George Harrison’s Son Dhani To Pay Tribute To Ravi Shanker For 100th Birthday

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press

Paying tribute to George Harrison‘s musical tutor and lifelong friend Ravi Shankar, the late Beatle‘s son Dhani along with Norah Jones and a number of Shankar’s Indian disciples will pay tribute to the sitar master in a series of 2020 concerts.

Commencing in April the series of performances will celebrate what would have been Shankar’s 100th birthday.

This first, headlined by Norah Jones, will kick off at London’s Southbank Theatre on April 7, the day of Shankar’s birth.

Following this Jones will then cross the Atlantic and join Dhani Harrison for a performance at San Diego’s Civic Theatre on May 16.

After this, Harrison and Jones will make their way to LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall on May 19.

The pair will then leave Ravi’s former pupils in the care of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for an additional performance on May 22.

The Ravi’s students will then travel to New York’s Carnegie Hall to perform with minimalist composer Phillip glass on May 29.

Ravi Shankar was an Indian classical artist of the highest rank,” the event’s press release reads, “who across nine decades spearheaded the worldwide spread of Indian music and culture. The first Indian musician to become a household name in the West, Shankar achieved international fame in the 1960s through his collaborations with George Harrison of the Beatles and unprecedented performances of Indian classical music at seminal U.S. festivals and benefit concerts, including Monterey Pop (1967), Woodstock (1969) and the Concert for Bangladesh (1971). Shankar became a hero to the counterculture and a global ambassador uniting the East and West through his mastery of a transcendental music that spoke volumes beyond words themselves.”

After being introduced to eastern Spiritual while on set filming 1965 Beatles film Help! and toying with a sitar on ‘Norwegian Wood‘, George Harrison became acquainted with Shankar in 1966.

It is strange to see pop musicians with sitars,” Shankar shared in one interview before his death in 2012. “I was confused at first. It had so little to do with our classical music. When George Harrison came to me, I didn’t know what to think. But I found he really wanted to learn. I never thought our meeting would cause such an explosion, that Indian music would suddenly appear on the pop scene.”

Shankar took on George as a pupil and continued to mentor the Beatle despite his struggle to adhere to the rigid discipline traditional sitar training demanded.

(Practice was required six to eight hours a day.)

Harrison ultimately gave up the instrumental in 1968, but he a Shanker remained lifelong friends.

George Harrison, who passed away in 2001, revered Ravi, once stating he was “the first person who ever impressed me in my life.”



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