Get caught in Susheela Raman's Love Trap - Susheela Raman's Love Trap

2006-03-29 18:20

To rhapsodise the light fantastic over Susheela Raman's Love Trap as a melting pot of "world music" flavours would be to ignore the authentic and sophisticated mix of Indian, Western and indeed global flavours. But this is no mere marketing exercise designed to make "exotic" sounds accessible to a Western listener by watering down the material with radio-play ready pop arrangements.

The opening jazzy tribal swing of "Love Trap" takes Mahmoud Ahmed's traditional Ethiopian song echoing into seductive trip-pop Portishead territory. When she croons "Bewitch me, beguile me/And lead me astray" the languorous desire aches in its simplicity. In contrast, Raman's heartfelt renditions of songs from the Carnatic repertoire composed in Sanskrit and Telugu by singer-saints Tyagaraja and Dikshitar are simply dazzling in their sophistication. The salsa flavoured "tropicalisimo" lilt of "Sarasa" is adorned with lustrous guitars and delicate vocal harmonies while the elegiac piano and acoustic guitar hued slow groove of "Bliss" reaching a passionate percussive climax.

Blessed with a voice every bit as bewitching as Bebel Gilberto, Raman's effortless marriage of both authentic Indian vocal styles ("Sakhi Miro" is a traditional Hindustani song originally sung by the 16th century female mystic Meera) and Western instrumental settings results in an exhilarating many hued listen. Guest cameos from Nigerian drumming legend Tony Allen, tabla master Aref Durvesh, percussionist Djanuno Dabo and Flamenco pianist David Dorantes all add their own versatile energy into the mix.

Deep throat incantations ("Amba") shift into the fragile folk of Joan Armatrading's "Save Me" and the playful cinematic jazz jam "Half Shiva Half Shakti" providing the perfect counterfoil for the haunting "Dhamavati", the slow swing "Ye Meera" and the hymn like elegy "Blue Lily Red Lotus".

Much more than just a radio-friendly way of reselling some exotic yet traditional musical fad to western audiences for filthy lucre.

Goda 2003/08/26 3:25 PM
damaged by cliche Susheela's music itself isn't cliched or tired. It's beautiful. But years of hearing music with stylistic simularities used as a backdrop in movies or otherwise simplified has meant that I cringe a little anyhow! Pity. herbert - bodily functions
Donovan 2003/09/12 1:55 PM
house music i love music bump 12
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