"Everything is closer than you think."
spiral_mind | Pennsylvania | 03/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rhythm, earthy and deep.. vocals, soaring in wordless praise.. a musical approach that blends different traditions into a beautifully seamless whole. I'm a complete neophyte when it comes to the various musical traditions of Indian culture, so I'm sure I don't even understand the extent of what DJ Sabbah has done here. I just know that Shri Durga is as accessible as it is faithfully traditional, and as hypnotic as it is organic. As you've probably read by now, it's something of a blend of classical ragas, performed by a cast of Hindu and Muslim musicians, with an element of modern techno.. but very light on the techno. If you want a helping of raga and tala suitable for the club dance floor, try Maha Maya (Cheb's mix-oriented followup to this) or anything by Talvin Singh or Tabla Beat Science. This disc is for relaxing, for sleeping, for meditating or just quietly chilling out. The element of electronica is not always even noticeable - "Kese Kese"'s slight touch of mixology could just as easily be mistaken for handclaps in the background. "Maheshvara Yogi" is ten minutes of hypnotic meditation, its vocal chants easily gliding through space with all the time in the world to spare, without any techno accompaniment at all. Then, right away, "Ganga Dev" and "Radhe Krishna" provide some of the most propulsive beats on the disc (though still not overriding the primal earthy rhythm that forms the basis of all the music in the first place). The entire offering is a marvelous buffet of reverent chants in the classic tradition, while the techno element is never more than a subtle seasoning. Cheb's mixing contribution isn't limited to the subdued beats either: he samples Muslim prayers, "mantric ambiances" from India, and various public chants and rituals to join with his own compositions.Looking for an exotic/calming listening experience? You can't go wrong with either of DJ Cheb i Sabbah's 'regular' albums. Between this and Krishna Lila, I can't even pick a favorite. Want to get up and shake something? Then pick Maha Maya to start. They're all full of beauty well worth hearing, and as foreign as this whole style may sound, there's something immediate about it that makes it accessible to anyone with open ears. Everything is closer than you think."
Uplifting devotional songs
Pieter | Johannesburg | 06/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These beautiful ragas each represent a particular lila or divine pastime. The instruments include the sitar, sarangi, sarod, tabla, bass drums, tanbura and bendir, whilst some of the vocalists are Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Mala Ganguly, Ustad Sultan Khan, Shafqat Ali Khan and Scheherezade Stone.
The impressive selection of samples encompasses mantras, prayers, invocations and mantric ambiences from the Kumbh Mela festival. The seven tracks are respectively based on the following: Raag Durga, Raag Mishra Darbari, Raag Vishra Vardhini Raag Jog, Raag Bhairavi, Raag Kirvani and Raag Durga. Tracks 1, 3 and 4 are the longest, with plenty of structural development; number three, Gazelle Memories, has a beautiful segment of Arabic chanting.
Track 4, Waiting For Parvati, is mostly slow and mournful with a male vocal. The next one, River Of Mercury, starts out in a dreamy ambience with nature sounds before the uptempo rhythms kick in and also contains a stirring female vocal. With its solid beat and lovely male and female vocals, track 6 Divine Pastime has impressive samples and tempo variations. The final track, Yoga Of Sound, is slow and subdued with recitals and mantric chants.
There is also a dance mix of Shri Durga, but this album is strictly traditional music. It is deeply devotional and moving throughout. I recommend this uplifting album to all who are interested in World Music, especially the sounds of the Indian subcontinent.