In this world of music fusion and crossovers we live in, it is hard for many artists to come up with a genuine meld of music that cohesively blends different sounds. On Breathing Under Water, Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale, both Indians raised in America, successfully overcome the barrier of creating sincere music fusion, taking listeners into a whole new realm of musical bliss. Both artists were involved in other musical endeavors before working together on this album. Kale was the founding member of the all-star super group Tabla Beat Science and later worked as a producer and composer of some of the finest global electronica of the past decade. Shankar, a 25-year-old star sitarist and composer, learned the art of music through her father, the legendary Ravi Shankar. The marked similarities in these two artists almost inevitably spelled that they would someday meet and collaborate on an album together.
The end result, Breathing Under Water, features a number of guest singers including Sting, Ravi Shankar and prolific Bollywood soundtrack composer Salim Merchant. The album's first track "Burn" begins with a lone sitar sound, which later is accompanied by a funky electronic rhythm. On the track "Sea Dreamers," Sting's melodic voice lulls listeners into a peaceful reverie with acoustic guitar and sitar playing side to side in the background. Anoushka's sister Norah Jones makes her vocal appearance on "Easy" and her haunting voice blends perfectly with the melodies of the sitar. An essential key to Breathing Under Water is that almost all the songs were written on acoustic guitar and sitar with an emphasis on traditional Indian music. Only later did Shankar and Kale allow other influences take them in different directions. They weren't playing fusion for the sake of playing fusion but rather because it grew from them organically. Any good kind of change must first have some basis in tradition and then later can take on some different form. Breathing Under Water represents the best kind of change that can be brought about through tasteful fusion and well crafted songwriting. Thankfully you won't have to hold your breath for long to enjoy this album.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Bombay Beatbox Presents The Chicago Record Release Event for Breathing Under Water
KARSH KALE (DJ ECECTRIK TABLA SET)
DJ Warp & Radiohiro
Live visual projections & manipulation by the Video Janitor
1444 W. Chicago Ave.
9PM-2AM / 21+ / $15
A Perfect Rain