World Music Exploration - Anoushka Shankar

After a whirlwind Easter Break, my students and I return to lessons this week (the final leg before June). This month, I am whisking them away - musically - to India.

The sitar weaves an exotic melody against the backdrop of the tabla. Our featured artist, Anoushka Shankar, is considered a leading figure in World Music today. Her early music training was in Indian classical music, under the tutelage of her father Ravi Shankar.  Shankar is a composer as well, exploring crossover music, e.g. Indian music and flamenco or electronica. A Grammy nominee, she was the first Indian woman to perform at the Grammy Awards (2006). Anoushka Shankar is also the first female (and the youngest) to receive a House of Commons Shield from the British House of Parliament (1999).

Check out more of Anoushka Shankar's music here:

(c) 2012 by Musespeak(TM), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Pia no Jac Eat a Classic Album Review

→Pia-no-jaC← from Osaka, Japan, present a driving fusion of jazz, rock and J-pop on this This piano-cajón duo's sophomore album.
→Pia-no-jaC← was founded in 2005 by pianist Hayato Tatsunari and percussionist Tadahiro “Hiro” Moritomi. →Pia-no-jaC← is a combination of Hayato and Hiro's instruments: “piano” and “cajón”.


The duo performs over 150 concerts a year. They have toured in France, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Tickets for →Pia-no-jaC←'s “Back in the Japan Tour” in 2010 sold out within five minutes. The duo is currently on tour throughout Japan (“First Light Tour 2012”).


This jazz group's music is a fusion that incorporates J-pop, Jazz, Rock and Classical. Hayato and Hiro describe their music as “hybrid instrumental” and they seek to entertain audiences with their technical ability, showmanship and humour shine through.


→Pia-no-jaC← has worked with several heavy hitters in the Japanese entertainment industry, including commercial creator, Michihiko Yanai, composer/director Joe Hisaishi, ARASHI and SQUARE ENIX. The duo has released nine albums to date.


Eat a Classic Highlights


Eat a Classic injects a fresh twist to well-known classical pieces, including Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and Ludwig van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy".


“The Swan Lake” (Track 3) is a slow sultry jazz number. There is a wide dynamic range to this piece, soft and melancholy for the main theme and impassioned for the riffs. Some very bluesy riffs break out on piano between statements of the main theme. The percussion varies slightly in between the statements of the main theme. The balance between the two instruments is superb.


“Habanera” (Track 5) pays homage not only to Georges Bizet but Dave Brubeck. The syncopated driving rhythm steadily builds up to the main theme, which is filled with octaves and fifths, as well as twisting and turning triplets. The middle section is calmer, Coquettish. When the A section returns, it's more intense, with the percussion pushing the piece to a climax.


“Ode to Joy” (Track 6) starts dark and stormy in a minor key before the main theme is introduced. This number displays a wide range of dynamics, moods and rhythms. Like the rest of the CD, it is technically challenging and musically exciting.


Eat a Classic is an upbeat album that shows that displays a fun side to classical music. The album is a classic (pun intended) example of Pia no Jac's “hybrid instrumental” style.


Eat a Classic Track Listing


1. Fugue in G minor (BWV 578) – J.S. Bach
2. Trepak from The Nutcracker - P.I. Tchaikovsky) and Can-Can from Orpheus in the Underworld - J. Offenbach
3. The Swan Lake, Op. 20 (Act 2) – P.I. Tchaikovsky
4. Prelude from Act 1 of Carmen – G. Bizet
5. Habanera from Carmen – G. Bizet
6. Symphony no. 9, Op. 125 (4th movement: "Ode to Joy") – L. van Beethoven


Label: BounDEE, 2009
Catalog Number: B001MT1JWQ

Check out Eat a Classic or some of Pia no Jac's music by clicking on the CD icon below:

Eat A Classic / Pia-no-jaC

(c) 2012 by Rhona-Mae Arca, Musespeak(TM). All rights reserved.