Last night, March 21, sitar phenomenon, composer and world music star Anoushka Shankar performed at Fletcher Hall in the Carolina Theater of Durham, North Carolina. Anoushka charmed the audience with a remarkable mix of Indian classical music ragas, contemporary world fusion material rooted in Indian traditions and cinematic music.
The concert started with two spectacular ragas that showcased Anoushka Shankar’s talent as a sitarist and her equally impressive ensemble. Later, she performed material from Traces of You, her remarkable collaboration with Nitin Sawhney. The concert ended with excerpts from her first film score, the soundtrack to a silent epic film called Shiraz from 1928. The music for Shiraz reflected the intrigue and passion that occurs during the film.
Throughout the concert there were abundant examples of
virtuosity with enthralling call and response interactions between the sitar,
tabla, mrindangam and bamboo flute.
The ensemble included Ojas Adhiya (India) on tabla,
Pirashanna Thevarajah (UK) on mridangam, Ravichandra Kulur on flute (India),
Danny Keane (UK) on cello and piano, and Kenji Ota (Japan) on tanpura. For this
concert, Anoushka invited a young Durham woman to join the ensemble on bass
Anoushka Shankar will be performing in Washington DC tomorrow,
March 23 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. She will later cross the Atlantic
to perform in Dublin on Saturday, April 6 at The National Concert Hall; the Royal
Festival Hall in London, United Kingdom on April 9; and she’ll fly back to the
USA to perform at Campbell Hall in Santa Bárbara, California on April 17.
Special thanks to Eric Oberstein and King Kenney at Duke Performances for their support.
Celebrated sitar player Anoushka Shankar is currently touring the United States. The tour includes concerts in Durham, North Carolina (Carolina Theater & Duke Performances) and Miami (South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center & Rhythm Foundation).
Anoushka Shankar is a leading performer of the Indian classical tradition. Her legendary father Ravi Shankar introduced Indian classical music and the sitar to the West.
Anoushka studied sitar under her father from a very young age, and like him continued on to broaden Indian musical horizons. A world music pioneer, Anoushka Shankar continues her father’s legacy of crossing cultural and musical boundaries, with collaborations with the world’s leading classical orchestras, flamenco, jazz and world music acts, and pop artists as diverse as Sting, M.I.A., and her half-sister Norah Jones.
Accompanied by a remarkable ensemble for these performances, Anoushka Shankar returns to her roots with an intimate concert of meditative Indian classical ragas.
South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center & Rhythm Foundation Sunday, March 17th, 2019, 7:00 p.m. South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center 10950 SW 211 St, Cutler Bay, FL 33189 https://smdcac.org/events/anoushka-shankar
Anoushka Shankar was born on June 9, 1981 in London, England. Anoushka is the daughter of the late Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar, and she is the first and only sitarist in the world trained completely by him.
Growing up in London, New Delhi and, later, Encinitas, California, Anoushka at first resisted the legacy of the sitar, a complex and ancient instrument with between 17 and 21 strings. Anoushka learned her first Indian songs and dances from her mother, Sukanya, and she became her father’s student at the age of nine. Her initial dislike of the specially built “baby sitar” on which she cut her musical teeth gave way to a love of the instrument and the music. She made her performing debut at age 13.
Ravi Shankar guided his daughter through her emergence as a performer and as a recording artist, writing and producing the five works she plays on Anoushka, her debut album. For Anourag, her second recording, Anoushka once again performed music written and produced by her father. This time, Ravi Shankar also joined Anoushka as performer.
When Ravi Shankar’s friend and protégé George Harrison first worked with Anoushka in 1997 — when she conducted on the Chants of India album — he saw that she had inherited not only her father’s virtuosity but also his musical soul. “Most people are musicians simply because they play a certain instrument when they play that instrument, the music appears,” Harrison said. “But Ravi — to me, he is the music; it just happens to be that he plays the sitar. And it’s like that with Anoushka. She just has that quality. She could play the banjo, and it wouldn’t matter – she is the music.”
The release of Anourag coincided with the extensive “Full Circle” tour of the United States, in which Anoushka and Ravi Shankar performed together in concert in celebration of Ravi’s 80th birthday and the 70th anniversary of the beginning of his career in music. On August 15th, India’s Independence Day, Anoushka performed alone in New York at Summerstage in Central Park. Throughout the tour, she shared the stage with her father, performing his Sitar Concerto No. 1 and conducting master classes.
Anourag continued the Shankar family’s extraordinary presence in the world of Indian classical music. The recording’s six tracks feature traditional ragas that reflect Ravi Shankar’s influence on both the composition and performance of sitar music. In his first new recording as performer in several years, Ravi Shankar joined Anoushka on “Pancham Se Gara,” the final track on Anourag. In addition to her father, Anoushka was joined on the recording by Bikram Gosh on tabla and mridangam, Tanmoy Bose on tabla.
After graduating from high school with high honors in 1999, Anoushka decided to delay her entry to college to tour the world once again with her father. Highlights of their 1999 schedule included performances together at London’s Barbican Theatre and at the Evian Festival in France, where Anoushka joined the world-renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich in playing the world premiere of a new work for cello and sitar by Ravi Shankar.
In 1998, the British Parliament presented Anoushka with a House of Commons Shield in recognition of her artistry and musicianship — at 17, she was the youngest as well as the sole female recipient of this honor. She toured extensively with Ravi throughout her cultural homeland of India, as well as Europe, Asia and the United States. In 1998, Anoushka played at Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD Festival in Seattle, at Carnegie Hall and in a special concert at New York’s Town Hall. Anoushka also joined her father in London in March 1997 for a historic performance of his Concerto No. 1 for Sitar and with Zubin Mehta conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.
Rise, Anoushka Shankar’s fourth album for Angel Records, marked a defining moment in the career of the young musician in 2005. Having previously recorded strictly in the classical tradition, Anoushka emerged as a potent creative force. “It’s very much my own music and my journey and who I am right now,” said Anoushka, who turned 24 in June of 2005 “I felt that on a personal level, Rise signifies growth.“
On Rise-which was composed, produced and arranged by Anoushka-she collaborated with a select crew of virtuoso Eastern and Western musicians wielding a variety of both acoustic and electronic instruments often engaging in unexpected ways to create tantalizing new sounds.
Having toured almost non-stop since her adolescence, in addition to attending school until her graduation from high school in 1999, Anoushka felt that she needed a break and elected to take 2004 off. But her vacation quickly became a working one as concepts were planted for the album that ultimately became Rise.
“I was going to go disappear for a while but wouldn’t you know it, I made an album,” she says “The sabbatical gave me the space to take risks. It was really an organic, natural experience. I was traveling from India to the States and meeting friends and adding people along the way. It was really beautiful.”
From the first notes of “Prayer In Passing,” which opens Rise, it becomes instantly clear that Anoushka is on to something inspiring and uncommon here. The track features Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, a renowned Indian slide guitarist alongside the flamenco-style piano of Ricardo Miño, Pedro Eustache’s bansuri flute and duduk (a Middle Eastern wind instrument) and Anoushka’s sitar. “This one’s very languid,” says Anoushka. “It’s just nice and dreamy-it’s set in a morning raga that’s very moody and simple. It was lovely to have so many different things that shouldn’t go together but seemed to flow really nicely.”
“Red Sun,” the second track, features Anoushka on keyboards and is highlighted by the percussive Indian “bol” vocalizing of Bikram Ghosh and Tanmoy Bose, her longtime tabla players. “We’ve always incorporated that into my shows when they play with me, and I definitely wanted to feature that-they’re improvising on that,” says Anoushka.
“Mahadeva” is based on a four-line song by Ravi Shankar that was re-composed and arranged by Anoushka. “He never developed it into a piece of music,” Anoushka explains. “It was just something that I sang as a kid and it came into my head while we were in Calcutta recording. It started developing into a really strong rhythmic, dark-feeling track, which I was really excited about. Mahadeva is another name for Shiva, and one aspect of Shiva is that he’s the destroyer. This sort of brings out that feeling of anger and insanity.“
“Naked” turns the mood around completely-Anoushka, all alone, on sitar and keyboards. “It was a very conscious decision to add a little pretty track with sitar being the focus,” she says. “We’d gone very mysterious and heavy and it seemed nice to have something light.”
“Solea” was co-written by Anoushka and pianist Ricardo Miño. The luminous background sounds, Anoushka explains, were all created on the piano. “I’m holding the piano strings muted while he’s playing one of the other background synth sounds. It was really creative and fun for me, and very physical, too, because of the rhythm, the flamenco approach.”
The album’s other sitar-less track, “‘Beloved,'” says Anoushka, “was my first experience writing lyrics from scratch and fitting it to a melody. It was flute-focused and I thought it would be nice to have it be about Krishna because he’s always associated with the flute. The lyrics are from the viewpoint of Radha, who’s his eternal lover. She’s searching for him everywhere and then she understands that the reason she hasn’t been able to find him is because she’s not looking within herself.”
The intriguingly titled “Sinister Grains,” like “Prayer In Passing,” is another instance where Anoushka juxtaposed seemingly incongruous ingredients, here using Indian shehnai and vocals, didjeridoo, South American vocal percussion, bass and electronic elements, including her sitar which was fed through a filter to create some of the track’s ambient effects. “It’s just a funky little mysterious track,” she says. “The song is in a Sufi-sort of mood where he’s talking about the pain of living, and the music is also very moody.”
Anoushka compares “Voice Of The Moon,” which matches the Western cello and violin to the Eastern sitar, tabla and santoor, to her father’s collaborations with the late violinist Yehudi Menuhin. “It’s very much composed within an Indian raga yet the fact that the cello is there gives it a smoothness,” she says. The Indian percussion is amended with an electronic HandSonic drum pad as well, “to give it a little more depth,” Anoushka explains.
Finally, “Ancient Love,” the longest track on Rise is “my favorite one by far,” says Anoushka. “This is the one closest to my heart. It was also the easiest track because it constantly flowed. Every time someone added to this track, it would get more beautiful. We ended up taking out a lot, too, to retain a bit of simplicity. It’s got a nice mix of the electronics and several flavors.”
The sequencing of the tracks on Rise, adds Anoushka, is hardly random. “Each one is in a certain raga, and it flows from morning to evening through the course of the album, which is a pretty unique feature. It’s not something that happens very often or that can be made to work, but if you do believe that ragas have moods and have significance it does enhance the overall flow.”
In 2007, Anoushka collaborated with world music innovator Karsh Kale, combining Indian classical music with electronica and other influences.
After releasing several experimental, fusion and crossover albums, Anoushka released Home in 2015. It’s a pure Indian classical album that showcases the meditative and virtuosic qualities of the Indian raga. Home includes two ragas, one of which is a creation of Ravi Shankars.
Land of Gold (2016) is Anoushka Shankar’s whole-hearted response to the trauma and injustice experienced by refugees and victims of war. The music was inspired by recent news images of people fleeing civil war, oppression, poverty and agonizing hardship. “The seeds of Land of Gold originated in the context of the humanitarian plight of refugees,” Anoushka recalls. “It coincided with the time when I had recently given birth to my second child. I was deeply troubled by the intense contrast between my ability to provide for my baby, and others who desperately wanted to provide the same security for their children but were unable to do so.”
Hang virtuoso and co-writer of many of the album’s ten pieces Manu Delago joined Anoushka Shankar. Other guests included Sanjeev Shankar, a master of the spellbinding Indian reed instrument, the shehnai, who studied with Anoushka’s father Ravi Shankar.
Land of Gold also includes guest appearances by singer-songwriter Alev Lenz, jazz bassist Larry Grenadier, dancer Akram Khan, cellist Caroline Dale, rapper and refugee advocate M.I.A., and actress and political activist Vanessa Redgrave. All-girl children’s choir Girls for Equality makes its debut on the album’s closing song, “Reunion.”
“Everyone is, in some way or another, searching for their own “Land of Gold”: a journey to a place of security, connectedness and tranquility, which they can call home,” said Anoushka. “This journey also represents the interior quest that we all take to find a sense of inner peace, truth and acceptance – a universal desire that unites humanity.”
“My instrument,” comments Anoushka, “is the terrain in which I explore the gamut of emotional expression – evoking shades of aggression, anger and tenderness, while incorporating elements of classical minimalism, jazz, electronica and Indian classical styles.”
In 2019, Anoushka Shankar released Reflections, a compilation featuring including Anoushka’s favorite tracks, with pieces from Land of Gold, Traces of You, Rise and other albums.
Acclaimed Indian music composer and sitarist Anoushka Shankar is set to perform on Sunday, March 17, 2019 at South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center.
Anoushka is the daughter of Ravi Shankar and sister of Norah Jones. Anoushka Shankar studied sitar under her father from a very young age and has gone on to master the instrument and also expand her musical horizons.
She has collaborated with leading classical orchestras and pop artists as diverse as Sting, M.I.A., Herbie Hancock, and her sister Norah Jones.
The Rhythm Foundation, the arts presenter of world music and other forms of music in South Florida, has announced the artists scheduled to perform in the Fall-Winter 2018-19 Season.
Saturday, September 22nd
North Beach Bandshell
Juana Molina. Opening set by Afrobeta
Argentine indie-folk-electronic star in a rare Miami concert.
Friday, October 5th
North Beach Bandshell
Omar Souleyman. Opening set by Richie Hell. Co-Presented with MDC Live Arts
Syrian electronic artist on Diplo’s Mad Decent record label. Recently collaborated with Björk and Four Tet.
Saturday, October 6th
North Beach Bandshell
Annual Italian music HIT Week event showcasing this striking composer blending electronic experimental music with the classical tradition.
Free with RSVP
Thursday, October 18th
Pérez Art Museum Miami
A unique electronic artist making music at the intersection of Deep House, Afrofuturism, avant-jazz, EBM, and global soundscapes.
Friday, October 26th
Adrienne Arsht Center
African world music star with his band Super Étoile.
Friday, November 9th
Fillmore Miami Beach
Diego El Cigala
Spain’s superb and innovative Flamenco singer will performs intimately with piano as inspired by his past work with Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés,
Friday, December 7th
Emerson Dorsch Gallery
A group described as Talking Heads/David Bowie/B-52’s meets South Korean shamanic rock.
Free with RSVP
Friday, January 18th, 2019
African desert blues Tuareg artist from Niger on the Sahel Sounds record label.
Free with RSVP
Weekend, Feb. 8th – 10th, 2019
North Beach Bandshell
GroundUp Music Fest
Third annual festival presented by the GroundUp record label in partnership with The Rhythm Foundation.
Saturday, February 16th, 2019
North Beach Bandshell
The best-known living exponent of the Afro-Peruvian musical tradition introduced to international audiences in the late 1990s by David Byrne.
Saturday, March 16th, 2019
Little Haiti Cultural Center
Habib Koité & Bassekou Kouyaté
Two of Mali’s most renowned musicians come together for the U.S. premier tour of their new duo project.
Sunday, March 17th, 2019
South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts
Anoushka Shankar. Co-Presented with SMDCAC
Sitarist Anoushka Shankar is the daughter of Ravi Shankar and sister of Norah Jones. She is the torch-bearer of her family’s Indian classical tradition.
Duke Performances revealed the world music programming (under the category International) for the 2016/2017 season. The world music shows include sitar maestra Anoushka Shankar with a six-piece Indian classical ensemble playing an evening of Indian music in tribute to her father, Ravi Shankar.
Celebrated tabla performer Zakir Hussain will return to Duke University with fifth-generation sitar player Niladri Kumar to perform Indian classical music.
Rising world music act DakhaBrakha (Ukraine) will play their live score for Earth, a 1930 silent classic film of Soviet cinema by Ukrainian director Alexander Dovzhenko.
American dobro virtuoso Jerry Douglas will perform classic bluegrass with his all-star group The Earls of Leicester. The group honors Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs of the Foggy Mountain Boys.
Zakir Hussain, tabla & Niladri Kumar, sitar
Saturday, October 8 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Jerry Douglas Presents Earls of Leicester featuring Shawn Camp, Johnny Warren, Charlie Cushman & Barry Bales
Saturday, February 18 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Home: A Tribute to Ravi Shankar
Friday, April 7 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Dovzhenko’s Earth: Film + Live Score
Friday, April 14 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)