News & Reviews
7. Susheela Raman Salt Rain (Album - Narada World)
Critics could be forgiven for seeing this Mercury nominee as simply another token representative of the Asian population. After all, weve had Talvin Singh and Asian Dub Foundation in the past two years.
But, lets hope their reasons are more honourable than that. Certainly listening to the album makes you realise this is up there with best of the other eleven nominations.
Three years in the making, Salt Rain is an accomplished and moving celebration of the cultural fusions of European and Asian Culture through music. English born Susheela got her first taste of notoriety through Asian dance band Joi although she has been a singing scholar from an early age and it shows.
Her soft and entrancing vocal flits amazingly between European, Joni Mitchell style folk to the dextrous wavering of traditional Indian vocalising covering plaintive love songs and more up-tempo, light-hearted tracks such as The Jungle Books Trust In Me (a unusual but successful choice).
In fact the majority of this album consists of cover versions. Susheela and producer/guitarist Sam Mills courageously rework traditional Carnatic compositions (South Indian classical music) by introducing rhythm sections, guitar, cello and new tabla scores (Ganapati, Mahimada), as well as tackling more modern tracks such as Song To The Siren, written by Tim Buckley but more famously known for This Mortal Coils haunting rework.
Salt Rain is a powerfully erotic collection of songs and another important milestone towards the acceptance and enjoyment of traditional Asian music in our own very western music culture.


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