VARIOS INTERPRETES THE PRAYER CYCLE It is with primitive urgency and lustrous clarity rising like flickering embers from a fire that Jonathan Elias's ambitious Prayer Cycle is given voice. Woven together like knotty wool, silk, and fine strands of silvery water, the disparate yet complementary voices of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Alanis Morissette, Yungchen Lhamo, Ofra Haza, the American Boychoir, Salif Keita, and others intertwine in multiple languages with the superb English Chamber Orchestra and Chorus. Prayers of supplication, gratitude, and longing build in layers, one on top of and 'twixt and 'tween the other, as movements titled "Mercy," "Grace," "Innocence," "Compassion," and the like. Remarkably, Elias's Prayer Cycle eloquently captures the ecstasy, pain, grief, and sublime beauty of humanity--as he simply and poignantly writes in his liner notes, "The world we live in is both joyous and cruel." --Paige La Grone
Manufacturer: Spirit Voyage Music
Brand: Spirit Voyage Music
Of the album, Snatam says, """"This timeless, sacred energy comes to us by Grace. It is not about you or me, it is about Grace. And so, with this album called Grace, I honor and give thanks to my Guru, the Divine Sound Current that resonates within.
Sony Wonder Collections ~ Planet Sleeps Everything about this CD, from its eye-popping cool packaging to its beautiful booklet, is wonderful, perhaps peerless. It's a study that spans 16 countries, catching paeans to childhood sleep from varied traditions. The set traverses the Cape Breton Gaelic tradition with the Rankin Family, Haiti with pop stars Boukman Eksperyans, and the African continent with music from Tonga, Algeria, and Cameroon. Despite their distances from each other, at times the songs sound quite alike. Voices might begin alone but then gather into choral size, with a reliance on wordless passages to emphasize the flow of time as sleep encroaches. In execution, the surprises are many. Algerian Houria AÃ¯chi sounds East Indian; the Traditional Japanese Music Ensemble of New York sounds poised somewhere between a stately concert of historical court music and a touching homage to childhood; and German singer Michelle sounds pop-music ready even as she toes the line on singing a sleep-triggering song. Beyond being a great collection of international music, this is probably the most interesting mix available of cultural voices approaching the issue of children sleeping. --Andrew Bartlett
There are prodigies and there is progeny. Anoushka Shankar is both. As the daughter of sitar legend Ravi Shankar, she's got bloodlines and a teacher who is one of the greatest to ever play sitar. While Anoushka has pretty good classical chops (not the best, but pretty good), Rise shows her versatility and growth as a composer, arranger, and producer. The nine-song album features her sitar along with a variety of traditional Indian and modern Western instruments. She orders the ragas logically, starting with morning and working toward the final one at the end of the night, each one capturing the mood of its particular time of day. For example, mellow opener "Prayer in Passing" would be the initial waking moments, while the mood soon gets more upbeat on "Red Sun" before the midday heat sets in for the middle tracks and brings down the tempo. Traditionalists will call it pop, but there is nothing light or disposable about Rise. --Tad Hendrickson
Mantram is Ravi Shankar's effort to set Sanskrit chants from ancient Hindu scriptures to music, and the result is a captivating mix of chant and music. Produced by George Harrison, this collection of mantras and prayers from the Vedas, Upanishads, and other scriptures powerfully transports the listener to a place of peace where it's possible to be one with the universe. It's as if a heavy, enveloping cloak of serenity falls from the dark, floating sounds of cello opening the CD. Shankar employs flute, tamboura, harp, and other instruments to accent the mighty "Om" thread that weaves itself through the cloth of this album, bringing together deep, ominous voices with delicate, earthly instruments. One looking for extensive Shankar sitar might be disappointed, but the beauty of this artist's creativity and spiritual vision sweeps one away into a larger, more meaningful listening experience. Highly recommended. --Karen Karleski
This is a new reissue of the legendary 1971 benefit concert organized by George Harrison. Features performances from George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Ravi Shankar, Leon Russell, and Billy Preston. Includes a new bonus track 'Love Minus Zero/No Limit' by Bob Dylan. CD has been digitally remastered. Capitol. 2005. Ravi Shankar planted the seed, but it was George Harrison who turned this historic benefit concert into reality. The publicity-shy former Beatle could've easily written a check and forgotten all about the matter--impoverished East Pakistani refugees stranded in India--but instead recruited some of his most talented and compassionate friends and created an event remembered as much for the quality of its music as the purity of its intent. (The two-part engagement itself raised $250,000.) The players include Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, and Bob Dylan, while the backing band includes Jim Keltner, Klaus Voormann, and the up-and-coming Apple band Badfinger (Phil Spector and Harrison produced). The concert took place on August 1, 1971 at Madison Square Garden and was released as a triple-album boxed set that December and a feature film in 1972. That year, it won the Grammy for best album. The program begins with Shankar and his trio ("Bangla Dhun") and ends with a song Harrison wrote for the occasion ("Bangla Desh"). Highlights include Billy Preston's rousing "That's the Way God Planned It" and Dylan's heartfelt five-song set, starting with "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." The remaster adds an additional Dylan track, "Love Minus Zero/No Limit," from the afternoon show. Although the cover art has been changed to a picture of Harrison, the original iconic image of a sad-eyed child remains prominent in the CD and DVD packaging. As with previous versions of The Concert for Bangladesh, all artist royalties go to UNICEF or, as Harrison notes in his band introduction, "Nobody's gettin' paid for anything." --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Krishna Das' music is an expression of over twenty-five years of living and traveling in India. Pilgrim Heart is true to the dignified Bhatki Yoga tradition, but warmly energized with western grooves, providing an Indian chant that is eminently accessible to any ear. Sting is featured on two of the twelve tracks on Pilgrim Heart, including the truly one-of-a-kind, American 50's, pop influenced "Ring Song." With drums, sitar, guitars, vocals and synthesizer, the music on Krishna Das's Pilgrim Heart evokes the diverse spiritual life of the people, land and culture of India. All of the songs on Pilgrim Heart have elaborate arrangements which create an extraordinary blend of East and West.- Sting is featured on two of the tracks of Krishna Das's wonderful Pilgrim Heart. Pilgrin Heart is true to Krishna Das's Eastern musical roots and devotion to spirit.