Anoushka Shankar: Land of Gold

Reviewed on Tue 27 Sep, 2016

Land of Gold finds Anoushka Shankar placing the sitar at the emotional centre of a narrative of journalistic immediacy ... an album of tremendous beauty and rare integrity.

Evidence of Anoushka Shankar’s ambition to make her music relevant (as much as to bring the sitar into the mainstream) comes in the form of this extended cri de cœur prompted by the current plight of refugees around the world. Land of Gold finds Shankar placing the sitar at the emotional centre of a narrative of journalistic immediacy. An international affair largely co-written with Austrian hang virtuoso Manu Delago, it features a diverse array of talents that include British cellist Caroline Dale, American rapper M.I.A. (his relentless track best, perhaps, to avoid) and actress and activist Vanessa Redgrave, who recites the poem Remain the Sea effectively accompanied by Indian chanting and keening drone. Sanjeev Shankar’s evocative shehnai is heard to particularly telling effect on the haunting Secret Heart and hushed Crossing the Rubicon. Shankar’s fluid, vital sitar sits at the centre of it all with enormous subtlety, lending emotional weight to an album of tremendous beauty and rare integrity.
–Michael Quinn