Local Wire

Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale

One thing you notice about Breathing Under Water is that Shankar was willing to go beyond the confines of classical Indian music (her previous discs contained material written by her father, legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar, who guests on the disc). Kale's sonic textures, which blend Western, Eastern, and electronic influences, are present on virtually every track without overpowering Anoushka's own sitar sound. One of the best moments on the disc is "Little Glass Folk," an instrumental number with an orchestral arrangement seemingly borrowed from Bach. Also listen to "Easy," a song Anoushka and Kale cowrote with Norah Jones (Anoushka's half sister), who adds her laid-back lead vocal to the tune's already-relaxed feel, and "Sea Dreamer," featuring the distinctive vocals of Sting. All the songs on the record are played as a suite, with no interruption between tracks (something commonly done on Kale's records), and listening to the CD in its entirety is a thoroughly worthwhile experience.
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Ernest Barteldes