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CD Review

Anoushka Shankar

EMI 56969

Anourag

  • Shuddha Sarang
  • Puriya Dhanashri
  • Hamsadhwani Tabla Duet
  • Yaman Kalyan
  • Swarna Jayanti (Golden Jubilee)
  • Pancham Se Gara *
Anoushka Shankar, sitar
* Ravi Shankar, sitar
Bikram Ghos, tabla, mridangam
EMI 56969
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You don't have to understand the intricacies of Indian music to appreciate this CD. Knowing that "Shuddha Sarang" is an early afternoon raga or that "Puriya Shanashri" is an evening one doesn't crank up the awe in these performances. Anoushka Shankar, 18-year old daughter of Ravi, is not only following in her father's footsteps, she's creating some of her own. During the alap (slow introductory movement) of "Shuddha Sarang," she displays a delightfully elaborate style, filled with entrancing slides and whining drones. The ensuing jod and gat display staccato effects I've never heard her father use, at least not with such sharp emphasis. Through her fingers, the piece turns sprightly even before the tala (rhythmic section) leaps in.

It's beguiling the way Anoushka takes a simple melody, as in "Puriya Shanashri," and improvises around it. Or the way she moors a piece to a six-note figure in "Yaman Kalyan," travels afar and picks up tempo, then returns to it, restating only fragments of the original figure. She is rambunctious during the jhalas (final movement and climax), playing like she's been doing so fifteen years rather than just nine. Still, she knows restraint, as evident in the too-short "Hamsadhwani Tabla Duet." Here she plays a subdued accompaniment to these two master drummers, who imitate their drums with chattering vocal asides. While Ravi composed all of the songs, he appears only on the last piece, "Pancham Se Gara." Gracious to the last note, he gives her center stage in the spirited father-daughter dialog that concludes the CD.

This is her second CD (the first is called "Anoushaka"). It was produced in preparation for the Full Circle tour she's undertaking with her father. It's too early to tell whether she'll be the inheritor of her father's mantle, but if "Anourag" is an indication, her career may rocket like his did.

Copyright © 2001, Peter Bates

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