, being also the first performer and composer to create a connection between Indian music and the rest of the world.
Ravindra Shankar – or Robindro Shaunkar in Bengali– Choudhury was born in the holy city of Benares, today Varanasi, being the youngest of five children of a Bengali Brahmini family in Jessore, who were influenced by the reformist ideas of Rabindranah Tagore, one of the major figures of the Indian Renaissance.
Since childhood, spent in Benares, Ravi has seen a great passion for music, which was awakened by the Vedic catecs.
In 1930, Ravi arrives in Paris with his family and brothers, where he will stay for two years, during which time he will come into contact with classical music, guitar music by Andres Segovia and opera music.
Back in India, he set out to learn to play the sitar; so at the age of 18 he became a pupil of Wazir Khan. His first concert took place in 1939. after which he began to be known throughout India; he later began composing music for Indian films, and this strengthened his notoriety.
Shankar has performed with many famous singers from the west, the first being members of the Beatles: Paul McCarthney and George Harrison; among other famous names with which he sang, there are the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and the flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal.
In 1967 he won the Grammy Award and participated in the festivals in Monterey– California in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969. Over the years he has been rewarded with numerous awards and distinctions from officials, being regarded as an ambassador of Indian music around the world.
Through his genius, Shankar has not only transcended his culture, race and geographical area, but also the differences between generations and social classes.
In the last years of his life he divided his activity between the United States and India at New Dlehi where he founded the Institute of Music and Arts – Ravi Shankar, fulfilling his lifelong dream.
Behind him were his two daughters, the famous singers Anoushka and Noah Jones, who continue to spread the Indian musical tradition around the world, both of which are winners of numerous Grammy Awards.