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World Music CD Reviews South Asia


By Tom Terrell
Published June 27, 2006


The offspring of legendary musicians don’t usually inherit a full share of parental talent, but apparently, sitarist Ravi Shankar’s daughter never got the memo. On Rise, Anoushka Shankar takes her music one giant step farther. She composed, arranged, produced and edited all nine tracks, playing sitar and keyboards throughout. Rise showcases trans-culturally audacious instrumental choices and arrangements: flamenco guitars, electric bass, cello, violin, bansuri, santoor, tablas, trap drums, tanpura, djembe, shehnai and didjeridoo all appear, and dance together. Musically speaking, Rise is a brand new bag: Indian classical-Bollywood-Goa-trance-jazz fusion. Opening raga “Prayer In Passing”’s languid, dreamy mix of sitar, illbient keyboard effects, flamenco piano, Indian slide guitar and Middle Eastern woodwind establishes the ancient-to-future template all Rise’s songs follow. Anoushka’s overdubbed sitar and keyboards add a sweetly ethereal frisson to the aptly titled “Naked.” “Solea” catches the listener in an exquisite flamenco undertow. “Ancient Love” transforms Vedic folk song form, creating a hypnotic chillout epic. Rise is to the future of contemporary sitar music as Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland was to rock.