Anoushka Shankar

Artist of the Month | November 2010


I have used the K&K Big Twin for several years now, and from all of the equipment I’ve used over time I have found theirs to be the most natural-sound pick up for my Sitar. I’d highly recommend K&K.

Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar has emerged as one of the leading figures in World Music today. Deeply rooted in Indian classical music, Anoushka studied exclusively with her father, the legendary Ravi Shankar, and is now one of the foremost performers in that tradition. She has grown as a performer and composer, exploring the crossover between Indian music and a variety of genres of Western music .

Born in 1981, Anoushka has been playing and studying the sitar with her father since she was 9, she began performing at age 13. Two years later she made her debut as a conductor on her father’s Chants Of India album, produced by George Harrison. Shortly after she signed an exclusive record contract with Angel/EMI. From the age of 16-21 she released 3 solo records, Anoushka , Anourag, Live at Carnegie Hall , which garnered her first Grammy nomination, making her the youngest-ever nominee in the World Music category.

With three classical sitar recordings under her belt, she was in increasing demand as a touring artist, , playing as many as 80 concerts per year.

A highlight of 2002 was the Concert for George, a tribute to the late George Harrison at London’s Royal Albert Hall, in which she conducted a new composition written by her father, Arpan, featuring Eric Clapton on solo guitar. Spreading her wings, she turned to writing and acting too: in 2002 she authored the book Bapi: The Love of My Life , an intimate biographical portrait of her father; and in 2004 she earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination from India’s National Film Awards for her debut role in Dance Like a Man , the feature film by Pamela Rooks.

2005 brought her fourth album Rise , she composed, arranged and produced her own music, performing with a handpicked ensemble of brilliant musicians. Fusing East and West, , the album marked a new departure for Anoushka. Giving her another Grammy nomination in the Best Contemporary World Music category. In 2006 she also became the first Indian to play at the Grammy Awards.

In 2006 Anoushka toured extensively again in the wake of the album, forming The Anoushka Shankar Project in order to present her new non-classical ensemble compositions to a live audience.

In 2007 Anoushka collaborated with Karsh Kale, the Indian-American producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist, to jointly create the album Breathing Under Water , which showed an even deeper grasp of the fusion of Eastern and Western music. This album features a rare guest appearance by her father, and well as contributions by her half-sister, Norah Jones, Sting and others.

Anoushka has made guest appearances on recordings by other artists, among them Sting, Lenny Kravitz and Thievery Corporation. Duetting with acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell, in a sitar-cello duet with Mstislav Rostropovich, and with flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal, playing both sitar and piano. She has also performed as the soloist in performances of her father’s 1st Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra, while in January 2009 she was the sitar soloist alongside the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Most recently Anoushka has collaborated with Herbie Hancock on his latest record The Imagine Project

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