The world music community is remembering Ravi Shankar today. Like most Westerners, I first came into contact with the man and his music through Beatle George Harrison. From the wonderful s of Norwegian Wood to later recordings like Within and Without You, the Sitar became a welcome addition to the progression of Beatle music. But Shankar will be remembered for the virtuoso he was and his total mastery of the instrument.
I'd be less than honest if I said that we weren't surprised. Secretly, though, knowing that these exotic visitors were not Hindu gods but rather just like most people was comforting. Within you and without you, indeed.