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The Boston Globe

Obituaries

Ravi Shankar, 92; sitar virtuoso inspired the Beatles

NEW YORK — The kids at first didn’t seem to know how to respond as Ravi Shankar began his four-hour set on the final afternoon of the Monterey Pop Festival, in the fabled summer of 1967.

As captured in D.A. Pennebaker’s documentary, some nodded along and smiled; Jimi Hendrix listened carefully. Others dozed, or chatted. A few hippies danced wildly, as if they couldn’t tell — or didn’t care about — the difference between Mr. Shankar’s raga and a Jefferson Airplane jam. But as the performance accelerated from isolated strains to a pace that could exhaust the speediest rock star, eyes opened, minds expanded and Mr. Shankar and his fellow musicians left to a long standing ovation.

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