World Music Institute Welcomes Anoushka Shankar Tonight
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 tonight, November 16 at 8:00pm at New 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.
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MASTERS OF INDIAN MUSIC
The leading presenter of both Hindustani (North Indian) and Carnatic (South Indian) artists since its founding in 1985, the World Music Institute continues its unwavering support of traditional Indian music with the "Masters of Indian Music" series. Anoushka Shankar begins the series, followed by sitarist Ustad Imrat Khan on February 8 and percussionist Zakir Hussain on March 29.
See Masters of Indian Music concerts online
Saturday, November 16, 8:00pm
NYU Skirball Center
$40-$45 Public • $30-$35 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid! • $150 VIP Reception
USTAD IMRAT KHAN
Saturday, February 8, 8:00pm
Peter Norton Symphony Space
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!
ZAKIR HUSSAIN/ MASTERS OF PERCUSSION
Saturday, March 29, 8:00pm
The Theater at Madison Square Garden
$45-$125 Public • $40-$120 WMI Friends • VIP $300/$500
Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar is one of the leading figures in World Music today. She is deeply rooted in the Indian classical music she studied exclusively from the age of nine under her father and guru, the legendary Ravi Shankar. In her twenties, after establishing herself as one of the foremost classical sitarists on the world's stage, she began thriving as a composer, exploring fertile ground in the crossover between Indian music and a variety of genres including flamenco, jazz, electronica and Western classical music.
She has been nominated for three Grammy awards and was the youngest, and first female, recipient of a House of Commons Shield from the British House of Parliament in 1999. As a classical sitarist Anoushka Shankar debuted professionally at the age of thirteen and has performed in prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall, and championed her father's orchestral works with the world's leading orchestras under conductors such as Zubin Mehta. Before turning twenty she made three classical sitar records for Angel/EMI under the guidance of her father, and received her first Grammy nomination, thereby becoming the first Indian female and youngest-ever nominee in the World Music category.
Since 2005, Shankar has released four albums of imaginative new music, blurring the lines between musical traditions from around the world and emerging as a mature songwriter.Traces of You is her second release for Deutsche Grammophon, following 2011's Traveller, a critically hailed exploration of Indian classical music and Spanish flamenco.