Anoushka Shankar – Home

Reviewed on Wed 26 Aug, 2015

Home features newly ‘composed’ material that marries respect for the past with a freshness and vitality in playing that sounds wholly contemporary.

Tracing its lineage back to Vedic scriptures dating from around 1,500BC, India’s classical music is considerably older than Western art music (still in its infancy by comparison). It’s no less venerable, either, its vocabulary handed down orally rather than on the page, each generation adding to and deepening the tradition through improvisation. Rediscovered in the West when The Beatles encountered Ravi Shankar, its continuing claim to attention owes much to the hallowed sitar master’s daughter, Anoushka. Home features newly ‘composed’ material that marries respect for the past with a freshness and vitality in playing that sounds wholly contemporary. Deftly aided by Tanmoy Bose’s characterful tabla and Kenji Ota’s ever-supportive tanpura, Guru: Raga Jogeshwari deports itself with filigree-delicate, chamber-like intimacy, the lustrous Celebration: Raga Manj Khamaj silhouetting transfixing translucent textures against layered accompaniments of almost orchestral richness. Shankar shows herself again to be the greatest living exponent of the sitar and, surely, its most intelligent, too.
–Michael Quinn