AUGUST    2001
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 Traditional societies - Wisdom and Challenges
Isabel Allende


 Hands Across Borders
- Bringing south Asia closer



 Sunil Dutt


 Shantiniketan and origin  of  Modern Art
Vijay Kowshik

Modern Idiom in Pakistan's Art
Niilofur Farrukh

Contemporary Art of  Bangladesh


Reinventing India
Mira Kamdar


Sufis - the  poet-saints 
Salman Saeed


Music Gharanas & Generation 2000
Mukesh Khosla


The First People - Wanniyala Aetto of Sri Lanka and Jarawa of Andaman
Nalini Bakshi


Royal Bengal's last roar?
Dev Duggal


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the print gallery


Page  3  of  3

Generation 2000 of Music Gharanas


Mukesh Khosla

anoushka-final.jpg (29917 bytes)
Anoushka Shankar - tutored by father Ravi Shankar

Like Amaan and Ayaan, another youngster who dotes on her father is Anoushka, daughter of Ravi Shankar. The 18-year-old has been tutored by her legendary father for the last 10 years. In 1995 she made her debut in Delhi at the age of 13.

The hopes from a musical progeny can sometimes be over-whelming. Ravi Shankar himself said in an interview recently, " being a father and a guru to a teenager is not easy. But I am trying…"

However, Anoushka doesn;'t mind that at all. In fact she's the proud daughter of a proud father. " It's great to play when he's sitting beside me," she says and adds, My only fear is it would be difficult for me to get out and establish myself once I am out of his shadow. I will always be compared to him."

The comparisons have been positive. Adept also on the piano, Anoushka is developing her own unique style and in the last few years she has performed with Ravi Shankar throughout India, Europe, Asia and the United States.

The high point of her career came in March 1997 when she joined her father and Zubin Mehta for a performance at the London Symphony Orchestra. Three months later in June, Anoushka performed with her father in a special concert at New York's Town Hall that brought them together with Alice Coltrane, widow of one of the all-time greats of jazz  - John Coltrane, and her son Ravi Coltrane, who is named after Ravi Shankar.

Says Anoushka, " My father is very patient. If I make a mistake, he will play it again. But he is not happy with the kind of time I put in for my practice. He used to put in 18 hours a day. But I am not doing that."

But the training hours she is putting in are paying big dividends. Music connoisseurs the world over are acknowledging the gifted rising star. She is the youngest ever performing artist to be honoured by the British Parliament with a House of Commons Shield,

In 1998 the former Prime Minister of India I.K.Gujral released her debut album Anoushka at the Carnegie Hall. Her second album, Anourag is due to be released in September 2000.

" If you are a child of a great musician there are many advantages as well," she admits candidly. " It was far more easy for me to make my debut. People would come to listen to me because I am his daughter. After that, it is up to me, it is up to how well I play."

All these young people admit their family background and their fathers' name made things simpler for them vis a vis other disciples, who have had to struggle more to create an identity for themselves. The difference starts from the time of training itself. Wasifuddin feels there is bound to be a difference between a son and a disciple. "  While all other of my father's disciples travelled long distances to learn music and after the classes would disappear in the traffic, I lived in that atmosphere the whole day and had all the time with my father. Though he was more strict to my faults, nevertheless I benefited the most from his talent." 

Being the child of a very talented father can sometimes be a disadvantage  too. The audience is more critical and attentive listening to them. There are some among the audience who have listened to their grandfather too. So the pressure becomes tougher.  Adds Amaan, " Sometimes being a great father's son can be a great burden. When you think how daunting the task is of attaining your father's standards, you just want to run away from it all." Does this hint at an element of pressure from the parents? All of them deny it. Amaan says he was never forced into music to fulfill his father's desire. " He never dictated to me or to my brother what we should do in life."  

While striving to live up to the family's name, the new generation of musicians faces the daunting task of popularising classical music to a young audience which is getting weaned away by pop and film music. The fathers in a sense had it easier because the musical tastes had not been moulded by western influence as much as they are today. But the confidence of the younger generation is heartening. Amaan feels that media and corporate houses have made all the difference and glamour has entered the field of classical form. "Though tastes may be getting depraved, a time will come when good music will stage a comeback." Interestingly, it is the family's applause that these young musicians cherish. Amaan recalls, " In 1996 at my debut solo performance in Mumbai with Ustad Zakir Hussain, I could see tears in my parents' eyes. It was the greatest joy and reward. I knew I had lived up to the expectations of my teacher and father." 




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