Folk Singer-Songwriter Richie Havens Dies At 72

Richie Havens, the folk singer who is best remembered for being the opening act at the famed 1969 Woodstock Festival, and who had a career of singing songs of hope, protest, and change, died today at the age of 72 of a heart attack, reports his family via NBC News.

The Brooklyn-born artist made an art out of playing folk songs on his acoustic guitar, a latter-day Woody Guthrie if you will, but with a bit more bite and a slight hand in social commentary. Two songs have immortalized him, both shown in the Woodstock film which showcased his appearance – “Handsome Johnny” and “Freedom.” Both songs spoke of the polarizing and opinionated hotbed of controversy from many sides and points of view about the Vietnam War, which was splintering The United States at the time. With a simple strumming method which still had much energy and verve to it, Havens was a highlight at the festival, which at its peak was attended by over 250,000 people.

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Ravi Shankar, Indian Music Legend, Dies At 92

Ravi Shankar, who in essence almost singlehandedly brought Eastern “raga” music to the American shores and wound up influencing scores of famous musicians and bands, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles to name two, passed away in San Diego, CA, on December 11, 2012, reports The New York Times. He was 92. Shankar had suffered from heart ailments and underwent heart valve replacement surgery it was reported in a statement released by Shankar’s family.

Excelling on the sitar, an eclectic string instrument in which neighboring strings on the neck in essence resonate when a melody string is played, gave off a sound that was instantaneously connected with Shankar’s style and musical language. Shankar played like an extension of his personality, soft spoken, well mannered, respectful, yet with an attitude and a verve almost akin to a Jimi Hendrix.

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