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Kashi: Songs From the India Within

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 5, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

Upon his very first visit to India in 1977, the young Prem Joshua felt an immediate and profound connection. Deeply inspired by the venerable culture, the young German musician began infusing familiar forms of western music with the exotic flavors of India. Already an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, he mastered the sitar, and the rest is musical history. Dividing his time over the years between India and Europe, as well as his frequent touring and prolific recording work, releasing 19 albums over two decades, Prem Joshua has established himself with dedicated fans worldwide. He has achieved credibility and acclaim even within India's music establishment: a true accomplishment for a westerner.

With KASHI, Prem Joshua and collaborator Chintan Relenberg have crafted a sparkling suite of new songs around beloved, traditional Indian mantras and shlokas (a type of couplet verse, and the basis of such ancient Indian poetry as the The Mahabharata and Ramayana epics). Each original song offers a fresh take on devotional music that manages to be transcendent yet utterly, accessibly contemporary, enjoyable as well as enlightening.

From the atmospheric opener Balakrishna, a modern take on kirtan that evolves into a breezy, beat-laden excursion, the album traverses richly diverse terrain in both style and content. The vocal chemistry of singers Hamsika Iyer (known for her work with Bombay Dub Orchestra and Juno Reactor), Prem Joshua and Sanou Olszewski is framed with great subtlety with arrangements by Joshua (sitar, bamboo flute, saxophones) and Chintan (keyboards, bass, tabla, kanjira, pandeiro, udu, drum programming) with the able support of guitarist Werner Schultheiss and tabla player Raul Sengupta.

Tumhaari Mara marries sitar and Bollywood-evocative melody with sturdy reggae rhythms and deep bass, as its lyrics honor the revered 16th century Rajasthani royal poet-saint Meera. The joyfully lovely groove of All Roads Lead to Om, (as opposed to Rome) draws its prayer from the 3,000-year-old Brihadaranyaka Upanishads, considered the oldest of all Vedic texts. Yet the message remains as urgently relevant today as ever; as Joshua says, "In a world where fanaticism and ignorance seem to be taking hold ever more strongly, this prayer shines like a beacon, guiding our journey along the 'road to Om'".

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Product details

  • Audio CD (August 5, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: White Swan
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,909 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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