Anoushka Shankar: There is great strength in vulnerability

Sugandha Rawal –

Grammy-nominated sitarist, composer and producer Anoushka Shankar finds strength in vulnerability, and says she is increasingly finding it easier to trust that she can be vulnerable in her music.

Asked how important it is to be vulnerable as an artist, Anoushka told IANS: “There is great strength in vulnerability, as it takes courage to push through the fear and share one’s true self with others. In music, that vulnerability really speaks to listeners as it connects with their own hearts. I find it increasingly easier as the years go by, to trust that I can be vulnerable in my music.”

Apart from music, the daughter of the late globally-renowned sitar exponent Ravi Shankar is known for her personal battles, from successfully battling substance abuse, opening up about sexual abuse, hysterectomy to her struggle with depression.

In a social media post, Anoushka shared that she took her youth and potency for granted, and had no self-worth. The internationally-acclaimed sitarist feels that embracing one’s true vulnerability and honesty is “an ongoing process, like any growth!”

“I saw things five years ago I couldn’t see ten years ago, but I see things now that I couldn’t see five years ago. I’ve become more fiercely protective of my self-worth than I used to be. And I learn more every day what honesty really is, beyond lies and witholding truth, and into an internal sense of integrity,” she said.

The mother of two channels her inner thoughts and her emotions through her music. “Traces of You” was about intense joy, pain and sadness, her album “Land Of Gold”, released in April 2016, was written in response to the refugee crisis. Her latest album “Love Letters”, a compilation of songs written across 2018-2019, documents a time of profound flux for the artist: health issues, heartbreak, domestic upheaval.

Reflecting about the process of making music, Anoushka said: “It’s always been my feelings that push me to create music. The feelings can be due to my own personal experiences, such as on ‘Love Letters’, or they can be my feelings in reaction to world events, such as on ‘Land of Gold’. Intense feelings need an outlet, and music is one of my strongest outlets.”

Anoushka will perform in India as part of her worldwide tour of her latest album “Love Letters”. She will perform in Mumbai on February 13, and in Delhi on February 14. The tour, presented by Alchemist Marketing Solutions, will mark her homecoming to the Indian sub-continent after more than two years.

“It’s a homecoming, personally and musically, a return to roots and an offering to where it all began,” she about performing in India.

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