On my way back from picking up lunch today (Subway, as usual, but with a twist: got the oven roasted chicken breast on flatbread with bacon and avocado; needless to say it was delicious. Thank you, bacon, I'm so glad you and I are friends again), I caught a story on KPCC's show "The World" about Anoushka Shankar and her new album, "Traveller." Yes, those double L's bug me but I'll get over it. I ended up sitting in the car listening to it after I got back to my office.
For those of you who don't know who she is, Anoushka Shankar is the daughter of Ravi Shankar, and a musician herself. I like Indian music but I know very little about it; I only know who she is because of my fondness for "Concert for George" (the Indian music portion makes me cry every time I watch it, also her duet with Jeff Lynne on "The Inner Light" is gorgeous). I've heard a little more of her dad's recordings (and once we saw him at Disney Hall, which would've been awesome, except I bought us seats in the "Orchestra View" section, which seemed like a great idea, right? Except those seats were murder on our backs and behinds.) She's beautiful and talented, and probably wouldn't be down with what I ate for lunch, and that's about all I can tell you.
Anyway, she has a new album coming out, and it marries traditional Indian music with modern flamenco music. In typical NPR fashion, the story caught me from the second it started (they played about 2 seconds worth of the music before the guy started talking - I was sort of daydreaming while listening to "The World," which I've stopped listening to on a regular basis because it seems to me, and yes, I know that I'm probably wrong, that the stories are all depressing, about rape or genocide, and I'm sorry, I like to be informed, I really do, but lunchtime is just not the moment for me, for those topics. That sentence, it lost its way... Anyway, I had it on because I have been listening too much to too many songs about love [current favorite, on repeat, "Another Time" by Adrian Belew], so I decided I'd better get some news in me. Instead I got this story, and I was glad.
The story was really interesting, mostly because they interviewed Anoushka and she talked about her music herself. She sounds incredibly knowledgeable, and I bet I'd be intimidated by her in person, but she also sounds like a natural teacher and boy does she love music. I like when you can hear that in a person's voice and by the things they say. I'm not the most intelligent talker (and possibly thinker) about music (this sentence and a few others in this post prove this) and I can't always say what I feel very well, but she can, and does.
(The World doesn't seem to have a link to this story yet on their website. I'll keep an eye out for it for you.)
My favorite part of the story was at the end, when she mentioned that both flamenco and Indian music have a strong connection to dancing. I knew that about flamenco, because I'm not (some of my writing to the contrary) an idiot, but I didn't know it about Indian music. They took the time to record dancers and included those sounds. I think that drummers in general and my husband in particular will really enjoy those parts, because the dancing sounds like a really fast double-bass drum - it has that rapid fire, machine gun quality that Patrick likes in music, and while I know that it's a dancer and not a machine gun, the juxtaposition with the totally awesome liquid-y music really got my attention.
They also played clips of her playing sitar with a pianist that is just jaw dropping gorgeous.
Anyway, go ahead and check it out when you get a chance. The album doesn't come out until the 19th (I think; I can't get the website to load all of a sudden, so I'll have to verify that for you later, too). I'm pretty sure I'll be getting it. For now I'm going to put on my earphones and listen to Concert for George.