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Mala by Dave Stringer CD

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  • Model: ACD-036
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Mala by Dave Stringer

Mala is a call and response kirtan CD with jazz, gypsy and country influences all evident. Dave Stringer’s ingenious and unorthodox arrangements are sweeping and cinematic in scope, integrating the Indian instruments of the traditional Hindustani kirtan style with exquisite vocal harmonies and accents of lap steel, banjo, trumpet and violin.

With songs like the quietly driving ‘Bhagavati’ and the bouncy ‘Govinda Jaya Jaya’, Mala contains music that can be used both as an accompaniment to yoga and as music to listen to simply for the pleasure of it. Kirtan is a participatory form of music, so singing along with the CD can be a particularly rewarding experience (the Sanskrit lyrics are helpfully provided in the packaging).

Incorporating traditional Indian music into a Western pop sensibility has been in vogue since George Harrison's use of the sitar on mid-1960s Beatles albums, but Dave Stringer's approach to the mix is somewhat different. A devotee of kirtan chanting, Stringer keeps kirtan at the center of his music, augmenting and coloring the swells of chanting with touches of jazz, gospel, and rock.

A string quartet, brass, and sitar lend texture and unexpected flourishes, yet the primary combo of electric guitar, bass, and drums keeps MALA hard-hitting and down to earth. This instrumental backdrop drives the album on a tide of simmering, sometimes funky grooves, while a call-and-response chorus of chanting voices (including that of fellow contemporary electro-kirtan devotee Donna de Lory) makes MALA a celebratory, stirring, and, at times, ecstatic experience.

Personnel: Dave Stringer (vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, tamboura, accordion, melodica, harmonium); Steve Ross (vocals, acoustic guitar); Sudama Mark Kennedy (vocals, sitar); Carri Abrahms (vocals, accordion); Sheila Nicholls (vocals, piano); Joni Allen, Danny Peck, Allie Stringer, Greg Wendt, Jaik Grace, Donna De Lory, Sean O'Byrne, Shanti Shivani, Haribol Siddhadas, Patricia Sill, Mark Cooper Smith, Liz Burnette, Shakti Gray, Caleb Brennan, Nirlepa Howard, C.C. White (vocals); James Harrah (electric guitar, lap steel guitar); Girish Gambhira (dulcimer, tamboura, marimba, mradangam, shaker, tabla); Marty Alan (sitar); Candy Girard, Lili Haydn (violin); Cameron Stone (cello); Domonic Dean Breaux (flute, soprano saxophone); Ian Walker (acoustic bass, electric bass); Jay Bellerose (drums, djembe, shaker).

1.Govinda Jaya Jaya with Sheila Nicholls 7:38    
2.Bhagavati 7:12
3.Shivaya Namah Om 10:38    
4.Gaja Nana with Lili Haydn 5:27         
5.Saraswati Intro Mantras 0:57    
6.Saraswati Ma with Allie Stringer 7:03    
7.with Joni Allen 8:28
8.Universal Prayer 2:18    


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