Fiery fingered sitarist, Ravi Shankar, was possibly the single most important figure in the early acceptance by the West of what is now referred to as World Music.
Championed by George Harrison, he was the musical figurehead for all things exotic and esoteric in the mid to late ‘60s, though it was his response to a sea of mud-caked hippies when he thanked them for their warm applause and hoped they would appreciate the next piece as much as they did the tuning of the instrument that really summarised Western understanding of Indian Classical music.
His daughter Anoushka has, consciously or not, borne this lesson in mind throughout her career and on her seventh album she presents a smooth, palatable blend of brilliantly executed sitar work with its lengthy fascinating excursions and the worldly wise crooning of her half sister, Norah Jones.
The pieces are tender and thoughtful with subtle hooks and darkly gliding melodies punctuated by loquacious Hang drum rhythms, and imbued with a marvellous sense of restraint and balance.
Highlights include the beautifully melodic Flight, the frenetic Lasya and the bittersweet The Sun Won’t Set.
With Shankar’s superb sitar playing and the ghost of her father echoing though each incandescent minute, this is an impeccably executed and absolutely riveting set.
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