What comes to mind when you hear Anoushka Shankar? Sitar virtuoso, film composer and activist are just a few names I can come up with. Shankar, the daughter of legendary Indian sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar, is one of the most celebrated and innovative musicians of her generation. She is known for her masterful playing, genre-bending compositions and commitment to social and environmental activism.
Fortunately, UConn’s very own Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts is welcomes this world-class artist on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. for a special concert.
Shankar will be performing with her new quintet of musicians, which includes clarinetist Arun Ghosh, drummer-composer Sarathy Korwar, Carnatic percussionist Pirashanna Thevarajah and bassist Tom Farmer. The quintet’s sound uniquely blends Indian classical music, jazz and electronic music.We often don’t see such intersections in genres, but Shankar defies all norms and brings us a distinctive experience. What better way to diversify our music taste than to gain exposure to such a skillful performance?
Let’s take a second to truly understand Shankar’s influence in the music industry. She was the first Indian musician to perform live and serve as a presenter at the Grammy Awards, with nine — yes, nine — nominations of her own under her belt. Shankar’s firsts do not end there — she was also one of the first five female composers to have been added to the UK A-level music syllabus.
Shankar’s life is fascinating. As the daughter of Pandit Ravi Shankar, master of the sitar who greatly shaped 20th-century music, she grew up in the public eye. Nonetheless, under the intense musical teachings of her father, Shankar was busy learning, rehearsing and improvising on the sitar from the age of 9. Soon, she made her professional debut at 13, fired up her touring career at 18 and became an international sensation.
Shankar’s concerts are known for their energy, excitement and diversity. She often performs a mix of traditional Indian classical music, her own original compositions and film scores.
The experience isn’t complete without visual appeal, and Shankar does not under-deliver. You will be delighted to watch the performance with a backdrop of colorful and evocative images and lighting.
So why is Shankar’s music unique? She draws parallels between electronic elements within the Goan psychedelic trance scene and Indian classical music: Both have meditative and introspective properties. The words from her website describe her vision as “using different colors to paint the same picture.”
If you are a fan of Indian classical, jazz, electronic music, ingenious music, then do not miss Anoushka Shankar’s concert at the Jorgensen Center. The evening will mark the first live preview of music from Shankar’s new mini album, “Chapter I: Forever, For Now,” before the album’s Oct. 6, 2023 debut. It is sure to be a special and unforgettable experience. Tickets are available at jorgensen.uconn.edu. Hope to see you there!