Monday 17 May 2010
A beautiful journey southwards – Sudakshini is the title of Anoushka Shankar’s latest venture. An entirely acoustic project consisting of the majestic traditional ragas to newly composed ones including those created by her guru and father, Ravi Shankar.
The evening was a testament to exploring the affiliation between traditional northern and southern styles of Indian classical music. Accompanying Anoushka, were Ravichandra Kulur on Bansuri (Flute) and Kanjira, Pirashanna Thevarajah on the Mridangam, Kanjira and Ghatam, Nick Able on the Tanpura and the absolutely phenomenal maestro Tanmoy Bose on the tabla, making it an unforgettable experience.
Birmingham Town hall is not a big venue at all, with a maximum capacity of just over a thousand people; it was a good choice for the type gig. The stage was bathed in shades of purple and pink lighting, the atmosphere – tense, waiting to be graced by the presence of the supremely talented daughter of legendary sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.
I had seen Anoushka perform twice before but with Nitin Sawhney at the BBC Proms in 2007 and then again at the BBC Electric Proms in 2008. However this performance was very different, it was more elegant and beautiful. The show was split in two; the first half consisted of a classical performance of ragas kicked off with Madhukauns, played so elegantly it was like evoking beauty and romance subtly accompanied by Tanmoy Bose to complete the composition.
This below clip piece was also performed but the Violin was replaced with a Bansuri (Flute) Stunning!!!
Anoushka was tranquil, precise and graceful with her music. Like most Indian classical musicians I’ve seen perform, she too had that divine relationship with her Sitar – as she performed she swayed and catching her emotive and expressive facial expressions while she was playing. Like breathing life into each raga as she unfolds and expands it – simply enjoyable to watch.
The second half was more experimental, you’d thinking, hmm, electronic sounds or whipping out a Macbook Pro but nope, it was more about using other instruments in such to create such an incredible array of sounds to tickle the ears. The final set was so intense! Amalgamating the Sitar, Flute, Mridangam, Tanpura and Tabla and creating an interspersed yet coordinated dialogue between all the instruments given each musician an opportunity to display their amazing talents! WOW! … Truly an ear bending piece to finish off with …
Father and Daughter …