Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Anoushka Shankar Traveller Deutsche Grammophon 2012

Having reviewed several works involving various hybrids of Indian and Indian classical music with the more traditional form of functionality of the Western improvisational music known as jazz, most fall short in comparison to Traveller. While the improvisational skills on display throughout this release are mind blowing to say the least, Shankar follows her passion for Indian and flamenco building a natural musical bridge between the two cultures. This focused and dynamic hybrid of Indian classical with flamenco is a stunning contrast to some of the more disjointed attempts others artists have made when walking a global music tightrope.

If the Shankar name is slightly more than just "familiar" it may be because Anoushka Shankar is indeed the daughter of the legendary if not iconic Ravi Shankar. Proving the old adage that the apple does not fall far from the tree Anoushka Shankar was taught to play sitar by her father and her gift for composition is certainly equal to that of her prodigious talents of her instrumental work. Both the opening track Inside Me and the title track Traveller are intoxicating and at times blistering examples of improvisational and lyrical direction as two musical cultures merge as one harmonious train of thought. While there is a historical and geographical connection between both India and Spain there is an incredibly natural ebb and flow with no evidence of an intentional creation of a new genre. This may be one of the better world music releases available over the last several years.  Lola's Lullaby is another highlight of an incredible spatial all most three dimensional sonic depth of field created by the intimacy, attention to detail and subtle nuance that border on the addictive with this more ballad oriented tune. Improvised music will still be culturally based and while the term "World Music" is but an umbrella term in this context, Shankar excels in this setting. Organic music taken to the next highest level.

Joined by some of the most renown Indian and flamenco musicians including the great Pepe Habichuela on Boy Meets Girl, Shankar's performance seems to transcend time, space and genre. For the world music aficionado this is pure gold. The adventurous yet more traditionally based jazz lover can find plenty of captivating moments in this most auspicious debut on one of the worlds most respected labels in Deutsche Grammophon.

A stunning and adventurous display of virtuosity. 

5 Stars

Tracks: Inside Me; Buleria Con Ricardo; Krishna; Si No Puedo Verla; Dancing In Madness; Boy Meets Girl; Kanya; Traveller; Ishq; Casi Uno; Bhairavi; Lola's Lullaby.