Sheila Chandra and the Ganges Orchestra


4th February 2013 finally sees the release of many of the distinctive backing drones that Sheila Chandra used on her pioneering solo voice and drone albums for Real World Records. The “Pure Drones” trilogy consists of 21 pure seven minute drones  (7 on each album). These gorgeous richly harmonic tracks, available initially as downloads only, are perfect for relaxation (yoga, meditation etc)....and of course as inspiration for vocalists. Deeply relaxing, enchanting, immersive soundscapes, “Pure Drones” are magical things. Listen attentively and you’ll hear all sorts of harmonics and strands of melodies within them.

During Sheila Chandra’s sabbatical which ended in 1989 with ‘Roots and Wings’ (Sheila’s 5th solo album for Indipop Records after leaving Monsoon), Steve Coe had begun to formulate many of these single or multi- layered “Pure Drones” as background music for his relaxation time. Sheila found their mood and harmonics irresistible to sing over, and they became the basis of inspiration for many of her most well-loved tracks.  Subsequently she developed further their musical and creative possibilities on her 4 albums for Peter Gabriel’s Real World label during the 1990’s.

Each ‘Pure Drone’ is created from acoustic sources e.g. various tambouras, harmonium, santoor, piano, constant held voices, surmandel, etc. At root, drones have been part of the World’s cultural and spiritual heritage for over 3,000 years – their uses, associations, and connotations, are both ancient and profound.

None of the three “Pure Drones” albums contain any melodic lead vocals by Sheila Chandra (or indeed any instrumental melodies from Steve Coe’s Ganges Orchestra). Fully exposed now for the first time on these 3 albums all 21 tracks are literally ‘purely’ drones, and their harmonic, resonant, inspiring beauty shines out.

The “Pure Drones” albums can be used as backing tracks to improvise over, write and create new songs. As Sheila says, “Drones empower singers, providing both support and counterpoint to their vocals.”

The main audience for Sheila’s 13 albums is in the USA. She has a big following in the ever-expanding New Age market. 5 of her albums have been Top 10 in Billboard’s World Music charts. But she is no longer able to record. In a recent press release for Real World she stated that "Singing is out of the question".In 2010 Sheila Chandra developed “Burnt Mouth Syndrome” (for which there is no known cause or cure) and now experiences long-lasting neurological pain triggered by speaking and singing. She is effectively mute, and communicates in person largely through handwritten notes and very basic sign language.

Allow yourself to float downstream and soak up these sensual spiritual sounds. Complex and inspirational, they’ll carry you along. Immerse yourself and enter the world of “Pure Drones”.

Feb 28, 2010
Sheila Chandra has been a successful singer and songwriter for 28 years with 10 albums to her credit. As someone who has always managed herself, run her own music publishing and production companies and overseen all the various aspects of her career without an assistant, and with heavy workload and a constantly changing schedule, Sheila suffered serious clutter problems firsthand, and she became faced with the challenges of trying to function effectively in a disorganized environment. Because her livelihood depended on it she developed the simplest and quickest system possible for dealing with her own disordered ways. Subsequently she has helped many others by passing on her system. She even has a fool-proof system for dealing with the modern curse of email. She's set out her secret blueprint for living in a clutter free home and office effortlessly in this book, and believes anyone can use it to live clutter free, no matter how bad their clutter problems are.