World Music Institute presents ANOUSHKA SHANKAR 11/16, opening 'Masters of Indian Music' series
Celebrating the release of her seventh album, entitled Traces of You, sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar opens the World Music Institute's Masters of Indian Music series with a performance on Saturday, November 16 at 8:00pm atNew York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
After years of intensive study with her father, the famed sitarist Ravi Shankar, Anoushka's music has grown into a multicultural tapestry reflecting her personal experiences and broad musical interests. Traces of You (her second release on the esteemed Deutsche Grammophon label) infuses Anoushka's Indian classical roots with inspiration drawn from such diverse genres as electronica, jazz, and Western classical music.
Shankar's performance at the Skirball Center-her World Music Institute debut-is part of a two-week U.S. tour and will feature selections from her new recording. Anoushka's dynamic ensemble consists of longtime collaborators Pirashanna Thevarajah on Indian percussion and Sanjeev Shankar on shehnai and tanpura; Ayanna Witter-Johnsonon vocals, cello, and keyboards; Danny Keane on cello and keyboards, and Manu Delago on percussion and Hang, a relatively new acoustic instrument that resembles a steel drum but presents an even wider variety of textural possibilities. Together, the ensemble seamlessly integrates timbres and rhythms, new and old, from across the globe.
The themes and messages found on Traces of You are inextricably linked to Shankar's own life, having lost her father during the recording process. As a whole, however, the album projects a spirit of hope, finding meaning in the cyclic nature of life and the lasting influence of relationships. The concept of unity manifests itself musically, too, as Shankar sought to create a complete entity rather than a collection of songs. "Life took a journey of its own and the music followed that form," she explains. "The sitar leads the listener through the album like a narrator."
To achieve these sonic worlds, Shankar enlisted the help of multi-instrumentalist Nitin Sawnhey, working together to compose, arrange, program, and produce the recording. Also featured on the album is Shankar's half-sister Norah Jones, contributing vocals to three pieces. While this synthesis of musical genres and textures is prevalent on her previous Grammy-nominated albums Rise and Traveller, Traces of You represents Anoushka's most cohesive effort to date, brilliantly showcasing her sitar while bringing to the forefront her imaginative songwriting in a way that dissolves the barriers between them.