Pandit Ravi Shankar – Vision of Peace (Deutsche Grammophon/Universal, 2000)
This double CD showcases some of Pandit
Ravi Shankar’s international prowess. The first CD has Japanese-Indian
collaborative tracks featuring Pandit Ravi Shankar on sitar and Ustad Alla
Rakha on tabla, accompanied by Japanese musicians Susumu Miyashita and Hozan
Yamamoto on flute and string instruments. Our pick on this CD is the energetic
The second CD is more traditional, with
Raaga Jogeshwari and Raaga Hameer. In sum, a fine listen for an afternoon of
Jayanthi Kumaresh is set to perform on Friday, April 12, 2019 at Roulette in new York city. The concert is part of the A World in Trance series.
Jayanthi Kumaresh is one of India’s leading veena (lute) players. She has captivated audiences around the world for over three decades with her entrancing performances.
A sixth generation musician and niece of the legendary violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman, she began playing the veena at the age of three. Jayanthi seeks to express the true voice of the veena, which transcends the boundaries of language and region.
She will open this program with a long solo rendition of tanam, the repetitive pulse that engenders the ancient art of Vedic chant. Since the veena is attributed to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of music and learning, this part of the program will evoke the feminine principle – Laasya – through an uninterrupted sequence of ragas.
In the second part, Jayanthi will evoke the masculine principle – Thaandava, where she will be joined by renowned percussionists K U Jayachandra Rao (mrdangam) and Pramath Kira (tabla, morching – jaw’s harp).
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.
The Sounds of Varanasi is a set of recording made in Varanasi, India in 2011 by Serbian musician and producer Srdjan Beronja. He lived in Varanasi (formerly Benares) where he studied classical Indian tabla and made live recordings with local virtuoso musicians on traditional Indian instruments as well as field recordings of rituals, mantras (praying recitations), weddings, and other distinctive sounds of the holy city of Varanasi.
artists featured include Pt. Dhruv Nath Mishra on sitar; Ravi Tripathi on tabla;
Pt. Sukhdev Prasad Mishra on Indian violin; Vikas Tripathi on tabla; Pt. Atul
Shankar on bansuri; Prakash Bimlesh on vocals and harmonium; and Pt. Kailash
Nath Mishra on tabla.
Carnatic Music has a large number of heroes and heroines. But the list of its unsung stars is even larger. This list is crowded with great musicologists and teachers who are responsible for the success of many performing stars. Such people preserve the greatness of our rich heritage alive by their selfless service. They happily pass on their expertise to others, many of whom go on to become performers of repute. More importantly, many such students go on to emulate their teachers, training more students; thus exponentially increasing the spread and reach of Carnatic Music. Geetha Sundaresan is one such teacher of teachers in the field of Carnatic Music.
Geetha was felicitated by a grateful gathering of her students of all ages, parents of many of these students, and admirers, in a special concert organized to honor her on 22 September 2018. She was accompanied by Sudha Ramasubramanian on the violin, who had been flown in from Chennai for the occasion, and local percussionists Sri Rama Mohan and Sri Nandagopal on mridangam and kanjira respectively.
Geetha started her concert with Saveri Varnam (Sarasuda by Kothavasal Venkatarama Iyer) which immediately set the tone for the evening’s program. This was followed by the Purandara Dasa kriti Saranu janakana kanaka rupane In Bilahari after a neat alapana. I have heard this sung by MLV in Latangi, but the Bilahari version sounded equally satisfying, including the chittaswarams in anupallavi and charanam. Later, I found out that the kriti has also been sung in Saurashtram. Wonder what raga the great saint sang it in originally?
Next was a brilliant Suddha Dhanyasi alapana, followed by Dikshitar’s Subramanyena rakshitoham. Geetha’s kalpana swarams were exquisite, yet not excessive. Young Sudha’s responses were equally impressive. At this point, the teacher in Geetha surfaced. She announced the details of the kritis she had sung so far, and prepared the audience for the Tyagaraja composition in the rare raga Manoranjani (Atu karaadani). The raga is a janya of the 5th Melakarta Manavati, although in the Dikshitar School of classification, it is itself designated as the 5th Melakarta.
By now, the audience, already very aware of the singer’s status in the city, were totally hooked. Here was someone who could make the transition from an oft heard composition to a rarely heard one with consummate ease. The stage had been set by Geetha for a scintillating evening of music.
An elaborate alapana in panthuvarali was followed by Sambo Mahadeva of Tyagaraja. Geetha enlightened the audience with details of this kriti: it is one of the Kovur Pancharatna compositions, which sheds light on Tyagaraja’s devotion to Lord Siva. Her interaction with the audience continued with the next piece, Kannan maligaikke marubadi vandeno in Atana where Kuchela, on his way back from visiting his friend Krishna, unaware of the Lord’s graciousness, finds his house replaced by a palatial building, and wonders if he has wandered back to Krishna’s palace again. She informed the audience about Papanasam Sivan composing this song for the movie “Bhakta Kuchela” in 1961. Geetha then launched into her main piece of the evening – Syama Sastri’s “Ni sari evaramma” in Bhairavi, giving it the detailed attention that such a heavy composition deserves. A brilliant thani avarthanam by Sri Rama Mohan and young Nandagopal followed. If the mridangam sounded sweet to the ears, the Kanjeera was no less. Many in the audience declared they had never expected a limited-scope instrument like the Kanjeera to sound so melodious. The local percussion duo once again did all Muscat music lovers proud with their synchronization and laya precision.
Eschewing an RTP, Geetha rounded off her concert with Kuntalavarali (Bhogeendra Sayeenam, Swati Thirunal), a lilting Bageshwari piece (Madhura Madhura Meenakshi by Swami Dayanada Saraswathi – Geetha mentioned about the honour she had of singing this song in the presence of the great Swamiji) and a Behag (muruganin maru peyar azhagu by Swami Surajananda), and a Kilippandu composed by her grandfather A K Mahadeva Iyer in praise of Tyagaraja. It was befitting that she invited all her students in the audience to join her as a chorus.
Geetha’s concert was an enriching experience for students and connoisseurs alike. Though Muscat will be the loser in Geetha’s repatriation to India, it was clear to all present that we rasikas here could not allow our selfishness to interfere with her class – she truly belongs in Chennai, where she will be able to rub shoulders with other artistes of her caliber.
Author: Dr (Col) Koduvayur M Harikrishnan with inputs from Mr. Ravishankar Rajamani.
Part of the Darbar Festival 2018 will take place in London during October 25-28. The event promotes Indian classical arts and showcases some of the best current improvised music. The festival is dedicated to Bhai Gurmit Singh Ji Virdee (1937-2005), an inspirational teacher of the tabla. Darbar Festival was first established in 2006 in his memory.
This autumn Darbar Festival will take place at London music venue Barbican for the first time, featuring remarkable world-class musicians:
Vasumathi Badrinathan comes from a family with an intense musical background. She is an accomplished vocalist of Carnatic music, the classical style of music from Southern India. She was initiated into this art at a very young age by her mother, the late Smt. Padma Seshadri, who was a talented singer. Subsequently, Vasumathi learned music from Smt. T. R. Balamani, the reputed music guru.
Vasumathi has imbibed in her style the fine tradition passed on by her mother – disciple of the late Yageneswara Bhagavathar and Smt. Balamani – disciple of the legendary late Musiri Subramanya Iyer and Sri. T. K. Govinda Rao. Vasumathi enjoys a rich traditional paathanthara by virtue of her training. Her distinct undiluted classical style reveals itself in her rendition of Kritis, raga contours and niraval passages. Endowed with a rich bass voice, Vasumathi uses it to explore the profound melodies of Carnatic music.
Vasumathi has been performing widely within and outside India for several years and has toured extensively in Europe and Asia Pacific countries. Apart from her concerts, her skill in presenting lecture-demonstrations and workshops has been well appreciated. Vasumathi is a recipient of the Junior Fellowship for music from the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Government of India, awarded to outstanding young artistes. Vasumathi is the recipient of the title “Sur Mani” for her proficiency in music by the Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai. Her music is often broadcast over the All India Radio, one of India’s strongest upholders of classical music.
Vasumathi has released four CDs: Tamil Padams and Nayika portray the love songs of Tamil Naidu and Andra Pradesh, rarely performed and at risk of disappearing. Tamil Marai Isai contains the most beautiful verses of musical poetry by the Alwars -saints-philosophers-poets- of Tamil Naidu during the 8th to 13th centuries. Swara Dhwani presents songs that are typical of Carnatic music.
Besides music, Vasumathi is also an able dancer of Bharata Natyam, a classical dance style of South India. She has been groomed in this art by one of India’s s most revered and celebrated masters in the field – Kalaimamani Guru T.K. Mahalingam Pillai, of Sri Rajarajeswari Bharata Natya Kala Mandir, Mumbai. Vasumathi represents in her style of dancing, the pristine beauty of the Tanjavur school of Bharata Natyam. Vasumathi has many performances and choreographic efforts to her credit. For her proficiency in dance, the Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai awarded Vasumathi the title of “Singar Mani” given to young dancers.
As an artist, Vasumathi derives joy as a performer of both music and dance. Her intense involvement in both these streams gives her an added advantage and helps her present her art with more feeling, awareness and aesthetic appeal. Vasumathi’s grip over music nourishes her dance endeavors and her dancer’s intuition invests her singing with feeling and sensitivity.
She directs the Sivubadra Institute of Indian Art and culture that she founded to propagate the Indian arts.
Vasumathi lives and works in Mumbai in India.
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion