Anoushka Shankar breaks barriers with her music

By Neeru Saluja

With a strong belief that music has the power to speak to the soul, the sitar queen Anoushka Shankar, daughter of great virtuoso Ravi Shankar,  proved her belief by connecting to us with her deeply expressive music. At a houseful concert at Sydney Opera House attended by classical music lovers, the global music star performed her captivating album ”˜Land of Gold’.

As she described her album ”˜Land of Gold’ as the culmination of her journey to channelize her distress at the situation of refugee crisis, her performance commenced taking the audience on a disturbing dark journey, where we explored the unheard voices and helpless cries. In her own words during the concert, Anoushka said, “The refugee crisis was really dominating the news and everyone was talking about. Though the crisis still continues, it’s not being talked about anymore. It feels important to take a moment to think about this”.

Saying this, for the audience it was countless moments to delve into the pain. The piece titled ”˜Crossing the River’ gave the feeling of rough seas as millions of displaced refugees crossing over to better pastures. One only had to witness the magic the music ensemble created with the riot of lights up in the front rows transporting everyone into the frenzy of a chaotic world.  The accompanying shehnai, the chello and the hand pans created a fusion about the confusion in the world as she said, “The irony being here I was writing music about breaking down of the walls while Trump was actually talking about building walls.”

The concert moved on showing us a ray of hope with the exhilarating music changing moods and uplifting the hall with it’s joyful moments. The spotlight changed breaking into a myriad of colours from dark to a brighter tone and spots of gold displaying the ”˜Land of Gold’. The powerful music further broadened the spiritual journey, with Anoushka being the voice for these helpless refugees.

Following the footsteps of her father, guru and mentor, Ravi Shankar who she lovingly called Bapi, Anoushka has taken the ancient Indian instrument sitar into the contemporary global world. She said she performed with her father exactly 8 years ago at the Opera House in March 2010.

Anoushka was accompanied by her father’s  disciple  Sanjeev Shankar from India on shehnai, Tom Farmer from Austria on double bass, Chello and keyboards and   the percussionist Manu Delago who co-wrote the album with her.

Keeping the tradition of Indian music alive, she perfectly blended the best of contemporary music. Performing non-stop for 90 minutes, Anoushka received a standing ovation from the audience. Much to the delight of her fans, she came back with her musicians to perform on a lullaby she created for her son. As the evening of spellbinding music came to a conclusion, this great young sitarist left us intoxicated with her talent.

Anoushka will next perform at her Melbourne concert:

Hamer Hall, Arts Centre   ”“ Tuesday March 13


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