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Posted on Tue, Oct 13, 2009 : 6 a.m.

Ravi Shankar and daughter Anoushka coming to Ann Arbor

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang


Sitar master Ravi Shankar performs at Hill Auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 15 with daughter Anoushka. This will mark Ravi's fourth University Musical Society-sponsored performance.

Steve Ladner & Pamela Springsteen

An email from my girlfriend, Sujata: Diwali is coming, and Ravi Shankar and daughter Anoushka, too.

What else is there to say? Even 9-year-old Niu Niu knows she wants to go.

University Musical Society (UMS) has all the details, including additional performances of Indian music and dance, classical and fusion, in the community. This Thursday, October 15:

Ravi Shankar, the legendary 89-year-old sitarist and composer, is India’s most esteemed musical ambassador, a singular phenomenon whose artistry crosses all cultural and musical boundaries. As a performer, composer, teacher, and writer, he has done more for Indian music than any other musician and is well-known for his pioneering work in introducing India’s classical music tradition to the West. The youngest son of a Bengali family, Ravi Shankar was born in 1920 in Varansi, the holiest of Indian cities. He performs in concert with his daughter, Anoushka, whom he began teaching when she was nine.

According to the Boston Globe, Ravi Shankar “has said he is waiting for the day when he will be known as Anoushka’s father; he may not have long to wait.” Now one of the leading figures in world music today, Anoushka is deeply rooted in classical music but has also flourished as a performer and composer, exploring fertile ground in the crossover between Indian music and a variety of genres, including electronica, jazz, flamenco, and Western classical music. “Most people are musicians simply because they play a certain instrument; when they play that instrument, the music appears. But Ravi — to me, he is the music; it just happens to be that he plays the sitar. And it’s like that with Anoushka. She has that quality — she is the music.” (George Harrison) Ravi and Anoushka Shankar appear in Hill Auditorium for the first time since 2004.

SumKali Indian Classical Music Lecture/Demonstration Tuesday, Oct 13, 7 p.m. Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor Indian classical music has a wide diversity of forms and traditions. Join local Indian ensemble SumKali as they explain the intricacies of Ravi and Anoushka Shankar’s particular style through performance, celebrating local talent while illuminating the greatness of these master visiting musicians!

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second-generation Chinese American from California who now divides her time between Ann Arbor and the Big Island of Hawaii. She is editor of Asian American Village and a popular speaker on Asian Pacific American and multicultural issues. Check out her website at, her blog at, and she can be reached at