Shortly after topping the English charts at age 16, London-born East Indian singer Sheila Chandra turned her back on the music industry and retreated to the studio, recording five prescient LPs on the independent Indipop label founded by Steve Coe, her husband. Freed of commercial constraints, Chandra tested and honed the expressive limits of her voice as a vocal and percussive instrument and drone medium, melding Indian traditions, Western pop styles and electronic elements to forge a groundbreaking Asian-fusion sound before the genre took its name. First released in limited edition in 1985, Nada Brahma ["Sound Is Divine"] was fourth in the Indipop series, recorded when the singer was 19. Musicians and collaborating songwriters Martin Smith and Coe (the album's producer) contribute a number of instruments including soprano sax, alto recorder, and Indian classical strings, reeds, wind instruments and percussion. The title track, an ethereal 27-minute synthetic sound experiment, blends vocals sans lyrics with a sublime mix of eastern and western registers, carving out an innovative global sensibility that unifies what remains today a definitive recording. - Michael Stone
Comment on this music or the web site.
Write a Letter to the Editor