Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar is one of the leading figures in Indian classical and progressive world music today. She is deeply rooted in the Indian classical tradition having studied exclusively from the age of nine under her father and guru, the legendary Ravi Shankar. In her twenties, after establishing herself as one of the foremost classical sitarists on the world’s stage, she began thriving as a composer, exploring fertile ground in the crossover between Indian music and a variety of genres including flamenco, jazz, electronica and Western classical music. Among various accolades she has been thrice-nominated for a Grammy® award and was the youngest, and first female, recipient of a House of Commons Shield from the Houses of Parliament in 1999.
As a classical sitarist Anoushka Shankar made her professional debut at the age of thirteen and has performed in prestigious venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Carnegie Hall, Barbican Centre, Vienna Konzerthaus, Salle Pleyel, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Palais des Beaux-Arts, KKL Luzern and at the Verbier Festival, Prague Spring Festival and the London Proms. She has championed her father’s four Concertos with the world’s leading orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, London Philharmonic, Czech Radio Symphony, Bern Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, MDR Sinfonieorchester, Lucerne Symphony and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra under conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Kristjan Jävri and Jakob Hrusa. By the age of 20, she had already made three classical sitar recordings for EMI/Angel under the guidance of her father, and received her first Grammy® nomination, thereby becoming the first Indian female and youngest-ever nominee in the World Music category.
In 2011 Anoushka signed to the prestigious classical label Deutsche Grammophon, and released her sixth album, Traveller, a critically-hailed exploration of Indian classical music and Spanish flamenco. This was the third in a series of breakthrough experimental albums from Anoushka, following 2005’s self-produced and Grammy-nominated Rise. For Traveller, Anoushka created an ensemble of Flamenco and Indian musicians and toured extensively through Europe, the USA, Middle East and India giving over 90 concerts. Traveller earned her a third Grammy® nomination and also a Songlines Best Artist Award (2012).
October 2013 sees the release of her second CD on Deutsche Grammophon: Traces of You produced by multi-instrumentalist Nitin Sawhney. As good friends they worked closely together, coaxing out some of the most intimate and daring music Anoushka has yet released. The music exists in an indefinable space between genres, always with the Indian music Anoushka loves so dearly at its root. Traces of You features Anoushka’s half-sister Norah Jones as the sole vocalist on several songs and showcases Anoushka’s ever-increasing versatility and lyricism on the sitar.
Over the years Anoushka has maintained creative careers outside of music: in 2002 she authored the book Bapi: The Love of My Life, a biographical portrait of her father, and has served as regular columnist for New Delhi’s First City magazine and the Hindustan Times. She also earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination from India’s National Film Awards for her role in Dance Like a Man in 2004.
Today, from her home in London, where she lives with her husband and son, Anoushka’s career reflects her aim to constantly learn and grow as an artist. As Nitin Sawhney wrote, “no one embodies the spirit of innovation and experimentation more evidently than Anoushka Shankar.”
On the 7th of July 2014, at JAZZ™, Anoushka Shakar will perform accompanied by: Manu Delago (hang, drum kit, percussion), Ayanna Witter-Johnson (vocals, piano, cello), Sanjeev Shankar (shehnai), Pirashanna Thevarajah (Indian percussion) and Danny Keane(cello, piano).