‘Shankar 100’ to mesmerise Britons with the sitar maestro’s legacy

Monday 23rd March 2020 12:49 EDT

Famously called as 'the godfather of world music' by George Harrison, the influential Indian musician Ravi Shankar was revered in his homeland and credited with bringing the sounds of the Indian raga to the West. He collaborated with artists and composers including Philip Glass,Yehudi Menuhin and John Coltrane. His own works married musical traditions of East and West. 

Ravi Shankar's association with Southbank Centre goes back more than 60 years to his first performance in Royal Festival Hall in 1958 which began a lifelong relationship with the venue, including several performances and significant premieres over the years. To celebrate his awe-inspiring life and legacy, Southbank Centre is presenting Shankar 100, a special programme of concerts and projects throughout his centenary year, developed in consultation with his wife Sukanya and daughter and Southbank Centre Associate Artist Anoushka Shankar.

More than 100 dancers chosen by Ravi Shankar’s wife Sukanya Shankar will open the Ravi Shankar Centenary concert with musicians from India and around the world performing alongside Anoushka Shankar, her half-sister Norah Jones and Nitin Sawhney. The public programme is supported by Olivia and Dhani Harrison and the Material World Foundation.

After 18 years, Akram Khan will be returning with his company's first full-length dance production, Kaash, created in 2002 in collaboration with visual artist Anish Kapoor and composer Nitin Sawhney. The London Philharmonic Orchestra with Zubin Mehta and Anoushka Shankar will rediscover Ravi Shankar’s Raga-Mala in Mehta Conducts Shankarankar.

Amass Sitarathon workshop, a chance to create rangoli art and a dance workshop with Sujata Banerjee Dance Company will take place at Southbank Centre for their celebration called Shankar 100.

Highlights from the Ravi Shankar Archives exploring the life and legacy of a global musical icon in a show viz. Indian Sun will be showcasing significant items belonging to Shankar including personal belongings that accompanied him on stage for his last performance in 2012 and a unique, rare custom-made Kanai Lal sitar will be performed. This intimate display also contains archive photographs, unseen film footage and correspondence between Shankar and George Harrison giving audiences a new understanding of Shankar’s word.

A series of film screenings curated by Anoushka Shankar in partnership with the BFI including Alice in Wonderland, Monterey Pop, Pather Panchaliand Raga: A Film Journey Into the Soul of India will be filmed.

Gillian Moore CBE, Director of Music, Southbank Centre said, "Shankar 100 is a true celebration of a musician who brought the great tradition of Indian Classical Music to a global audience. We are privileged to honour Shankar’s life and legacy with a programme including concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, performances from Akram Khan Company and free workshops around the Southbank Centre site. Women take the lead with Anoushka Shankar, Sukanya Shankar and Norah Jones contributing to the centenary events and later in the year, Sitar Fest showcasing the brilliant female sitarists who are continuing to explore the instrument so closely associated with the great sitar maestro. 

"Our neighbours at the BFI celebrate Ravi Shankar’s legacy as a film composer, and in November, Ravi Shankar’s friend Zubin Mehta conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra and Anoushka Shankar 40 years after Mehta collaborated with her father on the world premiere of his Raga-Mālā."

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