Love of music is part of Anoushka Shankar’s legacy and that love is
something she continues to express in the studio, on stage, with
her family, and on the mat. It’s a love that others also feel when listening
to her evocative music.
noushka was literally born into music – her
father, Ravi Shankar, is lauded as one of today’s most important virtuosic musicians. While
she is the musician most extensively trained by him
(she began studying their shared instrument, the
sitar at the age of nine) one of Ravi Shankar’s most
famous students was Beatle George Harrison, who
travelled to India to study with the master. Together Harrison and Ravi Shankar delivered to the
mainstream the sitar and the melodic progressions
of the raga, a common classical Indian form.
In her own high-profile work, Anoushka has
an intimate relationship with collaboration. Her
seventh and latest album, Traveller (released on
by Deutshe Grammophon) is a musical exploration of Indian classical music and fiery, passionate
flamenco, a form with origins in India. In Traveller, she is joined by renowned producer and guitarist Javier Limón and notables including Pepe
Habichuela, Pedro Ricardo Miño, Juan Ruiz, and
Sandra Carrasco. Traveller has been released in
Europe, India, and Asia, with great acclaim and
launches in the US in March, 2012. It has climbed
to a number one position on the world music
charts and is named one of Songline Magazine’s
albums of the year.
Her previous collaborations began with her
1998 debut, Anoushka (1998), featuring music
composed by her father. The duo performed together in Anourag, released for Ravi Shankar’s
80th birthday world tour. Breathing Under Water
– a blend of classical Indian music, electronica,
dance, and folk – was produced with innovator
Karsh Kale and guests including Midival Pun-ditz, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Sting, Norah Jones
(Anoushka’s half-sister), and Ravi Shankar. Her
work has been remixed by Thievery Corporation;
and she has performed with Sting including a
song featured in Yoga Revolution, and with Herbie Hancock and others in Hancock’s The Imagine Project.
Anoushka took time between performances to
chat with LA Yoga about her latest album, her
musical inspirations including her father Ravi
Shankar and her young son Zubin, and her
practice of Yoga in Encinitas that sustains her
LA Yoga: Your album Traveller contains significant collaborations and influences beyond Indian
classical music. How has your own life affected
this musical exploration?
Anoushka Shankar: I owe a lot of my curiosity
and desire to explore music in all of its forms to
my background. I am very lucky to have grown
up across three continents and have seen so much
of the world, having toured from a young age.
LA Yoga: What is your most meaningful musical
AS: I am very lucky to have collaborated with
many incredible musicians throughout my career
and each one has provided me with a wonderful
opportunity to learn new things. My most meaningful collaboration has probably been working
with my father, the sitarist Ravi Shankar. Despite
being regarded as one of the world’s greatest musicians, he still thinks he has much more to learn
and explore, which is very inspiring.
LA Yoga: Some people may say that you grew up
with this music in your blood. What was your
first memory of music?
I was born and spent the first part of my life in
London, so I have vivid memories of my Mum
taking me to all kinds of musical concerts. My
mother loves music and is very involved in both
my father’s and my careers. She was trained as a
dancer and singer in her youth and while not a
professional musician herself, has taught me a lot
about my art.
LAYoga: How old were you when you began the
sitar and what inspired you? >>