Ravi Shankar Mourned At Memorial

Ravi Shankar Mourned At Memorial

The widow of Beatle George Harrison joined hundreds of fans and family of Ravi Shankar at an open-air memorial to the Indian sitar legend near his California home.

Anoushka Shankar, daughter of the late musician who died last week, and her half-sister, Grammy-winning singer Norah Jones, also paid their last respects at the service in a palm tree-lined meditation centre.

Tributes were read by fellow musicians and artists who had been inspired by Shankar, described as The Godfather of World Music by the Beatles and compared to Mozart by violin maestro Yehudi Menuhin.

Olivia Harrison, whose late husband was taught to play sitar by Shankar and collaborated with him, notably on the ground-breaking Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, said the former Beatle had learned so much from their friendship.

"They were like father and son as well as brothers... they made each other laugh as if they shared a secret. And I'm sure they did," said the 64-year-old, whose husband died of cancer in 2001.

Shankar "laid the stepping stones from West to East, that led George to new concepts, alternative philosophies and completely transformed his musical sensibilities," she said.

Shankar's 31-year-old daughter Anoushka , also a sitar player, and just nominated for a Grammy, told the audience that her father would have approved of the memorial's venue, the Self-Realisation Fellowship spiritual centre.

"My father loved spending time here so much, so it feels so right for us to be here celebrating his journey," she said, before tributes were read out from singer Peter Gabriel and film director Martin Scorsese.

Gabriel said: "Ravi Shankar opened the door to non-Western music for millions of people around the world."

Shankar died at the age of 92, after failing to recover from surgery at a hospital in La Jolla, near San Diego. His family was at his bedside.

Private memorial services were announced both in the US and in India, where Shankar also had a home.

As well as Indian family and friends at the event, locals and other fans and followers also attended.

"He's local, he's part of the community here," said Eddy Jimenez, a musician and trumpet player from Encinitas, comparing Shankar's influence and music to that of Harrison's fellow Beatle John Lennon.

Grammys organisers the Recording Academy announced last week that Shankar, a three-time Grammy winner, is to receive a posthumous lifetime achievement award.

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