Absolutely Anoushka

Dateline: September 29, 2000

The Ravi Shankar Foundation has a lot of information about Ravi, Anoushka and the sitar. Anoushka also has her own official Web site.

Paula: How difficult was it to learn the sitar?

Anoushka: It's a very difficult instrument to learn. I've heard people say it could be the most difficult instrument technically to play just because of all the little things about it, starting form the way you have to sit to hold it to how long the neck is, how much the arm has to travel, to the fact we pull on the strings until your fingers get really cut at the beginning until you develop calluses, the pick you wear on your right index finger is really tight. At the beginning you really have to struggle a lot and that was quite tough for me because I was really young and didn't really have the motivation to do it so my parents had to push me a bit.

Paula: Is that how you got started?

Anoushka: I started at my mother's request actually because my dad wanted to wait until I came to him and asked to learn. He didn't want me to feel pressured and my mom's theory was, "Why don't you go ahead and teach her and if she doesn't like it she can always stop, but you shouldn't waste the time." And so it worked out fine because I started at their idea but it wasn't something that I hated or anything, it was just that I did not feel that love for it yet. It was the way many kids play the piano just because it's what they do. As I went on doing it, after a couple of years it really became a part of my life and I grew to love it.

Paula: What are some of your goals as a performer?

Anoushka: I feel happy whenever I do a show and I feel I did something better than in the show before. Something technical, maybe I played something a bit faster, or I played one of the slower parts more beautifully, with more feeling - anything like that. If I play a show, even if it's good, if I don't feel I've progressed I'm not too satisfied. One of my favorite things about Indian music is the fact that it's got so much in it, that people can get really excited and feel the rhythm and speed but also be touched by the music.

Paula: What kinds of music do you listen to?

Anoushka: I listen to a lot of trance and drum and bass; a lot of western classical music too. I love Bob Marley, Rage Against the Machine, all kinds of things.

Paula: Do you see music as being something that you are going to continue with throughout your life?

Anoushka: Yes, I do. It's always hard to talk about the future, but I couldn't really imagine not doing it.

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