The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Maestro tribute to Norah’s mentor

New Delhi, Jan. 10: She never used the name her father gave her — Geetu — preferring to call herself Norah instead. Neither did she seek the benign shadow of her father’s surname.

But Norah Jones, whom the world happily recognises as Pandit Ravi Shankar’s “other” daughter, has done her father proud by winning five Grammy nominations this year. The 82-year-old Bharat Ratna, on his part, is “overwhelmed with joy, and very, very happy”.

“We knew Norah’s debut album— Come Away With Me — was doing great in the US and we were sure she would win some award or the other, but five Grammy nominations was a wonderful surprise,” he said. The news reached the Ravi Shankar Centre late on Tuesday night. The maestro and his wife Sukanya immediately called to congratulate Norah at her Texas home.

But while media releases were quickly being drafted came the second good news. Anoushka’s agent called up to inform that she, too, had been nominated in the World Music category this year. “Our jaws dropped... this was totally unexpected,” the maestro recalled, the excitement still lingering in his voice. Anoushka has been nominated for her solo composition in the album, Live at Carnegie Hall, which brought the third Grammy to her father last year.

While Anoushka’s nomination is in a category tailor-made for her brand of music, Norah seems to have a tougher challenge in having to beat some of the legendary American musicians in their own genre.

But the maestro refrains from comparing the potential of his two daughters. “Both of them are extremely talented, it is just that their musical expressions are very different.” He goes on to add: “I have never had the chance to influence Norah musically, whatever she has done it’s because of the environment she was brought up in and her mother.”

As his biography says, Norah was the love-child of the maestro and Sue Jones. Though the relationship ended on a bitter note with Norah growing up away from him, today he speaks reverentially of her mother.

“She is also very musical and extremely fond of good jazz, blues and country music, something which Norah inherited.”

Contrary to popular imagination, Anoushka, on her part, has welcomed Norah’s presence in her life quite sportingly. “We get along very well, and are always in touch on the email or on the phone,” she says. In fact, when the news reached her, Norah called up Anoushka, who was in Brazil, and the two of them were heard “shrieking with joy” and chatting for a long time.

Even as the rest of the world never tires of pointing out how the “Shankar” genes have spoken up in Norah, the man himself prefers to call it her “natural flair”. Anoushka, on the other hand, “is very exuberant, her creative energies find expression in many mediums. Even if she does not ultimately play the sitar, I’d have nothing to say. But if she comes back to it, she would always have my grooming to fall back on,” said the maestro.

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