Anoushka Shankar @ Monument-National – 3rd May 2019

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Friday’s (May 3rd) concert was a big item on my bucket list. I’ve waited so long to finally be able to see and witness the great sitar player Anoushka Shankar. Ever since I found out that Ravi Shankar had a daughter that was trained by himself, I looked her up, started listening to her music, liked on Facebook, and finally, after many tour announcements, she was honoring us by playing in Montreal.

Entering the venue, the oldest working theatre in Canada, felt appropriate and inviting for such a splendid evening. I was blessed and fortunate to have shared this experience with my wife. The climate, the first warm day of spring plus the music that was to follow made the perfect setting for a memorable night.

Now for the concert itself, one by one all the musicians entered the stage to a warm round of applause from everyone in the theatre. Each of them sat in their miniature stages and lastly, the virtuoso Anoushka centered herself, greeted us with a big smile and her hands clasped in Namaste and sat in her cushion.

The musicians on stage came from all over the world, London, Mumbai, Bangalore, Brazil, and even Japan. As they tuned their instruments, adjusting them to the humidity and change of temperature, many synchronized sounds filled the room. This moment served as a way for us awaken to the moment and live it to the fullest. It was sort of like a ritual, a transition from the mundane to something consecrated and unique.

Even among all the talent that was on stage, it was always accompanied by a lot of humility and gratefulness. Anoushka made sure to always set our minds to understand the story, inspiration and set us into the tone of the piece that was about to be played.

All of the songs were gifts and little windows into her life story and soul. From the first song played, which was her first composition from 15 years ago, the compositions she played with her sister, Norah Jones, the soundtrack she wrote for one of the restorations of the first Indian movies and the arrangement she made from one of her father’s raga, Anouska gave us a glimpse into her joys, her prides, her loves and her roots. It was all sublime and our clapping hands couldn’t make justice to what we received that night from her and her band.

Review – Ricardo D. Flores

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