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World - Released January 1, 1998 | Warner Classics (Parlophone)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
While the sitar is usually taught master to student in a male to male tradition, this beautiful daughter to renowned sitar master Ravi Shankar has been given access to the art. Debuting in 1994 and touring with Ravi since, this album of five compositions, four of which are Ravi Shankar's, is a fitting recording debut. The pieces begin with a slow introduction of fluid rhythm (alap or aochar) and build in crescendo to a spirited display of virtuosity with tabla accompaniment. It appears Anoushka, who appears on the J card in stunning traditional garb but in the booklet in more Western clothes, including white, feathery boas, has chosen compositions that build to multi-note runs. These "sitar leads" are less like the traditional, serene raga collection usually heard from traditional Indian masters and more like the effect gotten by rock guitarists employing sitar for timbre difference. Perhaps it is that she is just choosing a faster tempo on this material, as speed is up to the player in this music tradition. Of course, whatever Anoushka's stylistic direction, she is overtly masterful on the 20-string instrument. Poetic texts, in English, are provided for the instrumental tracks. A detailed glossary and track-by-track notes further elucidate the musical science behind these fascinating, exotic sounds. © Tom Schulte /TiVo
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Classical - Released April 1, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 7, 2020 | Mercury KX

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World - Released October 7, 2013 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Booklet
For sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar's second offering for Deutsche Grammophon, she stays closer to home musically than she did on 2011's widely celebrated Traveller. That said, she carries what she learned from studying flamenco with producer Javier Limon and integrates it fully into these proceedings. Producer Nitin Sawhney, a fine recording artist in his own right, is an integral part of Traces of You. He wrote one of these 13 cuts, co-authored five more, and arranged and played on several others. This is easily the most intimate and emotional offering in Shankar's catalog. Though the album was planned earlier and its basic ideas outlined by Shankar and Sawhney, the music is indelibly informed by a life-changing event, the death of her father, Ravi Shankar. Opener and first single "The Sun Won’t Set" is one of three tracks to feature the voice of half-sister Norah Jones, whose haunting, bluesy vocal is adorned only by Shankar's sitar, a classical guitar, and Ghatam (a percussion instrument). The title track evokes the loss and spirit of her father in an uplifting way. A sprightly, syncopated rhythm track undergirds Jones' drifting vocal as Shankar's sitar alternately drones and accents alongside a tabla, glockenspiel, and guitar. It is one of the set's standout tracks. "Indian Summer" is a piano and sitar duet where flamenco and Indian classical music sit side by side. Three tracks -- "Lasya," "In Jyotyi's Name," and "Chasing Shadows" -- are squarely inside the Indian classical tradition, while several others, including "River Pulse," "Monsoon," and "Metamorphosis," use it in a context framed by electronic rhythms and loops without breaking the overriding lineage thread. Closer "Unsaid" features Jones' melody, vocal, and piano accompanying Shankar's lyrics and sitar. A poignant pop ballad, Sawhney adds just enough of Ian Burdge's cello to deepen its emotional impact. Throughout Traces of You, Shankar allows her vulnerability as a human being -- even in the instrumentals -- to freely converse with her authority as a musician and composer. Sawhney is an empathic producer balancing the sides, allowing her wide-ranging and integrative musical ideas to take root and flower even as they express tenderness, sadness, grace, and gratitude. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Classical - Released March 8, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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World - Released January 1, 2006 | Angel Records

The daughter of Ravi Shankar moves far from the tradition on her fourth solo album, using her considerable sitar skills (understandably, she'll never be her father's equal, but who ever will?) as just part of her arsenal on an album that strives hard to blend the past and cutting edge. It succeeds in part, as on "Solea," where Indian and flamenco meet, the two opposite ends of the gypsy road, and discover they have much in common, or on "Red Sun 4," where the Indian tradition of vocal percussion called konnokol seems as modern as anything to emerge from drum programming. At other times, the album seems to float too weightlessly on a cloud of miasma. "Sinister Grains" is a case in point: it's pretty, and certainly well executed. But when it's over, it's hard to remember, as ephemeral as a pleasant summer breeze. "Voice of the Moon" fares somewhat better, more grounded in its Indian-ness, with an arching melody. But even that's countered by the album's opener, "Prayer in Passing," which seems too much like an alaap without a theme, a prelude that leads to nothing, form without substance. Shankar uses plenty of programming on this, adding voices (including her own), palmas, piano, guitar, and other unusual textures, which certainly bring variety to what she does. And with "Ancient Lore," the epic (11-minute) closer, she actually pulls it all together (thankfully without the didgeridoo that's there on one earlier cut), the judicious use of reverb giving a certain ambience, and a reminder that she's a sitar player whose roots lie on both East and West and she improvises. Rise isn't perfect, by any means, but it's the first step on a new path. © Chris Nickson /TiVo
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World - Released August 28, 2007 | Manhattan Records

Breathing Under Water is a different animal altogether. Karsh Kale and Anoushka Shankar co-wrote eight of these 13 cuts together. Another, "Easy," was co-written with Norah Jones -- Shankar's half sister -- and sung by her. Father Ravi wrote a two-part tune with his daughter and appearshere as well. The other big name guest is Sting (it's a payback for Shankar playing on a few tracks of his in the past). Shankar (sitar, keyboards) and Kale (guitars, keyboards, live drums) wind Indian classical music, rock, electric atmospheres, and a load of loops and beats (break and otherwise) with a host of collaborators who include the great arranger and pianist Salim Merchant (who also conducts the Bombay Cinematic Orchestra Strings on a few pieces), Vishwa Mohan Bhatt on his mohan vina, vocalists Sunidhi Chauhan, Shankar Mahadevan, and Vishal Vaid, and chamber players on bansuri, sarangi, and other traditional instruments, and programmers of various stripes. What's striking is that while one can imagine how this might sound, because of other attempts at doing the same thing, the end product would frustrate those anticipations to a large degree. Certainly electronic music is deeply rooted here, but so is the sitar, so is rock, so is Western classical music -- sometimes all in the same tune. It's exotic, but it's a another thing too, which feels like, well, coming home. The Sting track ("Sea Dreamer") may have fared better without his breathy vocals intruding. That said, the piano and vocal performance by Jones on "Easy" is what sets it apart -- no matter what one thinks about her singing, she really stretched out here and makes it seem effortless -- and makes it an inseparable part of the fabric of the album. "A Perfect Rain," with Mahadevan singing, is a thoroughly modern track in every way, but his gorgeous traditional vocal adds real depth and dimension to the other aspects of the sounds created here. The blend of guitars, drums, sarangi, layered keyboards, loops, and live drums is gorgeous. Elsewhere, on the instrumentals such as "Little Glass Folk," Shankar's sitar work is sublime, tighter and more focused than on her other recordings. With orchestral percussion by Kale and Merchant conducting the strings in Western classical fashion, it's deeply moving, and even breathtaking in places as it emerges seemingly from the ether and travels from West to East as the two musics come together in something wonderfully cinematic and enchanting. The two-part "Oceanic," on which Ravi plays, is fantastic. It takes up a little over eight minutes, the first half with Ravi improvising over Merchant's string orchestra -- so moving and beautiful it's beyond all written language. The second part is a duet between the Shankars with accompaniment from Kale on tabla, Ajay Prassana on bansuri, and Pirashana Thevarajah on mindangam kanjira, with Merchant conducting the strings once more. The lyricism here is profound, spiritually moving (and not necessarily in a theistic sense of the term). The final cut, a brief interlude called "Reprise," is just Shankar on her sitar, Kale playing piano, and Merchant's wonderfully understated strings. As the record comes to whispering close, it begs an analysis as to why Breathing Under Water works so well. The answer is that Shankar came on far more aggressively here. Her discipline and sense of harmony and melody are very sophisticated, and she's always downplayed them on her own recordings. Kale, on the other hand, is not so heavy-handed in his writing, playing, or production work, perhaps because he is in the company of so many fine musicians, Merchant not least among them. This is lush and elegant music; it defies genres and pigeonholes. But it is also new, made from many old approaches as well as modern ones. Breathing Under Water is nothing less than delightfully -- and sometimes powerfully -- unique. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 10, 2020 | Mercury KX

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 7, 2020 | Mercury KX

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World - Released October 17, 2011 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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. © Mariano Prunes /TiVo
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World - Released July 10, 2015 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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World - Released January 1, 2001 | Warner Classics (Parlophone)

While Anoushka Shankar had already received terrific amounts of press because of her heritage and beauty, the young sitar prodigy's Carnegie Hall concert in October of 2000 was perhaps one the first true musical milestones of her blossoming career. Still performing music as composed by her renowned father and sitar master, Ravi Shankar, the Carnegie performance begins with the gentle alap portion of the "Raga Madhuvanti" before it begins to be driven toward its frenetic close some eight minutes later. The second portion of this raga (the seven-beat gat in rupak), a piece which is traditionally played during the late evening, begins with the tablas figuring more prominently than in the alap, and her accompaniment is stunningly delivered by Bikram Ghosh and Tanmoy Bose. Those challenged by the seemingly free-flowing structures of Indian classical music need only to look to "Bhupali Tabla Duet" here to discover the sort of delightfully anchoring melody that often seems so elusive to initiates. The final selection, the lengthy "Raga Mishra Piloo," was recorded the previous June at England's Salisbury Festival. The raga piloo is a lighter, classical raga generally performed after a principal piece, and Anoushka Shankar captures the tender, colorful nature that is to be sought for it. Because of the venues' governing propriety, crowd response is predictably more austere than at European and other American concert halls, where she is treated to enthusiastic responses during her performances. As nuanced as the formalized improvisation of Indian classical music is, the listener who returns repeatedly to this release is bound to appreciate their subtly emerging forms alongside the dogged growth of an artist as she comes of age. © JoE Silva /TiVo
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Classical - Released April 1, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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World - Released January 1, 2000 | Warner Classics (Parlophone)

On Anourag, Anoushka Shankar's follow-up to her North American debut, she shows how much she has matured under the tutelage of her father, sitar master Ravi Shankar. The elder Shankar adapted six ragas for his daughter to play on this album, and the selection of music suits her very well. Sitar can take a lifetime to master, but she shows that she is well on her way, especially on the album's final track, "Pancham Se Gara," where she duets with her famous father. © Stacia Proefrock /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 23, 2021 | Mercury KX

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Pop - Released January 1, 2014 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 7, 2020 | Mercury KX

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World - Released August 28, 2007 | Manhattan Records

Breathing Under Water is a different animal altogether. Karsh Kale and Anoushka Shankar co-wrote eight of these 13 cuts together. Another, "Easy," was co-written with Norah Jones -- Shankar's half sister -- and sung by her. Father Ravi wrote a two-part tune with his daughter and appearshere as well. The other big name guest is Sting (it's a payback for Shankar playing on a few tracks of his in the past). Shankar (sitar, keyboards) and Kale (guitars, keyboards, live drums) wind Indian classical music, rock, electric atmospheres, and a load of loops and beats (break and otherwise) with a host of collaborators who include the great arranger and pianist Salim Merchant (who also conducts the Bombay Cinematic Orchestra Strings on a few pieces), Vishwa Mohan Bhatt on his mohan vina, vocalists Sunidhi Chauhan, Shankar Mahadevan, and Vishal Vaid, and chamber players on bansuri, sarangi, and other traditional instruments, and programmers of various stripes. What's striking is that while one can imagine how this might sound, because of other attempts at doing the same thing, the end product would frustrate those anticipations to a large degree. Certainly electronic music is deeply rooted here, but so is the sitar, so is rock, so is Western classical music -- sometimes all in the same tune. It's exotic, but it's a another thing too, which feels like, well, coming home. The Sting track ("Sea Dreamer") may have fared better without his breathy vocals intruding. That said, the piano and vocal performance by Jones on "Easy" is what sets it apart -- no matter what one thinks about her singing, she really stretched out here and makes it seem effortless -- and makes it an inseparable part of the fabric of the album. "A Perfect Rain," with Mahadevan singing, is a thoroughly modern track in every way, but his gorgeous traditional vocal adds real depth and dimension to the other aspects of the sounds created here. The blend of guitars, drums, sarangi, layered keyboards, loops, and live drums is gorgeous. Elsewhere, on the instrumentals such as "Little Glass Folk," Shankar's sitar work is sublime, tighter and more focused than on her other recordings. With orchestral percussion by Kale and Merchant conducting the strings in Western classical fashion, it's deeply moving, and even breathtaking in places as it emerges seemingly from the ether and travels from West to East as the two musics come together in something wonderfully cinematic and enchanting. The two-part "Oceanic," on which Ravi plays, is fantastic. It takes up a little over eight minutes, the first half with Ravi improvising over Merchant's string orchestra -- so moving and beautiful it's beyond all written language. The second part is a duet between the Shankars with accompaniment from Kale on tabla, Ajay Prassana on bansuri, and Pirashana Thevarajah on mindangam kanjira, with Merchant conducting the strings once more. The lyricism here is profound, spiritually moving (and not necessarily in a theistic sense of the term). The final cut, a brief interlude called "Reprise," is just Shankar on her sitar, Kale playing piano, and Merchant's wonderfully understated strings. As the record comes to whispering close, it begs an analysis as to why Breathing Under Water works so well. The answer is that Shankar came on far more aggressively here. Her discipline and sense of harmony and melody are very sophisticated, and she's always downplayed them on her own recordings. Kale, on the other hand, is not so heavy-handed in his writing, playing, or production work, perhaps because he is in the company of so many fine musicians, Merchant not least among them. This is lush and elegant music; it defies genres and pigeonholes. But it is also new, made from many old approaches as well as modern ones. Breathing Under Water is nothing less than delightfully -- and sometimes powerfully -- unique. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 29, 2019 | Mercury KX

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Classical - Released April 1, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Anoushka Shankar in the magazine