Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Album Review: Divine Tides by Stewart Copeland + Ricky Kej
The collaboration of Stewart Copeland (legendary drummer of the British rock band The Police) and acclaimed Indian music composer Ricky Kej in their album Divine Tides, brings us a majestic experience of sounds that capture the essence of being. If one should write what one knows, then Copeland and Kej have played what they feel in the most excellent way.
The percussion takes center stage from the start with strong timpani in “Wonders of Life”, and fuels the eagerness for what might await ‘round the next musical note as Rasika Shekar’s vocals take over with classic Indian melodic form.
“Himalayas” is next and it renders an ethereal breadth with its chant beginning followed by Varijashree Venugopal’s vocals, which scale and crest with momentary scat reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald. The next two pieces, “Our Home” and “Art of Devotion”, also make use of timpani, sitar and Indian vocalization, and then “Pastoral India” with its uptempo invites us to dance.
“I Am Change” duplicates the melody of “Himalayas”, however the vocals are provided by Salim Merchant this time and his voice impresses as a call to action.
In the grand “A Prayer”, we are treated to the powerful blend of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Soweto Gospel Choir fittingly elevating the tone to the skies as the piece ends.
For “Gandhi”, the guitar, played by Santhosh Chandran, lends a melancholy edge and guides the listener through the various vocals and other instruments with tender but surefooted control.
As the opus concludes with “Mother Earth”, the strings make the perfect companion to the various vocals which climax on a high note; proper indeed!
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