Sheila Chandra

Sheila Chandra

The Indipop Retrospective

Narada World

England’s Asian Underground and America’s Asian Massive owe a lot to Sheila Chandra. Yes, the Beatles and Ravi Shankar, Miles and Mahavishnu first brought attention to South Asians in the Western ear, but in Britain, and later in the U.S., Sheila Chandra (and Bally Sagoo) created the space for these aforementioned artists to shine some 20 years later.

The second retrospective (following up 2000’s Moonsung) has excised all the ’80s sounding pop that the first one had. One can feel grateful — because, at least to these ears, the ’80s sure as hell can sound cheesy. Indipop Retrospective, instead, focuses on Chandra’s “drone and raga” songs from the past, as well as some previously unreleased material.

Chandra’s voice is indeed powerful. The music is somewhat meditative, with underpinnings of an inexplicable tension. The end result is beautiful and captivating. Where Moonsung sometimes had you scratching your head with its dated material, this compilation compels. It’s an exquisite collection paying tribute to one of the most deserving artists in world music today. Chandra is truly a marvel.

Nadara World:

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