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Ex-Beatle's widow lauds Ravi Shankar at US memorial

Ravi-ShankarENCINITAS: Former Beatle George Harrison's widow Olivia joined hundreds of fans and family of Ravi Shankar on Thursday, at an open-air memorial to the Indian sitar legend near his California home.


Anoushka Shankar, daughter of the late musician who died last week near San Diego, read out tributes about her father from fellow artists at the service in a palm-tree lined meditation center.


Harrison, whose late husband learned sitar from Shankar and collaborated with him notably on the ground-breaking Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, said the former Beatle had learned so much from their friendship.


"They were like father and son as well as brothers... they made each other laugh as if they shared a secret. And I'm sure they did," said the 64-year-old, whose husband died of cancer in 2001.


Shankar "laid the stepping stones from West to East, that led George to new concepts, alternative philosophies and completely transformed his musical sensibilities," she said.


"They exchanged ideas and melodies until their minds and hearts, East and West, were entwined, like a double helix," she added in Encinitas, north of San Diego, where Shankar had a home.


Shankar's 31-year-old daughter -- also a sitar player, and just nominated for a Grammy -- told the audience that her father would have approved of the memorial's venue, the Self-Realization Fellowship spiritual center.


"My father loved spending time here so much, so it feels so right for us to be here celebrating his journey," she said, before reading out tributes from singer Peter Gabriel and film director Martin Scorsese.


Shankar died last Tuesday at the age of 92, after failing to recover from surgery at a hospital in La Jolla, near San Diego. His family was at his bedside.


Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012


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