Ravi Shankar / George Harrison Tribute at Hoboken Monroe Center

For those looking for something interesting to do next weekend – please take note!

Hoboken Cultural event Ravi Shankar George Harrison Tribute Concert Monroe CenterThe Monroe Center (720 Monroe St.) is holding a special tribute concert on Saturday March 30th – in honor of famous sitar player Ravi Shankar who was made famous by Beatles guitarist George Harrison.

The three-hour concert, which begins at 6pm – features more traditional sitar music (led by NJ sitar instructor Yoshita Chandrani and her students) as well as NJ-based Justin Lerner Band who will be covering George Harrison’s music.

Shankar’s influence on George Harrison can be heard on a few Beatles tracks: “Love You To” (Rubber Soul), “Norwegian Wood” (Revolver), and “Within You Without You” (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band).

Tickets are $10 per person. To RSVP email gp@monroecenter.com or call (201)795-5000.

Ravi Shankar George Harrison Tribute Concert Hoboken NJ

More on Ravi Shankar and George Harrison

Ravi Shankar was born April 7, 1920 in the Indian city of Varanasi. Later, at the age of 18, he was apprenticed to Allauddin Khan, a disciple of Wazir Khan, who was a direct descendent of the legendary Tansen, the chief musician of the Mughal emperor Akbar. For seven years Khan was Shankar’s mentor and through this connection Shankar inherited a great tradition of classical music. In his autobiography, My Music, My Life (1969), Shankar says that “Baba,” as he called his teacher, made his pupils practice for hours on end and often resorted to corporal punishment.

During the Beatles’ American tour in August 1965, Harrison’s friend David Crosby of the Byrds introduced him to Indian classical music and the work of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.
In June 1966, Harrison met Shankar at the home of Mrs Angadi of the Asian Music Circle, asked to be his student, and was accepted. On 6 July 1966 Harrison travelled to India to buy a sitar from Rikhi Ram & Sons in New Delhi.

George Harrison labeled him the “Godfather of World Music”

Performances at the great pop festivals of the time – Monterey, California, in 1967; Woodstock in 1969; and Concert for Bangladesh, New York, in 1971 – brought Shankar even more firmly into the west’s popular gaze and saw him established as a pioneer of crossover sounds.

Shankar was however rattled by western dress and when Jimi Hendrix set fire to his guitar at the Monterey music festival Shankar was appalled.

“I was shocked to see people dressing so flamboyantly, ” he said. “They were all stoned. To me, it was a new world,” Shankar told Rolling Stone of the Monterey festival.

While he enjoyed Otis Redding and the Mamas and the Papas at the festival, he was ” horrified” when Hendrix lit his guitar on fire.

“That was too much for me. In our culture, we have such respect for musical instruments, they are like part of God,” he said.

Besides Harrison, Shankar also taught, jazz legend John Coltrane, who named his son Ravi in Shankar’s honor. Shankar became close friends with Menuhin, recording the acclaimed ‘West Meets East’ album with him. He also collaborated with flutist Jean Pierre Rampal, composer Philip Glass and conductors Andre Previn and Zubin Mehta.

His Kinnara School of Music functioned both in Mumbai and Los Angeles.

Shankar was a Hindu and a vegetarian. He lived with his wife Sukanya in Encinitas, California.

On 6 December 2012, Shankar was admitted to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, San Diego, California after complaining of breathing difficulties. He died on 11 December 2012. He is survived by his second wife, Sukanya, and their daughter, Anoushka, also a well-known sitar player; both father and daughter were nominated for the 2013 Grammy awards.

With the New York concert producer Sue Jones he had another daughter, Norah Jones, herself the winner of several Grammies as a singer.

Beatle George Harrison, lead guitar player for the Beatles was a Hare Krishna convert. Throughout his career with the Beatles and as a solo artist, Harrison and Shankar remained best friends.

It was 36 hours of George drifting in and out of consciousness, with his wife and son at his side. One outsider allowed to see the dying Beatle, was George’s friend Ravi Shankar, who played sitar music. while the former Beatle faded away.

Harrison died on 29 November 2001, aged 58, from metastic non-small cell lung cancer He was cremated at Holllywood Forever Cemetary and his ashes were scattered at Varanasi, India, in the Ganges, Saraswati and Yamuna Rivers by his close family in a private ceremony according to Hindu tradition.

It is perhaps a mystical coincidence, that both of them, Shankar born in India, and Harrison born in England; died in California and their ashes were scattered in the same rivers in India.