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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 10:58 GMT
Shankar is presented with CBE
Ravi Shankar
Shankar receiving an Indian award last year
Legendary Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, who has worked with some of the world's most famous musicians, has been presented with a CBE for services to music.

Ravi Shankar, who received the honour in New Delhi from British High Commissioner Sir Rob Young, has been playing the sitar for more than 60 years, to great acclaim in his native India.

His influence has enabled bridges to be built between Indian music and Western classical and pop music

Culture secretary Chris Smith

Culture Secretary Chris Smith said: "I am delighted Ravi Shankar has been given this honour.

"Ravi has long been recognised as one of the greatest exponents of Indian classical music.

'Beatles guru'

"He has introduced post-war generations throughout the West to the complexity and beauty of sitar music.

"His influence has enabled bridges to be built between Indian music and Western classical and pop music."

Shankar achieved international fame in the 1960s following his association with the Beatles.

France made Shankar a commander of its Legion of Honour in 2000
He taught George Harrison and when the group stopped off in India after a tour in the Philippines, he was dubbed the Beatles' guru, and that has stuck ever since.

The musician, now in his early eighties, has had a varied career which included collaborating with the late virtuoso violinist Yehudi Menuhin and performing at the famous Woodstock festival.

Much of the calm spirituality evident in his music is rooted in his childhood in the holy city of Benares, on the banks of the River Ganges.

"There used to be so much entertainment, singing, dancing, little dramas going on," he once said.

"You saw everything of life, from birth to death. It was really like magic."

See also:

24 Jun 99 | South Asia
Indian music - now online
30 Jan 99 | South Asia
Top award for Ravi Shankar
13 Feb 00 | South Asia
France honours Shankar
07 Apr 00 | South Asia
Ravi Shankar is 80
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