Anoushka Shankar Workshops with Birmingham Community

By on November 11, 2013

The Birmingham area had the opportunity to listen to classical music at the Alys Stephens Center on Friday night. Anoushka Shankar, daughter of one of the late musician and composer, Ravi Shankar, is doing a pretty phenomenal job of making a name for herself. Like her father, she composes music and plays the Indian sitar. She has also been nominated for a Grammy in 2003 for her album, Live at Carnegie Hall. Anoushka started touring with her father when she was only fourteen, and had her first album out titled, Anoushka in 1998. She released her seventh studio album, Traces of You, early in October, which had her collaborating with half-sister, Norah Jones. Anoushka has been touring America since October to promote her new album. Birmingham not only got to witness her perform, but she also held a workshop before her concert.  The workshop, sponsored by ArtPlay, was held to expand classical music to the younger generation.

Typically, when you think classical music, you think of three things: Beethoven playing a piano, sleeping, and extremely subtle, slow music. Anoushka Shankar and her music fits into none of the above.

The workshop, or a sneak peak into the concert, was an hour-long rehearsing event where Anoushka Shankar showed the members in attendance her ability to intertwine classical music and modern day instruments. There weren’t many UAB students who showed up to the event, but the crowd that did was fascinated by the ease of Shankar. Her ability to produce pleasing music with such ease reminded everyone of the late, Ravi Shankar.

At the beginning, Anoushka and her group members started with very slow tunes.  The tempo and mood changed as one is of the members went to play the piano and the other on drums. Only a legacy of Ravi Shankar could intertwine Indian classical music with upbeat rhythms. Throughout the rehearsal, the music transformed the setting to something far before our time. Looking around the hall, everyone in attendance was infatuated with Anoushka and her music. I myself thought we were in Bollywood movie’s set and was patiently waiting for my cue to start dancing. (I was tempted to start dancing, but somehow managed to control myself.)

Anoushka Shankar managed to give a free concert to everyone in attendance and send out a message: she has the ability to produce music that has ancient roots, but update the music with modern day instruments and sounds that stays true to its classical name but appeals to a younger generation.


by Sudhi Kaushik

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  • gnosticmike

    I saw her play live with her late father in Fall of 2008 at Alys (long-time fan of her – since 1999) and I was blown away of how fast she can play the Sitar. She can shred better than any male guitarist that I am aware of. And ragas at that too boot. I was unable to attend the concert due to financial and time constraints. She is the best perfomer of any string instrument of our time.

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