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Worth falling into this... 

   
 

Love Trap!

   

 

  

 

The British-born Susheela Raman with the Medusa-like curls and smoky alto voice offers up strange musical pleasure - a hybrid hypnotic dream - for her music after all has its roots in devotional music.  The snake charmer voice is layered over jazz, pop, funk which is in turn layered over Carnatic music.  Her voice is always strong, and reflects her international influences.  Born in England, but of South Indian origin, she also lived in Australia and grew up singing Indian classical, later advancing her Carnatic music training in India - but there are also traces of Susana Baca, of Billie and Aretha. 

Salt Rain, her 2001 debut album, features modern versions of ancient Sanskrit, Hindi and Tamil devotional hymns; Carnatic music and hymns turned into something hypnotic and beautiful, her smoky voice that hovers somewhere between blues and soul.  Raman said of this album, "In addition to writing our own material, we discovered new and exciting ways to adapt the Carnatic songs I had sung when I was younger, particularly the work of the eighteenth century songmasters Tyagaraja and Dikshitar." 

But it is in Love Trap, that the hybridization is upped into something more upbeat.  World music is now worldly, and there is a world of difference in the two adjectives.  There is the Tuvan throat singing of Albert Kuvezin from the Mongolian band Yat Khat and a Joan Armatrading remake.  A modern band playing ancient harmonies, electronica and instruments that range from piano to kora - there is Greek clarinetist Manos Achalinotopoulos and Tony Allen, Fela Kuti's drummer.  The only unifying element is the worldly voice, the knowingness of the vocals, the classical control.

Love Trap, the title song is a remake and rewrite in English by Raman of a hit song by Ethiopia's Mahmoud Ahmed and it is a sultry, strange thing. 

Lost inside, deep within
The pleasure palace of your warm skin
The nectar of your lips
The motion of your hips
I dream of you, night and day 


There is the marvelous vibrant beat of Manasuloni, the beautiful Bliss with its flamenco piano, and the remake of Bollywood classic Ye Meera Divanapan Hai which also appears on the soundtrack to the film, The Namesake.

We had Bliss with its piano by flamenco musician David Dorantes on repeat for days, hypnotized. 

 

Listen:  Love Trap, Susheela Raman 

 

Tags:  india

 

 

       
 

 
       
     

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