Roots and Wings

Roots and Wings


1. ONE 4.34
2. SHANTI, SHANTI, SHANTI 4.36
3. ROOTS AND WINGS (TRADITIONAL MIX) 4.31
4. THE STRUGGLE (SLAGVERKS MIX) 4.52
5.   LAMENT OF MCCRIMMON / SONG OF THE BANSHEE 6.39
6.   MECCA 4.42
7.   ROOTS AND WINGS (ORIGINAL MADRAS MIX) 6.27
8.   KONNOKOL AL DENTE .26
9.   ECSHER'S TRIANGLE 2.54
10.   THE STRUGGLE / THE DREAM* 7.17
11.   SHANTI, SHANTI, SHANTI 2.05

*With the Ganges Orchestra
     


'ROOTS AND WINGS very obviously contains the seeds of the distinctive a cappella/solo voice style that dominates WEAVING MY ANCESTORS' VOICES and THE ZEN KISS. Tracks such as Mecca, Lament of McCrimmon/Song of the Banshee and Roots and Wings (Traditional mix) built my confidence in the ability of a single vocal line to capture the listener, whilst such pieces as One were already juxtaposing vocal styles from various musical cultures vertically (that is to say, on different tracks on the multi-track). This album set the stage for me to take the small, but significant step of finding gateways between vocal cultures within the context of a single melodic line.

ROOTS AND WINGS was written and recorded in two and a half months after a four and a half year sabbatical which I began when I was twenty. During the sabbatical, I had, for the first time, a space in which I could start to question and systematically undo some of the expectations, thought patterns and reflections that had been coming at me from the media and my family since I had entered the world of professional work at the age of thirteen. I wanted to make sure that every thought I had or every truth I knew was truly my own.

I started to think very seriously about what constitutes an artist, not only in terms of skill and imagination, but also in terms of mastery of the self and mental independence. I started then to think consciously about the nature of creativity itself and about from where it originates.

Also, in those four and a half years, I finally found the time to do some research. My writing partner, Steve Coe, had already constructed the distinctive multi-layered drones used on this album for his own relaxation. I found that the number of harmonics in them made them irresistible mediums over which to sing.

Drones are magical things in terms of what they will allow me to do structurally (use any fixed note scale and a drone will both anchor and accentuate it), psychologically (instant atmosphere – the singer feels supported) and creatively (I 'hear' melodies in the harmonics of a drone).

I found time to explore, for a while, all the various vocal styles I loved and discovered new ones such as British Folk and Arabic ornamentation. Ironically, it was not only the inevitable leaps of technique which made Steve Coe and myself write the five solo voice tracks for ROOTS AND WINGS that led the way forward, but also the necessity of keeping within the budget for the album! I remember grumbling about it. Happily, however, we invented something special out of this limitation.

Sheila Chandra 1995