anoushka shankar

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Various: The Rough Guide to Bollywood Gold (Rough Guide/Elite)

Various: The Rough Guide to Bollywood Gold (Rough Guide/Elite)

More scholarly heads than mine would able to discuss whether this 15-track collection is a fair reflection of the Bollywood scene: but it certainly contains the big names like Asha Bhosle (two tracks) and Lata Mangeshkar (two also) who have probably recorded over 50,000 songs between them, Mukesh ("The Man With The Golden Voice") and...

Various: Healing the Divide (Anti/Shock)

Various: Healing the Divide (Anti/Shock)

Now that Earth Aid or whatever it was called has retreated safely into the distance we might well ask: What the hell was that all about? "So, you, like, didn't get the point of Al's film thing because there was talking and charts and that -- but Madonna's set, like, just soooo turned you around on this global warming stuff?"...

Various: The Laya Project (Elite)

Various: The Laya Project (Elite)

This ambitious concept and elaborate package (two CDs/a DVD/booklet in the gatefold sleeve) should certainly attract attention -- although some questions hang over it. Essentially the project of music producer and sound recorder Patrick Sebag and Yotam Agam with director Harold Montfils, it involved a crew going to the tsunami affected...

Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale: Breathing Under Water (Manhattan/EMI)

Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale: Breathing Under Water (Manhattan/EMI)

This soundtrack suffers only major drawback in my book: the presence of Sting on the song Sea Dreamer. Is there a more irritating singer on the planet? (Yep, the yelper in Yes. The screacher in Supertramp . . . ) The rest of the album is a gentle infusion of sitar and global cultures, has Shankar's sister Norah Jones and her dad Ravi...

STEPHAN MICUS PROFILED (2013): Music of the spheres and beyond

STEPHAN MICUS PROFILED (2013): Music of the spheres and beyond

Take a deep breath because here’s a partial list of the instruments German multi-tasker Stephan Micus has played on recent albums: Bavarian zither, tin whistle, sattar, steel guitar, Japanese flute (shakuhachi), tuned flowerpots, Egyptian flute (nay), steel drums, Indian sarangi, dulcimer -- and lots I can’t even pretend to know...

Anoushka Shankar: Rise (EMI)

Anoushka Shankar: Rise (EMI)

After a couple of straight (and slightly disappointing) sitar albums and an acclaimed live recording, this 2006 outing by the daughter of Ravi Shankar (one of them, another is Norah Jones) is widely considered her breakthrough.As with her father, she here acknowledged she lived in two worlds -- the traditional East and the contemporary West --...

Various: Sacred Music of India (Silk Road/Ode)

Various: Sacred Music of India (Silk Road/Ode)

Recorded at a 2000 festival in  Bangalore organised by the Dalai Lama's people (the good Dal writes the introduction in accompanying booklet which also reproduces his inspirational speech opening the eight day event) this 12 track disc takes a broad sweep through some of the styles of India's myriad sacred musicsIt opens with vocal...

TRILOK GURTU INTERVIEWED (2000): Tabla time

TRILOK GURTU INTERVIEWED (2000): Tabla time

As the century closes it's interesting to look back on how the West has briefly adopted music from other cultures - Indian musics, for example. Where once these long traditions were confined to ethnomusicology departments of universities, they crept into Western consciousness through jazz musicians such as Jamaica-born British...

Kailash Kher and Kailasa: Yatra /Nomadic Souls (Cumbancha)

Kailash Kher and Kailasa: Yatra /Nomadic Souls (Cumbancha)

If the sound of Indian (Bollywood) playback singers or Indo-pop has never made much sense to you then you are directed to the thrilling soundtrack to the film Cash (video clip here) or maybe this very Western-framed album by one of the country's biggest stars. Kher has become something of singing superstar (it would be fair to observe...

Various: Masters of Indian Classical Music Vol II (Arc)

Various: Masters of Indian Classical Music Vol II (Arc)

With the recent appearance of Ravi Shankar (with his daughter Anoushka) at the arts festival in Wellington, there may be some interest in an album such as this: a well annotated double disc which includes the greatest names in Indian classical music, among them sitar player Shankar, the master of the shehnai (a brusque oboe-like instrument)...

Joe Harriott: Gana (1967)

Joe Harriott: Gana (1967)

Alto saxophonist Joe Harriott was not the first to take inspiration from Indian classical music (John Coltrane had looked across to it previously) but -- with violinist and harpsichord player John Mayer -- he was among the very first to record with Indian musicians and effect some jazz fusion. Around the time George Harrison was looking at a...

Lakshmi Shankar: I Am Missing You (1974)

Lakshmi Shankar: I Am Missing You (1974)

When George Harrison established his own Dark Horse record label it allowed him to release projects that were close to his spiritual heart, if not exactly commercial propositions. That said, both the Shankar Family and Friends (1974) and Ravi Shankar's Music Festival from India ('76) albums were absolute delights of immacuately produced,...

RAVI SHANKAR (1920 - 2012): More Than One Lifetime

RAVI SHANKAR (1920 - 2012): More Than One Lifetime

My collection of schoolboy poetry which I would agonise over late at night, laboriously using my Scripto fountain pen and Radiant Blue ink, has long since vanished. Thank God. I’m sure it was full of adolescent anxieties -- one “poem” was about Oedipus, about whom I knew nothing other than I liked the name. But one piece...

Gabor Szabo: Jazz Raga (Light in the Attic)

Gabor Szabo: Jazz Raga (Light in the Attic)

Originally released in 1967 -- the Beatles' Norwegian Wood which used sitar was on Rubber Soul, released late '65, and folk guitarist Davy Graham employed Indian tunings prior to that -- this album by Hungarian-born US-based jazz guitarist Szabo saw him pick up sitar for a series of short pieces which explored the sound and possibilities of the...

Various Artists: A New Day; The Laya Project Remixed (EarthSync)

Various Artists: A New Day; The Laya Project Remixed (EarthSync)

In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami which swept across large tracts of Asia, music producer Patrick Sebag and others visited the regions to record and film local musicians. This became the Laya Project CD/DVD (reviewed here with some questions asked about the ethics of the thing, given it seemed no money went back to the people to help them...

BOB BROZMAN INTERVIEWED (2011) All the world's a stage, and he plays on it

BOB BROZMAN INTERVIEWED (2011) All the world's a stage, and he plays on it

American guitarist Bob Brozman must have an impressive passport. For the past two decades he has been almost itinerant as he has played across the planet from Hawaii to Mali, Okinawa to Papua New Guinea. And along the way he has collaborated with some exceptional musicians, among them Indian slide guitarist Debashish Battacharya for the...

RAJENDRA PRASANNA AND THE SPIRIT OF INDIA (2011): Family matters

RAJENDRA PRASANNA AND THE SPIRIT OF INDIA (2011): Family matters

In many ways, the Indian musician Rajendra Prasanna is an emblem of his country's classical tradition. As with so many Indian musicians, he grew up in the gurukal system where he was one of a long lineage who had been taught by their musician father who would pass on the knowledge acquired from the previous generation. Prasanna's father...

THE MANGANIYAR SEDUCTION: From religion and red light

THE MANGANIYAR SEDUCTION: From religion and red light

Inspiration doesn't always come in the proverbial flash. It may emerge over a period from a number of disparate sources, as it did for Roysten Abel and his theatrical staging of The Manganiyar Seduction. The 43 performers from a caste of Rajasthani musicians from Northern India are housed in four tiers of 36 separately illuminated...

ZAKIR HUSSAIN INTERVIEWED (1999): Has tabla, will travel

ZAKIR HUSSAIN INTERVIEWED (1999): Has tabla, will travel

Early morning in Paris and the start of another long day for Zakir Hussain, master of the tabla drums and son of tabla legend Ustad Alla Rakha. Hussain speaks of the previous day's programme: some showcase performances with guitarist John McLaughlin (with whom he co-founded the seminal Indo-jazz group Shakti in the mid 70s), CD signing...

NORAH JONES INTERVIEWED (2002 and 2003) AND ALBUM REVIEWS: Great Expectations -- and then some

NORAH JONES INTERVIEWED (2002 and 2003) AND ALBUM REVIEWS: Great Expectations -- and then some

Somebody up there obviously likes Norah Jones and blessed her with extraordinary good looks. Those are her cheekbones and ruby lips which have been replicated in their thousands and grace the cover of her album Come Away With Me.  And just in case her looks alone weren't enough to draw attention to this 22-year-old singer/pianist, that...

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR INTERVIEWED (2008): Never in the shadow

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR INTERVIEWED (2008): Never in the shadow

As two Lennons and any number of Marleys might tell you, it isn’t easy carrying the name of a famous musician father, especially if you want a career in the business yourself. Certainly doors may open that otherwise wouldn’t -- but because of that critics and the public often treat your career with some scepticism, you have to...

Ravi Shankar, Improvisations (1962)

Ravi Shankar, Improvisations (1962)

George Harrison quite correctly referred to the sitar master Pandit Ravi Shankar as "the godfather of world music" -- and Shankar was creating and giving his blessing to cross-cultural fusions and experiments long before the phrase "world music" was even thought of. There are of course many dozens of Shankar albums in the...

Debashish Bhattacharya: Calcutta Slide Guitar (Elite)

Debashish Bhattacharya: Calcutta Slide Guitar (Elite)

Three years ago I chose the Mahima album by Bhattacharya and American guitarist Bob Brozman (who played at Womad that year) as one of the best of the year in the Herald with the comment that their musical dialogues referred to Africa, Spain, simple pop and something which sounded like an arranged marriage between Waikiki and Varanasi. As a...

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