Anoushka Shankar

Live at Carnegie Hall

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Live at Carnegie Hall Review

by Joe Silva

While Anoushka Shankar had already received terrific amounts of press because of her heritage and beauty, the young sitar prodigy's Carnegie Hall concert in October of 2000 was perhaps one the first true musical milestones of her blossoming career. Still performing music as composed by her renowned father and sitar master, Ravi Shankar, the Carnegie performance begins with the gentle alap portion of the "Raga Madhuvanti" before it begins to be driven toward its frenetic close some eight minutes later. The second portion of this raga (the seven-beat gat in rupak), a piece which is traditionally played during the late evening, begins with the tablas figuring more prominently than in the alap, and her accompaniment is stunningly delivered by Bikram Ghosh and Tanmoy Bose. Those challenged by the seemingly free-flowing structures of Indian classical music need only to look to "Bhupali Tabla Duet" here to discover the sort of delightfully anchoring melody that often seems so elusive to initiates. The final selection, the lengthy "Raga Mishra Piloo," was recorded the previous June at England's Salisbury Festival. The raga piloo is a lighter, classical raga generally performed after a principal piece, and Anoushka Shankar captures the tender, colorful nature that is to be sought for it. Because of the venues' governing propriety, crowd response is predictably more austere than at European and other American concert halls, where she is treated to enthusiastic responses during her performances. As nuanced as the formalized improvisation of Indian classical music is, the listener who returns repeatedly to this release is bound to appreciate their subtly emerging forms alongside the dogged growth of an artist as she comes of age.

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