NEW DELHI -- The walls of Sanjay Sharma's music shop are lined with gleaming string instruments and old photographs of legendary musicians.
Beatles George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Indian classicial musicians Zakir Hussain, Shiv Kumar Sharma and Vishwamohan Bhatt. And the man who brought these two very different musical worlds together: Ravi Shankar.
Like his grandfather and father before him, Sharma built, tuned and repaired instruments for the sitar virtuoso, who introduced Westerners to Indian classical music, and through his friendship with Harrison became a mainstay of the 1960s counterculture scene.
From his tiny shop tucked into the crowded lanes of central Delhi's Bhagat Singh market, Sharma traveled the world with Shankar. Late in the maestro's life, as his health and strength flagged, he even designed a smaller version of the instrument that allowed him to keep playing.
Shankar, who died Tuesday at age 92, was "a saint, an emperor and lord of music," Sharma says in a tribute posted to the website of his sought-after shop, Rikhi Ram's Music.
"When I opened my eyes there was him," says Sharma, 44, surrounded by display cases full of sitars, sarangis (a stringed instrument played with a violin-like bow), guitars, tabla drums and sarods, a deeply resonating instrument played by plucking the strings.
Shankar "was music and music was him," he says.
Sharma's grandfather started the business in 1920 in the northern city of Lahore, now in Pakistan. He met a young Ravi Shankar at a concert there in the 1940s. Following the India-Pakistan partition and the relocation of the shop to New Delhi, the family began making sitars for Shankar in the 1950s.
By then, the musician was already famous in India and beginning to collaborate with some of the greats of Western music, including violinist Yehudi Menuhin and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.
The Beatles visited in 1966 and bought instruments, memorialized in some of the many photographs that line the shop's walls. Another shows Shankar's daughter and the heir of his sitar legacy, Anoushka Shankar. But there is no picture of another Shankar daughter, American singer Norah Jones, who was estranged from her father.
Sharma's own father succeeded his grandfather as the supplier of Shankar's sitars. And then Sharma himself in the 1980s.
The bedroom-sized shop has two counters, one for conducting business and one for working on instruments under the beam of a large work lamp. Wood shavings and dust cover the floor of a workshop at the back.
As he chatted with visiting Associated Press journalists on Thursday, Sharma worked on a sitar, peering through his glasses as he used a mallet to hammer in a new fret. He plucked the strings, and as the sound resonated around the room, he leaned close in to the instrument and listened intently to the vibrations. Satisfied with the results, he moved on to the next fret.
It takes 15 months for a sitar to be ready for use. The actual crafting of the instrument from red cedar and hollowed-out, dried pumpkins takes three months. Then, it is left untouched to go through what is called "Delhi seasoning," in which the extremes of New Delhi's climate – blistering summer, followed by a brief monsoon, and a near-freezing, three-month winter – work their magic.
In 2005, a serious bout of pneumonia left Shankar with a frozen left shoulder.
"He was growing old and he wanted to experiment and change the instrument" so he could continue playing, Sharma says.
Sharma, a large, balding man, created what he calls the "studio sitar," a smaller version of the instrument. But holding it was still difficult. So Sharma went to a Home Depot near Shankar's San Diego, California-area home and bought some supplies to build a detachable stand.
The musician was thrilled. Sharma says Shankar told him, "Your father was a brilliant sitar maker, but you are a genius."
Shankar was performing in public until a month before his death. Despite ill health, he appeared re-energized by the music, Sharma said.
Now, as Sharma mourns the giant of Indian music, he also worries about the future of the art itself. He sees traditional Indian instruments gradually losing their place in their own country to zippy, electronic Bollywood music.
"We are losing the originality and the core of our Indian music," says Shankar, himself a trained Hindustani classical musician who plays the sitar and tabla, the Indian pair-drums.
At the same time, Shankar's work as a global ambassador of music has borne fruit, Sharma says: "Because the music has gone to the West, we're getting lots of new musical aspirants from the Western countries."
When jazz artist Herbie Hancock was in New Delhi a few years ago, he stopped by Sharma's shop to buy a sitar.
And in one of the shop's display windows gleams a newly crafted sitar made of teak.
"That," Sharma said, "is for Bill Gates."
Ravi Shankar on the Dick Cavett Show
Ravi Shankar on the Dick Cavett Show
Ravi Shankar & George Harrison - Sitar Lesson Rare Video [ Live Performance ]
Remembering Pt. Ravi Shankar - popsplat.in //www.popsplat.in - Ravi Shankar & George Harrison - Sitar Lesson Rare Video Subscribe: goo.gl Facebook: goo.gl Twitter : goo.gl
Ravi & Anoushka Shankar - Raga Anandi Kalyan
Ravi & Anoushka Shankar - Raga Anandi Kalyan
Best Sitar/Tabla piece ever Ravi Shankar & Chatur Lal Raga Mishra Piloo In Thumri Style
A veritable gem..with virtuoso tabla of Chatur Lal recorded in 1963 when Shankar had fire in his belly ..was in his early prime....the majestic start ...the meandering melody thus reconditions the soul inculcating in it a certain sense of levitation.. imbued with divinity..a kind of mantra..a dialogue with God...elevates you to Nirvana ..leads you to Valhalla and firmly deposits you there ... sempiternally...tabla solo in the middle ( 5:51 to 8:44) by Chatur Lal is simply mesmerizing! And 8:44 to 10-45 is probably one of the best and perfect sitar/tabla rapport ( jugalbandi) of all time! Don't miss 5:22 to 6:35 sitar engages in a dialogue with tabla then fades gracefully to make way for tabla solo....if ever there was a magical music tour this is it...this is it...and this is it...Ravi Shankar and Chatur Lal here transport you to a world where music is redefined...and reinvented...... coruscating with a thousand nuances of vibrating colour...transforming the banal into a source of wonder.... and wonderment...
How Ravi Shankar was charmed by Beatles guitarist George Harrison
In an archive interview the musician Ravi Shankar, who has died aged 92, recalls his time teaching the Beatles guitarist how to play the sitar. Pandit Ravi Shankar, the virtuoso sitar maestro who introduced Indian classical music to the world and inspired the Sixties 'psychedelic' sound through his collaboration with the Beatles, has died. He was 92. The legendary musician passed away in San Diego where he was recovering from an operation last week. His widow Sukanya and daughter Anoushka, his sitar protégée, said he had been too frail to withstand the strain of surgery. The sitar ustad or master had continued to perform, usually with his glamorous daughter Anoushka, who is a bestselling musician in her own right, and he gave his last concert just five weeks ago. His other daughter from a previous relationship is the American folk soul singer Nora Jones. Pandit Shankar's passing was mourned by the Indian prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh who said he was a "national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage." Read more: www.telegraph.co.uk Get the latest headlines www.telegraph.co.uk Subscribe to The Telegraph www.youtube.com Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com Follow us on Twitter twitter.com Follow us on Google+ plus.google.com Telegraph.co.uk and YouTube.com/TelegraphTV are websites of The Daily Telegraph, the UK's best-selling quality daily newspaper providing news and analysis on UK and world events, business, sport, lifestyle and culture.
Ravi Shankar Raga Parameshwari
Raga Parameshwari ( 43.80 ) a) Alap & Vilambit Jod ( 22.52 ) b ) Madh & Drut Jod, Gat in Tala Dhamar ( 21.28 ) Ravi Shankar - Sitar Alla Rakha - Tablas From Ravi Shankar 70.
Ravi Shankar at Monterey Pop
Out now on Blu-ray and DVD: www.criterion.com
Ravi Shankar - Tenth Decade in Concert: Live In Escondido (Raga Mala)
A clip from "Ravi Shankar - Tenth Decade in Concert," available on DVD from Ravi's own East Meets West Music (www.eastmeetswestmusic.com). * * * Cinematographer and director Alan Kozlowski presents an intimate look at a 91-year-old Ravi Shankar performing in southern California in October 2011. Kozlowski offers a uniquely personal perspective on Ravi Shankar. The filmmaker has studied music with Ravi since 1978, and has produced a documentary honoring Ravi called "Sangeet Ratna" and co-produced with George Harrison a collection of Ravi's work called "In Celebration." The love of subject is clear in the film, but it's Ravi's raw and powerful performance that leaves the most lasting impression. Though Ravi has curtailed his busy touring schedule, his playing continues to draw intense praise. Songlines magazine says that the master has lost "absolutely nothing in the way of musical virtuosity, technical brilliance and the kind of high-energy passion that belongs in concert performances." East Meets West Music is proud to release this important testament to a great artist simply unable to stop making transformative music. www.eastmeetswestmusic.com
Ravi Shankar - Raga Bhimpalasi (Live at Monterey)
Artist: Ravi Shankar Album: Live at the Monterey International Pop Festival
Best Sitar Tabla piece ever Ravi Shankar Chatur Lal Raga M