Anoushka / Song of the Sitar


Anoushka Shankar took the stage in DC at Sixth & I -Sanctuary, this month, as part of a long world tour and Washington Performing Arts performance. Performing with her virtuoso septet (Ojas Adhiya on tabla, Ravichandra Kulur on flute, Sanjeev Shankar on shehnai, Pirashanna Thevarajah on mridangam, and Kenji Ota on tanpura), Shankar played music that combined North Indian classical currents with jazz, pop, and flamenco.  A moody rendition of her famous June, as well as, her heartening finale, Home had the audience on their feet.

Most known as the youngest daughter of the prolific Indian sitar player, Ravi Shankar, and half-sister to jazz musician, Norah Jones, Shankar is an artist in her own right. She studied with her father and guru from the age of nine and made her debut as a classical sitarist at 13.  By 20, she received a Grammy nomination becoming the first Indian woman and youngest in the World Music category.  In 2005 she was nominated a second time for her self-produced album, Rise. Following her nomination, she became the first Indian artist to perform at the Grammy Awards.


Shankar’s collaborative approach to composing encourages cross-cultural dialogue across musical genres. She has worked with artists such as Sting, M.I.A, Herbie Hancock, Pepe Habichuela, Karsh Kale, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Joshua Bell.

Her fourth album for Deutsche Grammaphone, Land of Gold, is her heartfelt, humanitarian, response to the injustice experienced by refugees and victims of war.


In her life, Shankar has experienced many highs and lows. In 2013, She revealed that she had been sexually abused at the hands of a trusted family friend. Since then, she has given support and signature to the One Billion Rising Campaign — A global movement for women’s rights ( One Billion Rising is a mass action to end violence against women and solidarity against women’s exploitation.

Shankar currently lives in London with her husband and two sons.

The Washington Performing Arts is one of the most established and honored performing arts institutions in America. Sixth & I performances are made possible by the Abramson Family Foundation.

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Cecilia Mencia is founder of and an independent, DC-based journalist.