Anoushka Shankar


From: London, UK

Sounds Like: Classical Indian sitar

Anoushka Shankar has been playing the sitar since she was four years old when she began taking lessons her father, the late Ravi Shankar, who helped introduce the sitar to western popular culture through his association with the Beatles and his performance at Woodstock. Famous father aside, Anoushka has an establish career of her own and now performs sold-out shows all around the world, including places like Carnegie Hall, and she collaborates with several renowned musicians, including her half-sister Norah Jones. With her skill and diverse works, from collaborating with DJs and playing electronica and Spanish flamenco, many will claim that she is one of the best sitar players alive today.

Her latest album Home finds Shankar back to her roots in classical Indian sitar music. With no other major collaborators, Shankar is front and center performing in the style of her late father. Rather than being flashy, Shankar puts emphasis on several different ragas, melodic modes in Indian classical music, which will transport you back to India.

She tells NPR that the album, like much of Indian music, takes time to grow on the listener:

“This music is a slow burn, you know? If someone’s used to the average two-and-a-half-minute song on the radio, it can be hard to understand what’s going on, because at two and a half minutes we’re still just playing the first notes and establishing things,” she says. “Give it the time to open up and play, and then it sort of seeps under your skin, and it has a very profound impact as a result.”

Home is both a tribute to her father and a return to form for the still young sitar musician, and it is an excellent introduction to classical Indian music.