July 19, 2007

SISTER/SITAR:

At Least One of Shankar's Girls Followed Papa's Lead: On her latest recording, Rise, Anoushka Shankar infused ancient raga melodic forms with subtle keyboards, electronic effects, and other non-traditional instruments. (Sam Prestianni, 7/17/07, Seattle Weekly)

Unlike her snoozy superstar half-sister Norah Jones, Anoushka Shankar is very much her father's daughter. Which is saying something when your pops is the pioneering sitar player Ravi Shankar. The hippest Beatle, George Harrison, once called Ravi "the godfather of world music" for his revolutionary East-meets-West fusions, which boldly transformed American pop, jazz, and dance grooves in the '60s and '70s. His work continues to resonate in the hybrid soundtracks of the 21st century—a genre-elusive space where Anoushka has recently emerged as a leader.

On her fourth and latest recording from 2005, Rise, the follow-up to the Grammy-nominated Live at Carnegie Hall, Anoushka Shankar infused ancient raga melodic forms with subtle keyboards, electronic effects, and other nontraditional instruments (both acoustic and electric). As she explained in an NPR interview at the time, she created "an album that's hopefully more accessible but still retains the actual heart of the music." Indeed, Shankar's compositions serve as a refreshing contemporary portal for Western listeners to experience the hypnotic sounds of northern India.

This is new territory for the 26-year-old London-born sitarist, whose previous efforts focused exclusively on the classical modes first gleaned from her father when she was just 7. It seems that once she had proved herself a devoted adept of the old school—even receiving a rare award (the House of Commons Shield) from the British government for her skills as "a pre-eminent musician of the Asian Arts"—she felt confident to explore her voice as a modern composer-improviser. "I've played this beautiful classical instrument, done this ancient musical style that is a huge part of who I am," Shankar told NPR, "but there's so much more. And it just makes sense that they should come together."


Choose Rise from the Playlist here.


MORE:
-ALL SONGS CONSIDERED: George Harrison's "Inner Light" performed by long-time friend Jeff Lynne and Ravi Shankar's daughter, Anoushka Shankar (NPR)
-AOL: Music: Anoushka Shankar
-INTERVIEW: My father, my hero; my daughter, my joy: Ravi Shankar and his daughter Anoushka top the bill next week at the first main Prom dedicated to Indian music. (Peter Culshaw, 7/28/05, Daily Telegraph)
-PROFILE: Anoushka Shankar: An Indian Classic (Aryn Baker, October 4, 2004; TIME Asia)

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 19, 2007 6:31 AM
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