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OpinionsAnoushka Sankar’s struggles have made her a better Artist

Anoushka Sankar’s struggles have made her a better Artist

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By Arun Kumar Shrivastav

Recently, Anoushka Shankar took to social media to share her personal struggles – her moments of vulnerability during her music performances and emphasized the necessity to persevere. She began by recounting her recent performance at the Edinburgh Festival.

“It's been a week since I played the closing night of the Edinburgh International Festival, but I haven't felt like posting my usual elated after-show thank you (even though I was so excited to play there) and have been wondering whether to share why,” Shankar wrote.

She acknowledged that her reputation for vulnerability primarily revolved around topics such as trauma, recovery, motherhood, and other aspects of her life, rather than her music. Shankar revealed how deeply ingrained her upbringing was in the of music, performance, and the mantra of “the show have made her a better artist must go on.”

She shared family legends, such as her father taking the stage immediately after learning of his brother's passing and channelling his pain into his music rather than cancelling the show. In her youth, she was sometimes sent to perform in her father's place when he was in the hospital, instead of being encouraged to stay by his side.

“I never shared what it was like sitting nightly in our classical cross-legged position with a torn hip ligament or performing in front of thousands of people while newly sober, having just hit rock bottom and feeling like I had no skin,” she continued. Shankar also mentioned going on stage the night she learned her marriage was ending.

As she witnessed others starting to open up about the challenges of touring in recent years, she regretted not allowing people to glimpse further into her own struggles. She decided to share her experiences, hoping that it might help someone else. Playing in Edinburgh proved to be extremely difficult for her due to debilitating migraines. On the day of the performance, she experienced severe vomiting and excruciating pain, hiding in a dark room, desperately avoiding the bright lights and loud sounds. Despite her condition, she pushed herself to go on stage.

Shankar expressed her fear of how she would be judged for her performance at such an important show while being severely ill. She emphasized that live music only offers one chance, even after hundreds of shows, to capture a unique moment in time with the audience.

This ordeal filled her with “self-pity and also compassion” for others in her profession who couldn't call in sick on days like that. She acknowledged the impossibility of sending a full auditorium home just minutes before a show. Unless facing a serious injury or a complete breakdown, canceling is rarely justifiable, so they simply have to soldier on.

She recognized the tremendous difficulty of this reality at times and described those who do it as warriors in a unique and often unseen way. Over time, Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones, both incredibly talented musicians in their own right, carved out their own identities within the music industry. Norah, a nine-time Grammy award winner, and Anoushka, a nine times nominee for the prestigious award, rose to prominence.

For a significant period, Norah's relationship with her renowned father, who is not married to her mother, was not particularly warm. Her parents separated when she was very young, and they remained distant from each other for many years. It wasn't until Norah turned 18 that she reached out to her father. While they managed to reconnect, their relationship took a more solid turn much later.

Discussing this journey with Vogue during the pandemic, the typically private Norah Jones acknowledged that all families have their complexities, and theirs was no exception.

“All families have their complicated corners. It was challenging when we, Shankar and Jones, reunited when I was 18. It took us all some time to establish a sense of comfort with each other. The success of my first record and the sudden public interest in our relationship added further complications… I was trying to share my story and be authentic to while also maintaining a sense of privacy about our unique family dynamics,” the celebrated musician shared with Vogue.

Expressing her gratitude for finally getting to know her father better, Jones added, “My father was a sweet, funny, and brilliant person. I'm thankful that we had the opportunity to mend our relationship and truly understand each other. As you grow older, it becomes easier to let go of certain things and see your parent as an ordinary, imperfect human being, free from any ill intentions,” Norah concluded.

For the playlist, try Anoushka Shankar and Arooj Aftab's Grammy performance this year: Ye aine mein chehra mera toh nahi, tum hi dikhayi diye har jagah kahin. And to go with it, let's try Norah Jones's “Come away with me in the night / Come away with me / And I will write you a song.” You may not ask for anything better to start your day on a rainy monsoon morning!

(IPA Service)

 

 

 

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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