1. LAMENT OF
McCRIMMON
/SONG OF THE BANSHEE 6.37
2. ONE 4.35
3. QUIET 3 4.47
4.   QUIET 9 2.29
5.   THIS 5.25
6.   MECCA 4.34
7.   NADA BRAHMA (EXCERPT) 4.12
8.   PREMA, SHANTI, DHARMA, SATYA 4.12
9.   MIEN 3.32
10.   OM SHANTI OM 6.21
11.   VILLAGE GIRL 4.09
12.   CRESCENT SILVER SCYTHE

 

 
 


Mixing sargham and bols, two styles of Indian vocalese, Chandra stacks her voice up in melismatic choirs and staccato interplay. The interwoven bols of Speaking in Tongues from WEAVING are augured by Quiet 4, while Quiet 3 and Quiet 9, heard on this collection, foreshadow the drones of Chandra’s ‘90’s music with her voice layered in a choir. Longtime producer Steve Coe uses tables, sitars, zithers, electronic keyboards and percussion for a lush ethno-ambient soundscape.

By now, Steve Coe had become more than a writing partner and the couple were married in 1985. That same year, they recorded NADA BRAHMA. It seemed like a revolutionary album at the time, a tour de force of Chandra’s new found vocal and artistic confidence. It’s also of a piece with QUIET: non-lyrical, textured vocal tone poems. NADA BRAHMA translates as “sound is divine”. In the Hindu religion it’s a sound that only disciples who have reached a high level of illumination can hear. Chandra takes us to that level on the suite-like title track, basing melodies on the Indian Raga Jog.

Chandra knew she was on the eve of a new sound and, though still in her teens, was aware enough to take a five-year sabbatical to find it. She emerged in 1990 with ROOTS AND WINGS, the title speaking to a second epiphany, the connection of her own cultural roots with cultures and music from around the world, but especially on the pathway from India, through the Middle East and up through Ireland. On ROOTS AND WINGS, Chandra began exploring drones, pulling melodies out of elongated textures forged by Coe from layered tambouras, sitars and bells. Chandra tunes in to these ambient expanses and weaves vocal melodies out of the aether. But in this case an aether that passed through the lungs of her musical ancestors. She takes the Scots air, Lament of McCrimmon/Song of the Banshee and turns it into and an Indian rag, making the multi-culti connections she’d later draw more deeply on WEAVING MY ANCESTORS’ VOICES.

ROOTS AND WINGS paved the way for the trilogy where Chandra perfected her vocal drone concepts and global connections. In a 1993 interview for the radio program, Echoes, she said:

“I was intending to highlight the spiritual ancestors that I’ve claimed rather than my actual ancestors. It might be a great soul and gospel singer or it might be an Andalusian singer or it might be an Indonesian singer, or it might be Gregorian chant or Bulgarian music. Any of the things which I think are very, very skilful and ornate but also heart-rending. Those are the things that I’ve listened to and just been compelled to try and sing”.