She’s back home. But is she? For someone who has grown up across three continents, the idea of home is far from what’s conventionally understood. As four-time Grammy nominee, Anoushka Shankar comes back to India as part of her four-city tour; she is also presenting her new album, ironically titled Home.
Over the years, she’s found home in a lot of things. Two of the most important ones being, music and family. “I always felt as if I had many homes, but no home. But, now I feel more rooted and settled than I did before. However, perhaps because of my peripatetic childhood, home has always been an internal, spiritual concept, as someone comfortable in themselves can learn to be comfortable anywhere,” she shares.
Recorded as a homage to her father, late sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar, Anoushka’s new album was recorded while she was expecting her younger son, Mohan. This trip will be his first to India. “I was seven months pregnant when I was recording Home, and so I felt deeply connected to life, feeling Mohan kick in my belly, whilst I was playing to my father’s memory. It was a special experience to say the least. Similarly, when I was pregnant with Zubin, I recorded Traveller,” she says, adding, “I’ve found pregnancy to be a lovely time to play, create, and record music. The music somehow becomes an extension of that connected and creative process.”
Playing classical ragas on an album since her father passed on, Shankar says she felt deeply connected to him through the process of making music. Even though Anoushka has played many concerts as a tribute to him, she’ll be rendering them after long. “Raga Jogeshwari is one of the ragas that I played with my father a lot, as it was written by him, so it felt like the perfect choice with which to pay homage in Home,” she says, happy about the fact that even though Pandit Ravi Shankar was a classicist when it came to his sitar, he was also somebody who allowed tremendous creative freedom as a composer. “This was an aspect that really influenced me—him being open and experimental. I’ve never seen a contradiction between upholding a classical tradition on one side and on the other, doing what comes naturally to you at a given point,” she says.
As quickly as you can
● A thing you learnt well by observing Pandit Ravi Shankar: Love
● A thing that is intolerable: Inequality
● What is it that you do right before sleeping and after waking up: Meditate
● You live by: Ja houbar, tha houbey (in Bengali it means, what will be, will be)
● Style means: comfortable, chic and casual
● The last time you got really mad at something: Nirbhaya case
● A thing that always makes you happy: Children
● If your father could hear you, what would you say: Thank You
● Favorite raag : Manj Khamaj
● Favorite movie: Atonment
● Favorite food: Medittarannean and Italian
● Favorite travel destination: Big Sur, California
● Biggest strength: Adaptability
● Biggest fear: Loneliness
Recorded at her home studio in London, the album is a journey where Anoushka explores her roots. “With this album, I continue exploring modern and fresh ways to reinterpret and keep alive the beautiful musical traditions of India, as taught by my father. It’s one of the greatest homecoming,” she says.
December 13, 8 pm onwards. Venue to be announced soon. Details will be uploaded on bookmyshow.com