WBEZ | sitar http://www.wbez.org/tags/sitar Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago remembers Ravi Shankar http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/chicago-remembers-ravi-shankar-104356 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ravi%20ap.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 600px;" title="Ravi Shankar in February 2012 (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, File)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F71027639" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>People around the world are mourning the legendary Indian musician Ravi Shankar, who died earlier this week. In Chicago, that group includes fans, presenters and performers of his music.</p><p>Musician <a href="https://www.facebook.com/SouthAsianClassicalMusic">Lyon Liefer</a> doesn&#39;t play the sitar, he plays the bansuri, a North Indian side-blown flute. Still, he says he comes from &nbsp;the &quot;school&quot; of Shankar.</p><p>By school Liefer doesn&#39;t mean an actual building or registered institution, but a particular approach to performance. In Liefer&#39;s case, the connection to Shankar is deep. His guru or teacher was taught by Allaudin Khan,&nbsp;the same man who trained Shankar. &nbsp;</p><p>Liefer never met Shankar, though he was actually in India when the Beatles were there. He says he has great admiration for Shankar&#39;s &quot;personality, charisma and ability to relate to audiences. He was a fantastic asset for the music.&quot;</p><p>Rahul Sharma is a sitar player and band leader of the local group <a href="http://www.funkadesi.com/">Funkadesi.</a> He laughed while recalling how every time he totes his large instrument through O&#39;Hare or other airports, people stop him and without fail utter a kind of three-word chant. &quot;Sitar? Ravi Shankar!&quot;</p><p>Music presenter Brian Keigher (also known as <a href="https://www.facebook.com/djwarpchicago">DJ Warp</a>) began promoting Shankar&rsquo;s music here in the early &#39;90s.&nbsp;But he says the&nbsp;sitar player&rsquo;s connection to the city goes back much further.&nbsp;</p><p>Keigher remembered Shankar telling the story of when he&#39;d first performed at Orchestra Hall &quot;when he was a young boy in his brother&#39;s dance ensemble, in the late 1930s. So he had a real affinity for Orchestra Hall and for Chicago.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6816_ravi%20brian%202-scr.jpg" style="height: 283px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Ravi Shankar and Brian Keigher (courtesy Brian Keigher)" />Mesmerized by the sitar player&#39;s music, Keigher eventually became his friend, and even attended &nbsp;the musician&rsquo;s 90<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;birthday celebration in California (despite having also arranged a tribute concert to Shankar at the same time in Chicago!).</p><p>Keigher says while audiences have embraced Shankar&rsquo;s music, not everyone follows his rigorous training and guru-shishya tradition in which a student undergoes a long period of training with a master teacher.</p><p>&quot;You know people can say they picked up the sitar, played it two years and then get gigs on their own. But you know it&rsquo;s not really cut from the same cloth as that tradition.&quot;</p><p>Lyon Liefer agreed, saying traditional classical Indian music really isn&#39;t a big thing in the United States. Perhaps that&#39;s because most audiences first encountered Shankar not through his own musical tradition of northern Indian classical music, but through other musical forms like pop and jazz. And of course many of Shankar&#39;s musical ambassadors were western musicians like John Coltrane and most famously, George Harrison.&nbsp;</p><p>But for Rahul Sharma, &quot;That&#39;s (the) beauty of sharing these musical traditions. Yes they&#39;re very different. But they have in common the element of improvisation and self-expression. As a listener, hearing the interaction and interplay is always fascinating.&quot;</p><p>Sharma said one of the best ways to appreciate Shankar&#39;s music is to gather a group of friends and listen together to some tracks, maybe with a glass of scotch or some food at hand.</p><p>Kindly enough, he&#39;s extended that invitation to all of us, including any local sitar players. Friday night at <a href="http://www.fitzgeraldsnightclub.com/events/view/Funkadesi-16th-Anniversary-Show-2">Fitzgerald</a>s, at a show originally meant to celebrate 16 years of Funkadesi, the group and Brian Keigher will also honor the life and legacy of Ravi Shankar. It gets underway at 8 p.m. in Berwyn - all the details are <a href="http://www.fitzgeraldsnightclub.com/events/view/Funkadesi-16th-Anniversary-Show-2">here.</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 06:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/chicago-remembers-ravi-shankar-104356 Sitar virtuoso Anoushka Shankar talks with Tony Sarabia http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-28/sitar-virtuoso-anoushka-shankar-talks-tony-sarabia-97678 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-28/2616312278_22551094dc.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-28/2616312278_22551094dc.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 333px;" title="(Flickr/Woonie Chong)"></p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size:10px;">Listen to Anoushka Shankar on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></span></p><p><span class="filefield_audio_insert_player" href="/sites/default/files/120328 seg b mp3.mp3" id="filefield_audio_insert_player-128624" player="null">120328 seg b mp3.mp3</span></p></div></div><p>The old saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” couldn’t more true when it comes to sitar virtuoso Anoushka Shankar. When your teacher is Ravi Shankar - perhaps the greatest sitar player of the 20th century - how can you not pick up some pointers?</p><p>Anoushka started playing music at an early age; first taking up the Indian drone instrument called the tempura. Her father Ravi then presented her with a specially built sitar that conformed to her small stature.&nbsp;</p><p>This wasn’t a case of over-bearing parents wanting their kid to take on the family business. As a matter of fact, both dad and mom (who, by the way, is a master of the Carnatic vocal style of southeastern India) told Anoushka she didn’t have to study sitar-- but if she did, she’d have to be serious about the craft.</p><p>That she was, and by the time she was 13 years old, she was performing with her father onstage.</p><p>Anoushka recorded her first album three years later and since then has released six other albums; the latest,&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.anoushkashankar.com/albums/traveller/">Traveller</a>,</em>&nbsp;is an exploration of the connection between Indian classical music and Spanish flamenco.</p><p>In Indian culture sitar players are usually men, while women play the role of singer and dancer. Anoushka has been a trailblazer in that regard. In 2006, she became the first Indian to play at the Grammy Awards.</p><p>You might be thinking her success was made easier because her father is who he is, and she would agree.</p><p>But she also acknowledges the challenges of coming out from under the shadow of Ravi Shankar and getting recognition for her talents.&nbsp; And even though she has met those challenges, she remains down to earth and has great respect for the ancient craft of sitar.&nbsp;</p><p>Anoushka will join us on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to talk about her new album, her family and her unique work.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-28/anoushka 1.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 338px; " title="Shankar prepares for her interview with Tony Sarabia (WBEZ/Kate Dries)"></p></p> Wed, 28 Mar 2012 13:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-28/sitar-virtuoso-anoushka-shankar-talks-tony-sarabia-97678