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Influential Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar dies

9:52 AM, Dec 12, 2012   |    comments
Ravi Shankar, classical musician, plays the sitar during a concert, New Delhi, India/AP
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By Ravi Nessman, Associated Press Writer

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar has died. He was 92.

The prime minister's office confirmed his death and called him a "national treasure."

Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers in the West discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music over an eight-decade career. He was a hippie musical icon of the 1960s. He played Woodstock and hobnobbed with The Beatles.

Beatle George Harrison labeled him "the godfather of world music."

He also pioneered the concept of the rock benefit with the 1971 Concert For Bangladesh. To later generations, he was known as the estranged father of popular American singer Norah Jones.

Shankar collaborated with Harrison, violinist Yehudi Menuhin and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane as he worked to bridge the musical gap between the West and East.

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