Anoushka Shankar: Traveller
The Guardian Review
It goes without saying that Anoushka Shankar is a virtuoso sitar player, but one can never be sure how she will use her skills. She has given some memorable performances in the past, playing ragas alongside her legendary father and teacher Ravi Shankar, but her solo work has edged towards the experimental and pop mainstream. Her 'Breathing Under Water' album, recorded with electronica exponent Karsh Kale, included a ballad from Sting. Now comes a very different project, in which she explores the links between Indian music and Spanish flamenco, the result of ancient Gypsy migration. It's an area that has fascinated Nitin Sawhney – who provides the sleeve notes – and allows her to demonstrate her inspired instrumental work in the company of Indian musicians and the flamenco elite, including the producer and guitarist Javier Limón. The best tracks are those where Shankar takes chances, matching uninhibited sitar improvisation against flamenco percussion and the furious, inspired piano work of Pedro Ricardo Miño on the thrilling 'Buleria Con Ricardo', or backing the passionate singing of 'Duquende' or more thoughtful 'Concha Buika'. There are occasional less exciting, easygoing passages, including the title track, but this is a brave and original set.
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