Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I try my best to keep up
Anoushka and Ravi Shankar played the Meyerhoff tonight. Anoushka's artistry has again improved dramatically, and it was only a year ago that they were last in town. Her playing is much more graceful and emotive; she's always had great dexterity and precision, but now she's developing a powerfully evocative style of her own. Instead of her New Age-y international jam band, she opened with a traditional set of flute ragas. I drifted, attached to Earth only by an ectoplasmic umbilicous strung from my pituitary gland.
Ravi joined Anoushka for the second set. He looks wispy enough for a light breeze to blow him away. They played three evening ragas for dual sitar, and this time around Anoushka handled most of the pyrotechnic lines. Ravi is still occasionally fast, but fast playing is no longer his strength. He takes great delight in throwing old folk tunes and bits of different ragas into the mix, watching his daughter pick up on the improvs, and teasing his fantastic tabla player. Tonight Ravi played a muted sitar, a much richer and more resonant instrument, while Anoushka rocked the traditional twangy model. The effect was analagous to a concerto featuring piano and harpsichord together.
I adored every minute. At the end of the show Ravi said "I get to play with these wonderful young people. At 87, I try my best to keep up. I hope I can come here again."
So do I.