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Album Review

The daughter of Ravi Shankar and young prodigy of the sitar has long been a star of the world music circuit on her own, not merely due to her virtuoso credentials, but also for her willingness to explore the possibilities of the classical sitar within other musical genres and traditions. For her seventh album, Anoushka Shankar sets her sights on the links between Hindu and flamenco music, and — almost logically — turns to producer Javier Limón, arguably the key figure in the development of flamenco fusion in the past decade. Although her sitar playing remains the focal point of the album, Shankar is joined by superb musicians from both sides of the equation: Sandra Carrasco, Ramón Porrina, Álvaro Antona, Pepe Habichuela, Pedro Ricardo Miño, Pirashanna Thevarajah, Sanjeev Shankar, Padma Shankar, Shalini Patnaik, and Kenji Ota. Inevitably, the results are as intriguing as they are beautiful, one of the key world music releases of 2011.

Customer Reviews

Singular sitarist steps into the big league

Anoushka Shankar’s debut album for Deutsche Grammophon, best known for its heavyweight Western classical music, shows a terrific assurance which suggests she has finally stepped out of the shadow of her revered father, fellow sitarist Ravi (not to mention her famous step-sister Nora Jones). The fusion highway is littered with numerous car-crashes, but this collision of flamenco and Indian classical music is confidently executed with flair, helped by superior production by Javier Limón. Unlike some fusions, there is a convincing cultural logic behind it – we know Rajasthani Gypsies still use castanets, and the Gypsy diaspora to Andalucía was one of the main roots of flamenco. As Shankar puts it, she sees flamenco as the “little brother” of Indian music.The most thrilling passages are where Shankar duets with pianist Pedro Ricardo Mino or with Limón’s guitar where the whole project takes off in delirious improvisation. A more romantic duet ‘Boy Meets Girl’ features a playful, teasing duet with flamenco guitarist Pepe Habichuela.

The album is packed with new tunes, most penned by Shankar and Limón, some of them positively devious in their catchiness. They’re aided by top-notch guest vocalists like Shubha Mugdal, Sanjeev Chimmalgi, Duquende and Sandra Carrasco – all exceptional voices passionately representing India and Spain, as though at some new Olympic sport. Some of the most Indo-centric of the material, like ‘Krishna’, seems a little conservative in comparison to the rest, but it’s a reflection of the artistry involved that the both ends of the spectrum work so well, and that you can only very occasionally see the joins. A rare album that opens up all kinds of musical possibilities.

(c) Peter Culshaw. Originally published in the Nov/Dec 2011 (#80) issue of Songlines magazine


A stunning and evocative journey where Hindustan meets Andalusia. Well worth the wait.


Born: 09 June 1981 in London, England

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The daughter of sitar legend Ravi Shankar, Anoushka Shankar began studying under her father at age nine, making her performing debut four years later. Appearing alongside her father as he toured the world, she appeared at Carnegie Hall while still in her teens, and also performed at Peter Gabriel's WOMAD festival. She was the youngest and only female recipient of the House of Commons Shield awarded by British Parliament "in recognition of her artistry and musicianship -- as a preeminent musician...
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Traveller, Anoushka Shankar
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