Sitar In The Film: Shankar's Impact On Pop Music

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Shankar met Richard Bock, founder of World Pacific Records, on his first American Tour and recorded most of his albums in the 1950’s and 60’s for Bock’s label. The special attraction to sitar suddenly came about when the Beatles and the Rolling stones and some other pop groups used it in the recording of their songs. George Harrison, used a sitar to record the song “Norwegian Wood”. Harrison met Shankar in London in June 1966 and visited India later that year for six weeks to study sitar under hanker in Srinagar. During the visit, a documentary film about Shankar was shot by Howard worth. The name of the documentary was Raga and it was released in 1971. Shankar’s association with Harrison increased Shankar’s popularity. The Beatle scene and the sitar explosion brought him a position of immense popularity with young people. Ken Hunt of All Music stated that Shanker had become “the most famous Indian musician on the planet by 1966”. Many people in those days thought that Indian music was influencing pop music to a high degree. But Shankar’s opinion was that it was just the sound of the sitar and not true Indian music that one heard in pop songs. The very traditional people in India are of the opinion that Shankar was commercializing and cheapening his music with the pop influence and lowering his standards of playing the sitar. Along with the teenagers, there was another

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