Anoushka Shankar, daughter of the most famous Indian musician in the world, Ravi Shankar, and half-sister to Nora Jones, has a brilliant new album and a U.S. tour underfoot.
She begins her tour 3/22/12 in Jacksonville, Fla,, and winds it up in So. Cal on 4/21 and 4/22 in LA and Irvine, respectively (visit www.anoushkashankar.com for tour dates). The album fuses Indian music and flamenco, which is not that far-fetched an idea. Gypsy flamenco owes a debt to its origins in Rajasthan, NW India, where gypsies first started their trek out of India: first to Persia, where they went in the thousands became court musicians of the king, but then got thrown out, some heading to Hungary, Rumania, and Europe, the southern flank going across North Africa and then up from Morocco into Spain. It’s no coincidence that Indian kathak and flamenco dancing are similar.
Anoushka’s new album and touring ensemble features some big names: Buika is on one of the cuts (but not on the tour), singer Sandra Carrasco is there, the great guitarist Pepe Habichuela is there, flamenco singer Duquende is there. Javier Limon, the hot producer @ Casa Limon in Barcelona, produced the new DG cd.
It seemed for a while that Anoushka was being groomed–by her famous dad, for a career as a master sitarist specializing in northern Indian Hindustani classical known as raga. But she didn’t want to be pigeon-holed, and recorded crossover albums with Norah Jones, Karsh Kale, and other non-Indian musicians. But, as the old saying goes, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree: Ravi Shankar was an experimenter as well, working with English violinist Yehudi Menuhin, writing a sitar concerto, recording with conductor Zubin Mehta, then music director of the LA Philharmonic. Like her father, she has embarked on a musical journey that both adapts and refreshes the older style, and bringing new fans to her inventive and compelling music.
Here is a cut from the new cd Traveller, featuring Concha Buika: