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Anoushka Shankar Gets A Standing Ovation At Berkeley Performance Center

Nirmala Garimella

World Music presented Anoushka Shankar on October 22, at The Berkeley Performance Center, Boston.

 On her website, band members describe ‘Rise’, Anoushka’s new album :“While her experiments are rooted in the ancient musical tradition of which she is a part, on Rise she focuses on a creative interpretation of her legacy, bringing together various instruments and musical styles in an often entirely new way. For Anoushka's Rise Tour she is privileged to be joined by the following musicians: Tanmoy Bose- tabla, Ravichandra Kulur- flute, Aditya Prakash- vocals, Leo Dombecki- piano and live electronics, Jesse Charnow- drum kit, Pirashanna Theveraja- mridangam and other percussion, and Clarence Gonsalves- bass.”

 This music of exploration was evident at her recent concert brought by the World of Music to Boston. And judging from the reaction of the audience who applauded and clapped with frequency it was received equally well. When exploring new territory, the true sound of an instrument in a good acoustic environment cannot be undermined and Berkeley Performing center was a perfect venue.

 From the very first piece, titled Voice of the Moon that started off slow but reached a fast pace, Anoushka approached her control of the instrument with care and honesty.  Her  dedication, love, and artistry, whether playing the Sitar or amplifying it with surrounding instruments as naturally as possible, was to let others not so familiar with Indian Classical music to enjoy the art as far as possible.

 The next piece Rebirth was composed by her with friends from New Delhi called the Medieval Pundits. Red Sun, a piece that had percussion wizardry in both North and South Indian styles delighted the audience no end. Tanmoy Bose and Ravi Chandra Kulur both performed brilliantly on the instruments engaging in banter of voice and beats. The second half had a long session on Aalap which Anoushka described as more spiritual and serious. It was a solo performance by her and was called ‘Naked’. Later she introduced the artists of the evening.

 Mahadeva a piece originally learnt from her father was adopted with a whole range of musical instruments and vocalist Aditya Shanker’s deep resounding voice reverberated with ‘Sri Shiva Mahadeva Shambho’. The effect was tremendous as well as stunning’.

 Anoushka Shankar has shown herself to be a uniquely talented artist with an inherent understanding of the great musical tradition of India. With a style all her own, she has become a mature musical force, carrying forward the legacy established by her father, Ravi Shankar, one of the most creative and influential figures in Indian music.

Shankar is touring in support of her ambitious new album, Rise (Angel Records, 2005), which marks the maturation and individuality of Shankar as a musician. The album, which was composed, produced and arranged by the artist, features virtuoso Eastern and Western musicians on such disparate instruments as the flamenco-style piano, violin, cello, the didjeridoo, the Middle Eastern daduk, the Indian shehnai, tabla and, of course, the sitar. Shankar’s stunning proficiency in, and understanding of, the complex musical traditions of India are completely present, challenged and enhanced by her own unique musical additions and combinations. Rise is at once a bold departure for Shankar and simultaneously, in her own words, “A very Indian album.”




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