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Anoushka Shankar, born on the 9th of June 1981 in London, England is a Bengali/Tamil sitar player and composer, as well as being the daughter of Ravi Shankar and the half-sister of singer Norah Jones.
Though Shankar was born in London into a Bengali/Tamil Hindu family, her childhood was divided between London and Delhi as well as California. She is the daughter of Sukanya Shankar and Indian sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.
From her fathers side of the family, she is also a half-sister of American singer Norah Jones (born Geetali Shankar), and Shubhendra "Shubho" Shankar, who died in 1992.
When she was a teenager Shankar lived in Encinitas, California, and attended San Dieguito High School Academy. Graduating in 1999 with honors , Shankar decided to pursue a career in music rather than go on to college.
Shankar began practicing on the sitar with her father as a child, with this practice consisting of just a couple of sessions a week beginning when she was seven. Shankar gave her first public performance at the age of 13 at Siri Fort in New Delhi.
By the age of fourteen, she was accompanying her father at concerts worldwide, and signed her first recording contract, with Angel Records (EMI) when she was only 16.
She released her first album, Anoushka, in 1998, followed by another named Anourag in 2000. Both Shankar and her half-sister, Norah Jones, were nominated for Grammy awards in 2003 when Shankar became not only the youngest but the first woman nominee in the World Music category for her third album, Live at Carnegie Hall.
2005 brought the release of her fourth album RISE, earning her another Grammy nomination in the Best Contemporary World Music category. In February 2006 she became the first performer of Indian decent to play at the Grammy Awards.
Shankar, in collaboration with Karsh Kale, released Breathing Under Water in August of 2007. It is a mix of classical sitar and electronica beats and melodies. Notable guest vocals included her paternal half-sister Norah Jones, Sting, and her father, who performed a sitar duet with her.
Shankar has made many guest appearances on recordings by other artists, among them Sting, Lenny Kravitz and Thievery Corporation. Duets with violinist Joshua Bell, in a sitar-cello duet with Mstislav Rostropovich, and with flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal, playing both sitar and piano. Most recently Shankar has collaborated with Herbie Hancock on his latest record The Imagine Project.
Shankar has given soloist performances of her father's 1st Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra worldwide.
In January 2009 she was the sitar soloist alongside the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for the series of concerts premièring her father’s 3rd Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra, and in July 2010 she premiered Ravi Shankar's 1st Symphony for Sitar and Orchestra with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at London's Barbican Hall.
Shankar has also forayed into acting in Dance Like a Man in 2004, as well as writing. She wrote a biography of her father, Bapi: The Love of My Life, in 2002 and has contributed chapters to various other books.
As a columnist she wrote monthly columns for India's First City Magazine for three years, and spent one year as a weekly columnist for India's largest newspaper, the Hindustan Times.
Shankar recorded another album in Madrid, Spain in autumn of 2011. Traveller is an exploration of the commonalities and differences between classical Indian music and Spanish flamenco, and features Shubha Mudgal, Tanmoy Bose, Pepe Habichuela, Sandra Carrasco and Duquende among others.
On the 29th of November 2002, Shankar was the opening act at the Concert for George, a posthumous tribute to the life and music of George Harrison, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
She was the principal performer in the entire first set or "the Indian portion" of the concert. She opened the show by playing a solo sitar instrumental titled "Your Eyes". Also on the sitar, she performed George Harrison's "The Inner Light" with Jeff Lynne on vocals and guitar.
Lastly, she conducted a new composition, Arpan, written by her father. The composition featured Eric Clapton playing acoustic guitar. The concert was modelled after Ravi Shankar's benefit concert with Harrison, the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh.
Shankar was invited by Richard Gere and Philip Glass to perform in a concert at the Avery Fisher Hall in 2003 in aid of the Healing the Divide: A Concert for Peace and Reconciliation.
Shankar and Jethro Tull postponed a concert scheduled for the 29th of November 2008 in Mumbai after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
They reorganised the performance as A Billion Hands Concert, a benefit performance for victims of the attacks, and held it on the 5th of December 2008. Shankar commented on this decision stating that:
"As a musician, this is how I speak, how I express the anger within me. Our entire tour has been changed by these events and even though the structure of the concert may remain the same, emotionally perhaps we are saying a lot more."
British House of Commons Shield, 1998
Woman of the Year (shared with Kareena Kapoor, Ritu Beri, and Rhea Pillai) awarded on International Women's Day 2003
Named as one of 20 Asian Heroes by the Asia edition of Time in 2004
Nominated for a Grammy award in 2003 in the World Music category for her third-album, Live at Carnegie Hall. She was the youngest-ever and first woman nominee in this category
Nominated for Grammy, in the Best Contemporary World Music category for her fourth album RISE in 2005
Won Best Artist in the Songlines Music Award for her album Traveller in 2011
Supporter of animal rights and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She and her father appeared in a thirty-second public-service announcement against animal suffering. Anoushka is also the spokesperson for the United Nations World Food Programme in India.
Shankar has thrown her weight behind an online campaign One Billion Rising on Change.org, demanding an end to crime against women in the wake of the Delhi gang rape. The campaign invites one billion women and those who love them to walk out, "Dance, rise up, and demand" an end to this violence. As part of the campaign, she released a video in which she revealed she had been sexually abused by a family friend.
Shankar lives between the United States, the United Kingdom, and India. She is married to British director Joe Wright and their first child, Zubin Shankar, was born on the 22nd of February 2011.
Rise Remixes (2006)
Breathing Under Water (2007)
Traces of You (2013)
Live and Compilations
Full Circle: Carnegie Hall 2000 (2000)
Live at Carnegie Hall (2001)
Concert for George (2003)
Live in Concert at the Nehru Park, New Delhi (2005)
Healing the Divide: A Concert for Peace and Reconciliation (2007)
Adarini – In Celebration composed by Ravi Shankar 1995
Chants Of India – Ravi Shankar; George Harrison, featuring Anoushka as Conductor & Assistant 1997
Sacred Love – by Sting 2003
8 classical ragas performed on ShankaRagamala composed by Ravi Shankar 2005
Rebirth – Co-written by Gaurav Raina, Tapan Raj and Anoushka Shankar. MIDIval Times 2005
Beloved – by Anoushka Shankar remixed by Thievery Corporation – Versions 2006
Mandala – Featuring Anoushka Shankar on sitar. Co-written by Hilton Garza, Radio Retaliation
Charu Keshi Rain – Co-written by Nitin Sawhney and Anoushka Shankar, London Undersound 2008
Variant Moods – Duet For Sitar & Violin (Abridged Version) Written by Ravi Shankar, At Home With Friends by Joshua Bell 2009
Traces of You, featuring three new songs with Norah Jones!
After the great success of her DG debut Traveller which spent 6 weeks in the top 10 of the Billboards World Music chart and received a Grammy nomination, Anoushka Shankar returns with another outstanding recording: Traces of You, featuring three new songs with her half-sister, Norah Jones.
Named Best Artist (Songlines Awards 2012) for Traveller its hybridism feels as natural as conversation (The New York Times) sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar has created a strikingly original new album.
Produced by British composer and multi-instrumentalist Nitin Sawhney, Traces of You features contributions by Anoushkas longtime associates: tabla genius Tanmoy Bose, flutist Ravichandra Kulur, and percussion wizard Pirashanna Thevarajah. Other highlights are a musical exploration of the unique sound of the Hang drum, played by its foremost exponent, Manu Delago.
Traces of You draws on Indian classical ragas, Western classical string arrangements, mid-20th century-style lyrics of extended poetry and modern soundscapes.
Filmmaker Joe Wright (Atonement, Anna Karenina, Pride & Prejudice) has filmed a music video for the title track, Traces of You, featuring Anoushka and Norah..
2011 release, the seventh album from sitar legend Ravi Shankar's daughter. The sitar player and composer has emerged as one of the leading figures in world music having made her first performance when she was just 13-years old. Traveller was produced by Javier Limond. The project, which Anoushka calls a "raga flamenco journey", originated with her wish to retrace the 1000-year-old bond between Indian and Spanish musical traditions.
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