George Harrison and Paul McCartney meet Ravi Shankar

June 1966

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Then, in June, 1966, at a friend’s house in London, I met George Harrison and George Harrison, of the Beatles. I found them to be very charming and polite young men, not at all what I had expected. George talked to me about the sitar and said that he had been very much impressed with the instrument and its sound and my playing of it since he first heard me. I told him that after hearing so much about his accomplishments, I would like him to show me what he had done with the sitar. With an awkward and childlike expression, he said shyly that it was really not very much. I was struck by his deep humility. George explained to me he had had no real training with the sitar, but had done some experiments with it on his own, using his knowledge of the guitar as a background, and he expressed, very sincerely, his desire to learn from me to play the sitar. I carefully explained to him that one must undergo many long years of study and practice of the basics before one can play even a single note properly. He understood all this perfectly and said he was prepared to go through the years of discipline. I invited him to come to India with his wife, Pattie, to study and spend some time with me. He accepted enthusiastically. He asked me to his beautiful house in Esher, outside London, and a few days before I had to leave England, I gave George his first lesson in Indian music.

Ravi Shankar – From “My Music, My Life”

Last updated on January 7, 2024

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