The twinkle in her eye screams she’s inordinately in love. And sitarist Anoushka Shankar doesn’t mind confessing it either. “I’m loving nesting and traveling with Joe (Wright, her boyfriend and filmmaker). I love doing the dishes and cleaning the house… It just feels right. I’m very happy,” she chirps. In India for the annual music and dance festival at the Ravi Shankar Institute for Music and Performing Arts (RIMPA), the Grammy-nominated musician gets candid.
What fond memories does the festival bring back?
(Smiles) My father and I developed this festival together and I’ve never missed one. It’s a treat to witness great performances being enjoyed by youngsters and old-timers alike. I won’t say the festival draws youngsters in huge numbers but it has seen good participation over the years.
RIMPA plans to start a music label, East Meets West. Tell us more.
The label was long overdue. Besides releasing our (her and Panditji) music, it will also serve as a platform for budding musical talent. Given the warped music copyright laws in India, it will also help us combat piracy and bootlegging of music. The label’s first release will be a compilation of Bapi’s unreleased records from the last six decades.
How was it working with jazz legend Herbie Hancock on his new album, The Imagine Project, that also features artistes such as Pink, Seal and Chaka Khan?
He’s such a darling! It’s always a treat to work with geniuses like him. We recorded the piece in Mumbai last year and it’s come out really well. The experience was unique because he’s harmony-oriented and I was connecting with him through ragas. I got to know later that the same track features Chaka Khan.
Yoga Revolution, a compilation album, also features a track from your 2008 album, Breathing Under Water. How did that come along?
Even I got to know about it recently. Must be a deal from the record company’s side. It’s good to be featured on albums with famous artists.
Aren’t you composing for Joe Wright's next film?
No, not that film but another one he’s planning to start in a few months. I’ve been touring with him to help him on his new film, Hanna. He wanted me to be a part of the soundtrack but it wasn’t a natural fit. I have performed on a few uncredited pieces though. (Smiles) By the way, he’s designed the set for my upcoming London concert.
Have you gotten used to the paparazzi in London yet?
Joe and I keep away from it. We aren’t game for intrusive publicity. I’m just happy being at home with him.
Do you serve him breakfast in bed?
(Blushes) I have breakfast in bed