Monologues (independent release VV002, 2013)
Monologues is a captivating new album by Indo-Canadian singer Vandana Vishwas. She composes and performs her own material which is rooted in Hindustani traditions, including ragas (she recommends the alternate spelling raags), thumris, ghazals and nazms. Her songs are intimate and elegant. Musically, she combines the music of northern India with western elements such as jazz and electronica with the use of keyboards.
Vandana’s beautiful vocals are pretty straightforward although occasionally she uses ear-catching overdubs. Monologues includes her husband, who participates as lyricist, and multi-instrumentalist Vishwas Thoke, whose first name she uses as her last. They are joined by skilled Indian and Canadian musicians.
Vandana and her husband, who are both successful architects, settled in Toronto. “Ever since we came to Canada, we have been listening to every kind of music style. Toronto is a mini world for us. I have taken a special liking for jazz, and it has become a bit of an obsession,” Vandana reveals. “It didn’t change my vocal rendering that much, but it has influenced the way I arrange my music. I had never thought I will ever use bass and chords in my songs before; I’ve especially come to love the way bass sounds and feels with Indian melodies.”
The weakest part of the album is the use of the smooth jazzy saxophone. Thankfully, it only appears on a handful of tracks.
Overall, Monologues is a soulful album that brings a new perspective to the ancient sounds and poems of northern India.
Buy the MP3s: Monologues