It was one of the memorable moments of the 55th Annual Grammy awards held in Los angeles, California. Daughters Anoushka and Norah Jones accepted the Grammy on behalf of their late father, sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. Anoushka was also nominated in the same category, “Best World Music Album”. “It’s okay to lose to your father”, Anoushka said as she received the award.
Ravi Shankar won the award for his compositions in “The Living Room Sessions Part 1” while his daughter was nominated for “Traveller”. Shankar was also to be given a posthumous lifetime achievement Grammy.
“When I watched him play, he could take people to this incredible meditative state where they’d close their eyes and just cry and get in touch with something more important,” Anoushka Shankar, who also plays the sitar, said during her acceptance speech, according to Reuters.
“I was very excited to hear about the lifetime achievement award a week before my dad passed away, one day before he went into surgery,” Shankar’s daughter, Norah Jones, said in an email to the Associated Press a few hours before the ceremony. “He knew about it and was very happy, and also that he and my sister, Anoushka, were both nominated in the same category for a Grammy (this year) was a special thing as well. We all miss him and are very proud of him. I will forever be discovering and re-discovering his music from all walks of his long and amazing life.”
Shankar was admitted in a San Diego hospital for breathing difficulties. He passed away on the 11th of December, 2012. He was 92. Anoushka is also a sitar player while Norah Jones is a singer and song writer.
Shankar had received three Grammys previously. He was dubbed the Godfather of World Music by his most famous student, George Harrison. Shankar popularized Indian ragas to western audiences and he taught Harrison to play the sitar. Harrison became proficient in the instrument and played it on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band song “Within You Without You”.
With the Beatles, Shankar found a new younger audience. But the rock music scene and hippie culture got mixed up with drugs which Shankar disapproved. ‘Give me the chance to make you high through our music,’ he told them.
As his popularity rose, Shankar performed at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock two years later. In 1971, Shankar and Harrison organized the Concert for Bangladesh, which helped raise money for refugees fleeing that country for India and set the example for future all-star benefits like Live Aid.
Apart from Pandit Ravi Shankar, other Indians who received Grammys are Zakir Husain, Vikku Vinayak, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and A.R. Rehman who won 2 awards for his song and composition in the movie, “Slumdog Millionaire”.