“…He inspired a lot of people, not just in the country, but also outside the country, his name could do magic. The beginning of broader cultural appreciation of Indian classical music is probably sparked off by him abroad which has been continued by people like Zakir Hussain, in the public sphere. Thanks to Beatles again and thanks to playing at Woodstock. But to his credit he didn’t let that take over, he could’ve ended up being the guy who plays at music festivals all over the played and gets paid a lot of money for that, and stops playing classical but he did not fall into that temptation, which is a temptation which is very easy to fall into.”
“…It is really sad that he passed away and I think this generation of Indians will never know how, what it was to make people of its own musical superstars. It is said that stadiums of people would line up straight to listen to him playing. So, he was classical musician playing sophisticated music still being loved by the masses. So when we compare that to the abject abandonment of Indian music or Indian arts by the masses in general. You can’t associate music by culture and the Indian culture that I have been exposed to the kind of, he was a leading lynch man of that culture for some time and I just can’t help being moved by it.”
“When I was growing up my main influence was classical, that is the time when Ali Akbar saab. Ravi Shankar, Nikhil Banerjee they were playing the best. And I have heard them so many times that, not just on their own but also playing jugalbandis with Ali Akbar Khan saab.
Ravi Shankar has been able to give us and in the world the Indian music, the platform that has been given for Indian Ocean, i think one of the main person’s, If not the main person who was responsible for that was Ravi Shankar. so I say its a great loss. His skill on the sitar, especially his laykari is unmatched absolute He single-handedly took Indian classical into international forum.”
“He affected me as a musician of this era. We learned so much from him. The confidence you know, when we were not even born at that time in the era where music was a very very niche thing you know apart from films. You know few hundred elite of India used to know music as music, the common people and mass; the main stream didn’t even know what music is basically. Apart from films music, at that time he had courage to take music and that also an instrument not vocal alone and collaborate with international
stars at that time. People like George Harrison started learning from him first and then they collaborated. He used to touch his feet. We have performed along with him, on the same stage , same venue, in LA in 2009 at Hollywood Bowl. It was a great experience.
He was smiling and the smile of such legend is enough, he doesn’t need to talk, exchange words. If they smile at you and they shower their kindness, it is like a saint is showering you.There is a song from our album called Kar Kar Mein Haara, this song from our album Kailasa Chaandan Mein; in the song we have used sitar. People give us compliments but this reminds us of Beatles and Pandit Ravi Shankar.”
“This is the greatest loss for the world of Indian classical music. Not only Indian classical music. Pandit Ravi Shankar ji means, the definitions is, if you go abroad, they know Pandit ji and oh, Indian classical music… so that is how they used to indentify Pandit ji. He was the first person who introduced Indian classical music in the West, and this is the greatest loss. He came to my concert when I was playing in Delhi many years ago in 1987. As a human being, he was down to earth. He was so simple and he used to talk to me very nicely and he used to give me a lot of advice. And also I played many times in front of him. When he had his first heart surgery in the USA in 1987, I felicitated him and I had the golden opportunity to play in front of him. After that also when I was playing in Delhi, he was at the concert; such a legendary musician. I do not find words to describe his greatness.”
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Percussionist and Composer
He was a living legend in music, a true musician. It is very upsetting to lose such a icon, who made a mark not only inIndia, but also in other countries. I have attended a live concert of him, and he gives due respect to whoever is with him on stage and gives opportunities to everyone to showcase their talent. It is the biggest loss for the country.
Vocalist and Guitarist
We use Indian thematics, elements and structures in our jam sessions. He is one of the few Indian musicians who brought the Indian way of approaching music to the Western world, and he enabled to carry on the tradition. He formed a full circle, in a way.
Guitarist and Producer
I saw the news this morning and I was completely shocked. I was inDelhi just last week hanging out with the Midival Punditz and Pandit Ravi Shankar was an integral part of our discussion on music. He has always been our nation’s pride. He was the first one to cross over, to take Indian music outside the country. Not just that, but he also took Indian spirituality across the borders. Indian classical music can be quite introverted but he was the one who took it beyond.
For a musician like me who travels abroad, I know it was Pandit Ravi Shankar who put Indian classical music on a world platform. He opened up gates for Indian musicians to collaborate and find similarities between Indian music and western music. He was a great musician, but more than that, it was his service to music that was incredible. In my experience of interacting with people abroad, I’ve noticed that people know two things aboutIndia – Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Ravi Shankar. I’ve known people who haven’t heard of Pink Floyd but have heard Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Composer and Lyricist
Quite honestly, I haven’t heard a lot of his music but the little that I have heard has helped me immensely in times of dire need. During my college days, I used to listen to his collection of morning ragas and it was a great stress-buster for me. He has been the ambassador of Indian culture, music and art to the world. I don’t think anybody in the past, or in the future, will be able to match up to his contribution to music. It just can’t be quantified.
Musician, Writer and Filmmaker
No one else made Indian music known to the world like him, he was a master, a fantastic musician. He’s a part of the Indian heritage. I grew up more on The Beatles than on his music, which actually came to me in indirect ways, through The Beatles, so he had an indirect influence on my work.
(Compiled by Andrew Clarance, Emmanuelle Loève, Pankaj Menon and Nupur Sonar)