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RAVI & ANOUSHKA SHANKAR:
Full Circle Tour
Live at Carnegie Hall
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at Carnegie Hall", Anoushka
Shankar's third CD on the Angel
Records label, captures her part in the special concert in which she
once again shared center stage with her father, the revered Ravi Shankar,
at America's revered hall on October 6, 2000. It was a concert of classical
Indian music that celebrated more than 60 years of a legendary career and,
as it turned out, the certain ascendancy of a new one. The duo performed
at Carnegie Hall again
on November 18, 2001.
The live recording was released October 23 as the father-daughter / guru-disciple sitar duo began their 2001-2002 "Full Circle Tour" which takes them all over the US and to parts of Asia (Last season's tour covered both Europe and the US.).
CD features two Ragas and a tabla
duet from that special
Carnegie evening, and a Raga recorded at the Salisbury Festival in
England in June - all composed of course by Ravi Shankar. Raga Madhuvanti
(excerpted here) is a fitting opener, especially for the untutored Western
ear which in this piece gets a good introduction to the essentials of the
With Anoushka's first pluckings of the sitar strings, the listener soon learns that the Raga is a structured musical form. It begins with the Alap - a deliberate, slow "first movement" if you will - serene and initially without rhythm. It is a meditative invocation of pure melody, setting a mood which in this first piece is of evening unfolding. The melody thus defined, musical exploration through improvisation begins - first with variations on the melody, progressing into the Jor - in which rhythm is introduced and becomes a major element. The sitar-playing (constantly accompanied in background by the faint drone tone of the sitar-like tanpura played by Ajay Sharma and Barry Phillips) gathers speed, climaxing in a Jhala of rapidly repeating notes. With both melodic pattern and rhythmic structure (Tala) clearly articulated, the drums (tabla) join in (brilliantly played throughout the concert by Bikram Ghosh and Tanmoy Bose) and the "second movement", the Gat, begins - an interplay of improvised melodic and rhythmic complexities between sitar and tabla that invariably culminates in a final crescendo of fast notes. Listen to a streaming audio of the Gat in Rupak from this Raga (made available here with permission of Angel Records).
As the concert continues, the mood is invariably less somber as the rhythms become livelier and dance-like at times, the melodies more lyrical, and the improvisations are made with greater abandon. The Raga Desh, which is a set of two Gats in medium and fast tempo, as well as the Bhupali Tabla Duet and the Raga Mishra Piloo are all performed with dazzling digital dexterity and the gaiety, lightness and delightful playfulness of youth. And through it all Anoushka's artistry shines - with a maturity beyond her 20 years, a solid technique, a talent for invention, a joyful devotion to the art, and a mastery that is constantly reaching for the perfection that is her guru's. And the stars having lined up both pedagogy and biology in her favor, we're certain she'll get there.
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