Bombay Rickey - Cinefonia

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Bombay Rickey
Cowboys and Indian

You might note the band name and think the music will be resultantly Bollywood-leaning. Look closer at the CD back cover (using that absurd but handy eye for detail that global music lovers possess) and see in the label name lettering the visual pairing of the Old West with Asian Sub Continent denizens and not Native Americans. If you aren't yet spinning the disc, you now have some clue as to what Bombay Rickey will sound like on Cinefonia. But even that level of eyeful-before-earful prep work won't set you ready for Kamala Sankaram's astounding vocals, which leap operatically from surf to Sufi with stops in Asha Bosle and Yma Sumac territory. It's mainly via her range and vocal shape-shifting that the India connection is sewn.

Do save some space in your earful though, for Sankaram's own accordion playing, Drew Fleming's guitar and Jeff Hudgins' reeds and keys, that they may take you from Madras to Madrid to Memphis, from funky to fandango as deftly as Sankaram turns the corners vocally. Building and deepening of grooves is assisted by a guest bassist and trio of percussionists who ride a sonic gallery of Latin, Balkan, Middle and Far Eastern rhythms, each dancing forth from just beyond the saloon doors. This band reaches quite a distance for being only five players strong and could cut it for their playing alone, as the lengthy but engaging instrumental “Pilgrim” shows. What really sets them on their own ground is the combination of Sankaram's crazy cool pipes with expertly twisting musical accompaniment and an appreciable lack of camp in finding the place where the Wild West and the Mystic East meet. - Tom Orr

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