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Stephen Dobyns 8:30 a.m., July 20
Indian musical legend Ravi Shankar has passed away. The 92 year old's album Living Rooms Sessions Part 1 (recorded at his Encinitas home) was just this past week nominated for a Grammy Award as Best World Music Album.
Ravi Shankar was considered the world’s master player of the sitar, a 19-stringed instrument made of gourd and teak. He performed at the Monterey Pop Festival (1967) and Woodstock (1969), plus he organized the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971 with former Beatle and sitar pupil George Harrison.
The Shankar family moved to Encinitas in the early 1990s, though they also maintain a residence in India. For awhile, he worked as a professor of music and guest lecturer at SDSU. His local home has a sign on the door reading “Please ring the bell only thrice. If no one opens the door, please leave your name and address...the door will not be opened on Mondays and Thursdays.”
George Harrison produced and played on Shankar albums Festival and Shankar Family and Friends. In 1995, Harrison visited him in Encinitas to work on Shankar’s four-CD set In Celebration, for which Harrison wrote the liner notes.
In October 2006, he was admitted into a local hospital with lung problems. He recovered and returned home, where he still worked on music as he approached the century-old mark.
His daughter Anoushka grew up in San Diego and also plays the sitar. Pop singer Norah Jones is another of his daughters.
The Very Best of Ravi Shankar compilation was released in summer 2012.