New York, NY
April 6, 2012
Touring in support of Traveller
(Deutsche Grammophon, 2012), Indian-born sitarist Anoushka Shankar kicked off the show at the Manhattan venue with a traditional raga backed by Sanjeev Shankar (shehnai) and Pirashanna Thevarajah (mridangam, ghatam, kanjira, moorsing ). The trio was then joined by Melón Jimenez (flamenco guitar), Sandra Carrasco (vocals) and Bernhard Schimpelsberger (cajon, Spanish percussion) for the material from Traveller
, an experiment in bringing together Indian and Flamenco musics.
It was impressive to see how the two genreswhich are seemingly completely differentcame together so smoothly. The Indian instruments fell right into place with Flamenco, and Shankar sounded as if she was born playing that kind of music. On tunes like "Inside Me" and "Kanya," Jimenez had great improvised moments, and there were great duets between him and the sitarist.
Among the highlights was "Boy Meets Girl," an instrumental piece from Traveller
that features both guitar and sitar heavily, with little support from the other instrumentsit was a great opportunity to appreciate both Jimenez' dexterity and his chemistry with Shankar, and how both musicians fed from each other.
"Casi Uno," a Shankar-Javier Limon collaboration (Limon co-produced the CD) featured Carrasco's heartfelt vocals (stepping in for Concha Buika
, who sang on the original recording). The Indian percussion fit the music like a glove, while Shankar responded to the vocalist's singing with carefully placed riffs.
Listening to Shankar and the band perform these songs live was a fantastic experience. The two genres complemented each other well, and the arrangements respected the individuality of each instrument and its nuances.