WEAVING MY
ANCESTORS' VOICES

 

 

 

 

   


 

I do have drone tapes that come up, but many of the pieces are completely unaccompanied and the drone tapes are fluid enough for me to be able to improvise and do pretty much whatever I want. So "Dhyana and Donalogue" is a nutshell because it crosses between a thousand year old Irish, traditional Irish song into Islamic vocal and back again without taking a breath. The challenge of going on stage, was really to produce the fusion in a single, vocal line, otherwise it wouldn't have worked.

John:

Well, let's hear how it worked out here, the song is called "Dhyana and Donalogue".

Sheila:

That's right.

John:

And it is from the most recent of Sheila Chandra's compact discs. This one called "Weaving My Ancestors' Voices", on this edition of New Sounds.

THE SONG IS PLAYED

That's a song called "Dhyana and Donalogue" and it's by Sheila Chandra, who's my guest here in the studio, on this edition of New Sounds, from the CD, "Weaving My Ancestors' Voices". You mentioned, it's kind of a fusion of Irish traditional singing and Muslim vocal embellishments and ornamentation and things like that. Are you Indian or Pakistani or - your family? I mean, obviously, you're born in England, right?

Sheila:

Yeah, my family is South Indian.

John:

South Indian.

Sheila:

But, unlike some Indian's who identify particularly with their specific region, I tend to see all of India as - started out as seeing all of India as the heritage that I took from musically and was very drawn to North Indian vocal, particularly the female vocalists, from North India initially. But, as you can hear on "Weaving", the things which I now feel are my heritage, have sort of, made me feel more like a world citizen, because of this cross over. I think I can no longer draw the line between the British Folk Tradition and the Indian Folk Tradition or the Islamic Tradition and American Soul. So, because things just get so similar and because my voice slips so easily between one another ...

John:

I guess, growing up, sort of, by-cultural that way, it becomes natural to slip from one into the other or to somehow create something that's both or neither.