Ravi Shankar: rare new video shows icon teaching George Harrison sitar

Rare footage of late sitar player Ravi Shankar has surfaced that sees him teaching Beatles guitarist George Harrison the instrument.

The footage has been shared by The Ravi Shankar Foundation with the BBC to commemorate what would’ve been the icon’s 100th birthday (April 11).

Shankar was described as the “godfather of world music” by Harrison, and a number of celebrations in London and New York were planned to celebrate his centenary, but have been cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Instead, a new video of rare footage has been shared to mark the occasion, which features footage from a number of Shankar’s gigs, and him teaching Harrison the sitar. Watch it here via the BBC.

Speaking to the BBC about the new footage, Shankar’s daughter Anoushka said: “Most people across cultures and generations seem to know the name Shankar. There definitely were decades where he was the household Indian name that was putting India on the map, culturally and artistically.”

Ravi Shankar. Credit: PA

Adding that she believes footage like this can add hope and inspiration to the public in times of uncertainty, she said: “I really do think that lots of people are turning into their kind of higher selves and that positivity and that hope and peace that I do think it makes a difference. And so any art, anything that helps people do that has incredible value.”

Ravi Shankar died in 2012 aged 92 after undergoing heart valve replacement surgery. Later that year, he was awarded a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys, which was accepted by his daughters, one of which is singer Norah Jones.

At the ceremony, Jones said: “We know he was very excited to be receiving this award. We really miss him. He lived and breathed music. He was tapping out rhythms on the breakfast table and making me do five over seven…I am still trying to get it. We are very happy to accept the award for him.”

Meanwhile, George Harrison‘s Material World Foundation has donated $500,000 to a series of charities providing much needed aid and care during this coronavirus pandemic.

The foundation set up by the Beatles singer-songerwriter in 1973 announced last month that it donated funds to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, Save the Children, and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).