Songlines Music Awards Winner

Best Artist: Anoushka Shankar

Album: Traveller (Deutsche Grammophon)

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“For me, the sitar’s greatest strength is its versatility,” said Anoushka Shankar in the very first issue of Songlines in 1999. She’s gone on to amply demonstrate that in subsequent years.

Anoushka Shankar
artist photo © Harper Smith

Daughter of the legendary Ravi Shankar, Anoushka started learning the sitar aged nine. In her teens she was regularly playing onstage with her father and had released three albums by the age of 20. But alongside her classical sitar work, she has also recorded contemporary fusion projects, including last year’s Traveller, which won her this year’s award.

There have been numerous Indian music meets flamenco records, but this, her first recording for Deutsche Grammophon, is without question one of the best. The musical link is through the Roma Gypsies who originated in India but were crucial in the development of Andalusian flamenco in the 19th century. She joined up with producer and guitarist Javier Limón, and some of the tracks take a flamenco form and add Indian ideas, and others start with an Indian raga and add flamenco rhythm (see feature in #80).

Traveller features flamenco singers Sandra Carrasco and Buika, Indian singer Shubha Mudgal, flamenco guitarist Pepe Habichuela and pianist Pedro Ricardo Miño. The results are spectacular and she is touring Europe in July.