Moments of wonder as Anoushka Shankar pays tribute to her father Ravi at the BBC Proms – iNews

Posted By on September 13, 2020

George Harrison; Philip Glass; John Coltrane; Andre Previn: the list of musicians influenced by Ravi Shankar is as diverse as it is distinguished. The legendary sitar player would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2020, and in a year of cancellations it was heartening to see this Proms tribute survive.

Anoushka is her fathers musical heir, but very much her own musician; a programme that opened with a backwards look to Ravi Shankars legacy ended in his daughters own musical compositions and genre-crossing collaborations.

Variations is a tribute to Shankar that unfolds in three continuous sections over a hypnotic half-hour. Producer Gold Panda, performing on stage alongside Anoushka Shankar, set up beats, drones and samples a backdrop for Shankars own web of musical quotations and reworkings. The effect was of a duet across time between father and daughter, heightened by passages of Shankars own speaking and singing as well as his music.

Rhapsodic and free, now tumbling in glittering streams of notes and now holding us suspended in time-bending resonance, Shankars contributions were hypnotic, though it was harder to see what Golda Panda offered beyond structural support. Against such freewheeling virtuosity, his beats seemed staid and his transitionsgauche.

Far better were Shankars collaborations with Austrian percussionist Manu Delago. A slightly redundant Britten Sinfonia and conductor Jules Buckley provided symphonic scope, while in the foreground Shankar and Delago sparred and danced in melodies and rhythms drawing on everything from flamenco to Sephardic folk, the keening voice of the sitar melting into the grainy thrum of Delagoshandpans.

There were moments of wonder here among the box-ticking BBC caution. Maybe next time we can lose the musical safety harnesses and classical conventions and just relax into it?

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Moments of wonder as Anoushka Shankar pays tribute to her father Ravi at the BBC Proms - iNews

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