x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Anoushka Shankar to lead musicians at Dubai's Global Fusion concert

The ninth annual Global Fusion concert in Dubai features award-winning musicians from across the globe blending sounds from the East and West.

Indian musician Ravi Shankar's daughter, Anoushka. Shaun Curry / AFP
Indian musician Ravi Shankar's daughter, Anoushka. Shaun Curry / AFP

This weekend, the two-time Grammy award nominee Anoushka Shankar will lead world-renowned musicians and dancers at the ninth Global Fusion event in Dubai.

Established in 2005, the annual Global Fusion concert is an invite-only event that includes carefully chosen musicians and dancers from the Middle East and across the world.

This year’s lead musician is Anoushka Shankar (the two-time Grammy Award nominee and the daughter of the late Ravi Shankar, the legendary sitar player).

She will perform alongside the popular Emirati oud player Faisal Al Saari, the Spanish flamenco artist Sandra Carrasco, the “thunderous” Indian percussionist Pirashanna Thevarajah, the Austrian drummer and percussionist Bernhard Schimpelsberger, the Norwegian dancer Guro Nagelhus Schia and others.

The concert picks up the theme of Shankar’s album Traveller, an exploration of sounds from the East and West. “I’m bringing with me a group of truly wonderful artists who represent various aspects and sounds of Indian classical and flamenco music,” she says.

Shankar says fostering cultural dialogue between artists was a passion of her father’s and is something she strongly values. “I just hope to continue his teaching of the classical Indian music form and to grow as an artist,” says Shankar, who will play the sitar at the concert.

Rohit Walia, the chief executive of Alpen Capital and Bank Sarasin-Alpen Group, which is backing the show, says: “Anoushka Shankar was the perfect choice for this year’s line-up and we’re impressed with her innovation and exploration of a variety of genres.”

For Al Saari, the event is a “turning point” in his career as an oud player, offering him the opportunity to perform alongside and learn from top international musicians.

His oud performance will blend jazz, rock ’n’ roll, blues and Spanish flamenco. “The art has evolved and developed drastically, thanks to awareness raised through computer programmes and the internet,” says Al Saari.

The Indian musician Sanjeev Shankar will play the shehnai – a wind instrument dating back thousands of years. “Wind instruments are among the oldest music instruments; there are references to shehnai in ancient texts,” explains Shankar. He says the name is a combination of two Persian words and means “the king of wind instruments”.

For the dancer Schia, it’s all about “telling stories through movement”. Schia made her big-screen debut as Anushka with the 2012 movie Anna Karenina; she is also credited as the film’s assistant choreographer. “Bhairavi, my solo at the concert in Dubai, is from Svatantrya, another Anoushka Shankar performance. I will dance with the Indian dancer Mythili Prakash and the puppeteer Sarah Wright,” Schia reveals.

Organised by Alpen Capital and Bank Sarasin-Alpen, the ninth annual Global Fusion concert will be held on Saturday, 7pm, at the Convention Centre at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel

melshoush@thenational.ae