It takes a lot of conviction and courage to venture into something that is not native to your upbringing and may sound (for the purpose of practicality) foreign to you. There’s always a probability that people will judge you without trying to reach out to the level that you might be operating from (does not matter whether it is high or low). Yet, it is so blissful to just listen to your inner call and go with the flow, for there is always a chance that you might transcend the boundaries and land in a totally new experience of existence.
Marcie’s journey is something similar–though she has trained and worked as a musician for over two decades, releasing an album that deals with esoteric matters, foreign language chants, and requiring an empathetic understanding of the special instrumentation is a great act of self-belief. Putting your work in the hands of others to comment is not an easy job, but there’s joy in this challenge if you feel deeply for it.
What’s more beautiful is the fact that when your intentions are pure, there’s a strong possibility of meeting like-minded people who will help you along the path. The universe conspires, as they say, to make it happen for you! This is what you will notice in this album–musicians from various genres have added their magic to the songs.
Album Name: Purelands–Into the Light
Artist Name: Marcie Grambeau
Total Time: 53:21
The album has eight songs of varying length and all of them have one focus mantra or chant.
The very first song is the longest on the album. “Aad Guray Nameh” is the salutation to the Guru and sounds like a mantra popularized by the Kundalini Yoga community in the West. The song opens up with the beautiful sound of the dulcimer played by Noah Rouse Wilson and the rhythm provided by Joss Jaffe on Tabla. The bass is quite mesmerizing and has a very nice effect. Ben Leinbach, whom we also heard in Ananta Govinda’s newest album, Mystical Awakening brings a lot to this whole project. The guitar also adds a very meaningful touch to the song. In the second part of the song, it becomes more of a jazz style with a lot of harmonies and drums taking the load of providing the rhythm. A very nice opening to the album with a lot of experimentation!
A soft melody, “Ganesha (Michelle’s Song)”, follows and the deeper impact of the cello (played by Shannon Hayden), guitar, and tabla can be immediately felt. Dedicated to the deity Ganesha, it opens up the heart that is filled with joy. Has a very nice, pacey tempo to it, and makes it a good choice for a call-and-response like Kirtan song that is quite popular in the devotional music community across the world.
A totally Indian flavor of Tabla and Dilruba (a string instrument) lets you tune to “Shiva!”. The song is again a very soft and melodic rendering. Like the opening song, it also transfuses into the Western-style instrumentation and harmonized chorus which give you a very unique experience as a listener.
“Radhe Govinda (feat. Ben Leinbach)” feels like a European-flavored version of a bhajan as you hear a fast-beat rhythm with violin and the Spanish guitar, and sung by both Marcie and Ben. In the later part, the electric guitar effects make it really peppy. Definitely, will be popular with enthusiasts who like to listen to devotional music while doing yoga asanas.
“Lalita (feat. Samantha Keller)”, as clear from the name itself, is dedicated to the Lalita Devi–an aspect of the Goddess in the Indian scriptures. Vocals are supported with a soft rhythm on the guitar before the mandolin (played by Gawain Mathews) makes it a really interesting piece. Harmonized humming by Marcie and Samantha makes it quite angelic which again adds the Western flavor to the oriental chant.
With “Durga”, the whole flavor of the album changes to more intimate and deeper one. Like the Alaap of an Indian raga, it opens up slowly and takes the listeners on a sonic journey. Free of too much instruments for the first 3 minutes, it is supported by the electric guitar and harmonized vocals in the later part.
Like the whole project that fuses Eastern and Western music, “Narayani”, for a change, actually is the first song that has English lyrics. It also happens to be the smallest song on the album but I liked its pace and emotive power. It feels like Marcie owns it right from the beginning and she goes on to show her range and control as she modulates her voice for the English and Sanskrit words.
Can any devotional music be complete without the bamboo flute? Well, for me, it will not be. And enter Manose Singh. The adventurer, who has charmed the world with his masterful craft, brings “Hare Krishna (feat. Manose)” home with his beautiful rendition.
What I liked most in the album is the flavor–it has everything it seems. Listeners from around the world can enjoy the songs without feeling alienated–there is something for everyone when it comes to music, melody, style, and genres. I strongly felt a lot of sincere efforts that have been put in by the whole team, and no wonder that they have produced a gift for a sincere listener. Kudos!
|Aad Guray Nameh||08:28|
|Ganesha (Michelle’s Song)||07:12|
|Radhe Govinda (feat. Ben Leinbach)||06:05|
|Lalita (feat. Samantha Keller)||07:13|
|Hare Krishna (feat. Manose)||08:13|