SHANTI, SHANTI 4.36
AND WINGS (TRADITIONAL MIX)
/ SONG OF THE
AND WINGS (ORIGINAL MADRAS MIX)
AL DENTE .26
STRUGGLE / THE DREAM*
SHANTI, SHANTI 2.05
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
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