At home in diverse styles
Once you’re aware of it, at least, you can see from their faces that both Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones are daughters of Ravi Shankar. Whereas Jones was born in New York in 1979 and has devoted herself to jazzy pop sounds, Anoushka Shankar was born not quite two years later in London and dared to take up the same instrument as her famous father.
Anoushka Shankar explored terrain more or less within Indian classical music on her first three records, including the 2001 CD “Live at Carnegie Hall,” for which she became the first woman to be nominated for a Grammy in the World Music category. However, beginning with the 2005 “Rise,” which received a Grammy nomination for best Contemporary World Music album, she has increasingly integrated modern and international influences in her music – from the synthesizer to the didgeridoo. The disc “Breathing Under Water,” released in 2007, includes appearances by such illustrious guests as Ravi Shankar, Norah Jones and also Sting, in a return favor for Anoushka Shankar’s contribution to his own album “Sacred Love.”
Anoushka Shankar picked up the sitar for the first time at the age of nine. After just four years of lessons from her father, she joined him onstage at Siri Fort in New Delhi and, shortly thereafter, at New York’s Carnegie Hall and the WOMAD festival. These engagements were followed by her first CD, when she was 17. She ventured into the pop-music realm not only in her collaboration with Sting, but also with Eric Clapton, Lenny Kravitz, the Thievery Corporation and others. She can even be heard on the album “The Imagine Project” by jazz legend Herbie Hancock. And Anoushka Shankar has made forays into European classical music as well. On sitar, she has teamed up with violinist Joshua Bell and the grand master cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, and she has accompanied star flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal on sitar and piano. In July 2010 she performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the premiere of Ravi Shankar’s first symphony for sitar and orchestra.
In 2011 Anoushka Shankar’s “Traveller” went straight to the top of the world music charts in Europe. The album was recorded in Madrid with Indian and Spanish musicians, including Ravi Shankar’s longtime tabla player, Tanmoy Bose, legendary flamenco guitarist Pepe Habichuela and Majorcan singer Concha Buika, who, as the daughter of a refugee from Spain’s former colony Equatorial Guinea, adds an African element to the mix. Composed mostly by Anoushka Shankar, the CD demonstrates that the worlds of Indian music and flamenco aren’t as distant from one another as might be expected. Indeed, many of the great flamenco musicians were and are Gitanos, or Romani, whose ancestral home is – India. As producer Javier Limón puts it: “When Anoushka plays purely Indian music, to our ears it sounds like pure flamenco.”
In addition to being a world musician who feels at home in diverse styles, Anoushka Shankar is also an actress and writer. She has published a biography on her father, and has contributed articles to Delhi’s First City Magazine and written weekly columns for India’s largest daily newspaper, The Hindustan Times. She and her husband, film director Joe Wright, live in England, India and the United States. A true citizen of the world, Anoushka Shankar seems to know neither artistic nor geographic borders.
Born on June 9, 1981 in London.
Breathing Under Water
Manhattan (EMI). With Karsh Kale, Norah Jones, Sting, Ravi Shankar
Live at Carnegie Hall
British House of Commons Shield
Woman of the Year (with Kareena Kapoor, Ritu Beri, and Rhea Pillai), International Women´s Day
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(06 December 11 - 06 December 12)