April 12, 2008
Even though much of my time is being taken up with preparing to move, I've had two wonderful musical adventures in the past few weeks. I'll talk about the most recent one at this sitting. On Thursday night, Mark and I went to hear Anoushka Shankar at Orchestra Hall. Click here for the program notes. I first heard her on 89.3 The Current several months ago, when they played a piece from her 2007 CD "Breathing Under Water." I loved iits mixture of classical Indian sounds and contemporary western beats. I've listened to it quite a few times; the tunes stay with me.
Ms. Shankar is 26 years old - she is the daughter of Ravi Shankar and the half-sister of Norah Jones. She has been performing publicly for half her life. Her official website is quite visually appealing - take a look.
Thursday night featured horrible weather -- we were in the midst of a spring snow / slush / ice / sleet / rain storm, accompanied by thunder and lightning (Minnesota's famous "thundersnow.") I thought Orchestra Hall would be thinly populated, but I think it was full, or almost so. The ensemble included 5 folks: Anoushka Shankar on sitar, Tanmoy Bose on tabla (incredible!), Sanjeev Shankar on tanpura, Leo Dombecki on piano, and Jesse Charnow on drums. A spectacular group.
This was her first appearance in the Twin Cities. At one point, she said "What's with this weather?" - and people understood. (She said she was heading back to San Diego -- the American city with the most perfect climate, IMHO.) The audience was what I would call "slow to warm up" - but maybe it was the weather. By the end of the evening, however, people were smiling, shouting, bravo-ing, and applauding loudly - it was a love affair.
Many of the pieces they played were ragas. According to Wikipedia:
"RÄ?ga (Sanskrit, lit. "colour" or "mood"; or rÄ?gam in Carnatic music) refers to melodic modes used in Indian classical music. It is a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is founded. In the Indian musical tradition, ragas are held in different times of the day. Indian classical music is always set in raga. Non-classical music such as popular Indian film songs sometimes use ragas in their compositions." The entry is much longer; for further information click here.
All in all, it was a delightful evening. It was Mark's first time at Orchestra Hall (not that he hadn't been offered opportunities before), and he truly enjoyed it. He talked about coming back down for Sommerfest. I asked if he had thought about playing an instrument, and he said he'd prefer to be a sound technician - he'd be great.