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Anoushka Shankar

Biography

Anoushka is Ravi Shankar's daughter and she rivals her half-sister Norah Jones -- if not outdoes her -- in sheer musicality. But what can you expect from a girl who started studying music with her father, the world's most famous sitar player, when she was just nine years old? Granted, her father wasn't too interested in teaching Anoushka to play sitar, probably due to some residual cultural sexism, but with her mother's intercession the elder Shankar conceded. It was a good thing, too; within four years Anoushka was making waves with her first public performance (in New Delhi) and a guest spot on her father's 1994 release, In Celebration. Shankar released her first solo recording, the aptly named Anoushka, in 1998 to critical acclaim. Anourag followed, and in 2001 her Live At Carnegie Hall was nominated for a Best World Music Album Grammy, making her the youngest nominee ever for that honor. Somewhere in the mix Shankar had also become a master classical pianist -- and this was all before she turned 22 years old. Shankar took a much-needed sabbatical in 2004, though the break proved to be more productive than she'd expected: she wrote her first short film score and came up with material for a new solo release, 2005's Rise. A personal and unconventional album, Rise takes its inspiration from classical Indian ragas -- actually moving through a full cycle of morning to evening ragas from start to finish -- while radically re-imagining the form. Collaborators on the album include South Indian slide guitarist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and flamenco pianist Ricardo Mino, and Shankar experiments ably with an ambient soundscape that at times recalls the best work of film composer A.R. Rahman.
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