6.   YOU 4.23
7.   LAMENT 6.21


'I don't think I would name this album 'The Struggle' now, but, at the time, the title did reflect what was happening to me. Of the four albums I made in an intensive 1983-1985 recording phase for Indipop, I think that 'The Struggle' suffered most from financial and time limitations, as well as from our general stress levels! Nevertheless, the album is an adventurous mixture of instruments and musical forms. Of all my Indipop recordings, this album received the most attention from college radio in America.

In the early eighties, there were very few musicians who were experimenting with Asian fusion and, to my knowledge, no other musicians exploring it exclusively except for myself. The term 'world music' had not been invented (I was filed under 'rock and pop' in record shops) and the overwhelming majority of Indian albums being made in the UK (the territory that leads the way in Asian fusion) were traditional, whether classical or folk. I have never made albums exclusively for the Asian community in Britain, nor for consumption in India.

In contrast, the quality that sums up my approach during that early eighties phase is (a quite characteristically British) eccentricity. For instance, I wanted to know what a blues guitar would sound like with a sacred chant, so I took a leap of faith and wrote 'Om Shanti Om'. In hindsight, I'm pleased that a chant for peace is present on this album to balance the prominent drums and lyrical angst on most of the other tracks. Some of the experiments on this album have dated more easily than others, but the spirit of adventure and learning is still very apparent. I was learning on all levels. I was nineteen, and having come from a very un-musician like upbringing, the purpose of making my Indipop recordings was to imbibe as much as I could, as fast as I could. The eight track studio set up that Indipop Records provided for these first four albums was the perfect place to understand the principles behind the technical aspects of recording. As writers, Steve Coe, Martin Smith and I were bringing to the project the insights each of us gathers from the standpoint of our chosen instruments. In the limited time I was spending in the public eye (promotion for these early solo albums was minimal so that I could concentrate on recording and exploring at a prolific rate), I was learning more about how I was being perceived, the categories that the media felt comfortable putting a second generation Asian into (there were, and still are a lot of Asian/female stereotyped expectations pushed at me) and, to some degree, more about the conservative nature of my own community.

The themes of 'The Struggle' reflect a period in my life of grappling with the perceptions of what I was supposed to be as defined by the media and public. In this respect, it is the only album of mine that looks so strongly outward. This, coupled with the exploration of the mechanics of being a musician on various levels, is what gives 'The Struggle' is distinctive flavour.'

Sheila Chandra - 1995