It's a shame that Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Ravi and half-sister to Norah Jones, still needs to be introducted. London born, she started playing the sitar under her father's tutelage at the age of nine. Anoushka released her debut album, simply entitled Anoushka, in 1998. This album, as well as it's follow-up, Anourag in 2000, was orientated towards a traditional classical style of sitar playing. In 2005, she released Rise which took her music in a whole new direction.
Rise doesn't just focus on your stereotypical sitar playing. It evolves into a more elaborate soundscape with often several minutes withouth the standout sound of Anoushka's sitar. It includes vocals on several songs. "Red Sun" and "Mahadeva" have a very tribal edge to them with extraordinary exotic singing, which to some listeners, could take some getting used to. However, in far contrast to this, "Beloved" introduces a delicate airy female chanting that simply soothes the mind. Rise is also a step towards a more modernised sound, several songs having a slight electro undertone to them.
Rise is much more varied than its predecessors, and this is a great thing. The album has many nice surprises whith its many changes in orientation. But, this does not mean it is inconsistent. Au contraire, it captures the taste of India perfectly, simply showing a more multicultural facette of this wonderful nation.
Rise is one of those albums you can put on, lay back, shut your eyes and drift off to. Nothing cries out psychedelia more than the sound of a sitar, and Rise will certainly take you to a whole new dimension.
F. Declercq 23/07/12
1. Prayer in Passing
2. Red Sun
7. Sinister Grains
8. Voice of the Moon
9. Ancient Love