The Indipop Retrospective (Narada, 2003)
There’s no great hardship in reviewing a Sheila Chandra CD – it’s just a simple matter of slipping the CD in the player and allowing the waves of this miraculous voice to flow over you.
The latest from Ms Chandra is a compilation of previous recordings on Indipop Records on Narada World entitled The Indipop Retrospective. Anyone familiar with the British Indipop label will recognize her as one of its leaders. The compilation draws from such albums as Roots and Wings, Quiet and Out On My Own. Rich workings are the basis for this CD with multicultural influences from the Celtic, Indian raga and drone and pure pop.
In the opening track, “Lament of the McCrimmon/Song of the Banshee,” Ms Chandra’s voice, Enya-esque, drifts out of the mist with an unmistakable Indian flair. Soulful expressions lacing tracks “One” and “Om Shanti Om” surprise and can cause the tiny hairs to rise on the back of your neck they’re so good. It’s on tracks like “This” and “Prema, Shanti, Dharma, Satya” that Chandra’s voice flies and takes the listener along. “Village Girl” and “Crescent Silver Scythe” are the pure pop pieces of this collection, and though not my favorite, are very good. Also featured on the compilation is “Mien,” that revolves around a speech Ms Chandra gave in 1991 in Khazak at a music festival.
Some listeners might find some songs over-produced, but certainly not enough to detract from the beauty of Ms Chandra’s captivating voice. And, while I realize this is a compilation, extracting works from more 20 years in the business, there was no mention of the musicians or other vocalists in the liner notes. All in all, Sheila Chandra’s The Indipop Retrospective will delight old fans and earn her new ones.