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Úvodní stránka » RECORDS II » Susheela Raman
Susheela Raman — Queen Between [2014]

 Susheela Raman — Queen Between [March 15, 2014]

IND Flag      Susheela Raman — Queen BetweenNOMINÉE ARTIST, SUSHEELA RAMAN in TAIS AWARDS 2015
♣   Raman has released five albums since 2001 and was nominated for the 2006 BBC World Music Awards.
♣   Built on her natural songwriting talents and drawing on sufi and hindu song traditions aquired during her travels in India and Pakistan, the English singer of Indian origin Susheela Raman's new album is both highly energetic and physical yet meditative, often approaching a state of ecstatic trance. Acoustic and recorded as live Queen Between reveals an organic, open almost psychedelic style. In addition to her London–based long–time producer / guitarist Sam Mills, Susheela is joined by two Rajasthani musicians for this project. Also by renowned guests the French cellist Vincent Segal and Pakistani qawwali singers Rizwan Muazzam.
Born: 21 July 1973, Hendon, London, UK
Location: London, UK
Album release: March 15, 2014
Record Label: Times Music
Duration:     53:07
Tracks:
01. Sharabi      (6:28)
02. Corn Maiden      (5:26)
03. Riverside      (5:44)
04. Sajana      (8:09)
05. North Star      (4:07)
06. Queen Between      (4:40)
07. Karunei      (6:43)
08. Taboo      (11:51)
Complete album credits:
1. Sharabi.
susheela raman: vocals
rizwan–muazzam qawals: vocals, harmonium, handclaps
sam mills: guitar, bass, keyboards
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: kartal, backing vocals
aref durvesh: tabla
vincent segal: cello
2. Corn Maiden
susheela raman: vocals
sam mills: guitar, bass
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: morchang, kartal, drums, backing vocals
aref durvesh: tabla
rana ram bhil: vocal textures
3. Riverside
susheela raman: vocals
sam mills: guitar, bass, bebot
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: drums, backing vocals
rana ram bhil: vocal textures
4. Sajana
susheela raman: vocals
rizwan–muazzam qawals: vocals, harmonium, handclaps
sam mills: guitar, bass
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: kartal, backing vocals
aref durvesh: tabla
5. North Star
susheela raman: vocals
sam mills: guitar
6. Queen Between
susheela raman: vocals
sam mills: guitar, keyboards
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: bapang, drums, backing vocals
vincent segal: cello
rana ram bhil: vocal textures, narh flute
7. Karunei
susheela raman: vocals
sam mills: guitar
kutle khan: morchang
aref durvesh: tabla
8. Taboo
susheela raman: vocals
rizwan–muazzam qawals: vocals, harmonium, handclaps
sam mills: guitar
nathoo solanki: nagara drums
kutle khan: morchang, backing vocals
aref durvesh: tabla
vincent segal: cello
charlie jones: bass
rana ram bhil: vocal textures
   Susheela raman is not a new voice thanks to her sticky voice that doesn’t leave you well after the song ends. Her recent offering is ‘Queen between’.
   It’s an interesting potpourri of  her English songwriting with the Sufi Qawaali and Rajasthani music. Her collaborators on the album are: Pakistan’s Rizwan–Muazzam Qawwal  and Rajasthan Maestros Kutle Khan and Nathoo Solanki, as well as longstanding accomplices French Cellist Vincent Segal and Producer/Guitarist Sam Mills.
   The album starts with the magnificent sharaabi that features foot tapping fusion between Susheela Raman and the qawwals of rizwan–muazzim troop who bring the house down with their bits. The recitation of the Urdu couplets in a ‘not so urdu’ style might put the purists off but it fits in the overall structure of the song very well. The use of Khartaals is wise and melodious. Corn maiden has Susheela all over. With ease, Susheela gives a song that has restlessness written all over it. The song towards the end is euphoric and mesmerizing, unlike anything we have heard in a long time in India. Riverside starts with a melancholic guitar and good amount of ‘nagara’ drums for company. The singing is top class and the backup vocals by Kutle khan add quite a rustic feel to the song. The lyrics by Mills/Susheela are deep throughout the album and demand your attention especially in this song. Sajana has the qawwal group coming back to offer us and Urdu–English offering. You cannot miss the exquisite claps throughout the song, a song that conveys longing for the beloved. Susheela compliments the qawwals ably and her calls of Sajana might actually surprise you! The qawwals in between recite couplets which lend the much expected pathos to the song.    Northstar is a lightly composed song and gives you a feel of someone singing it on the roof of her house watching the sky. The song has a calming effect on senses and leaves you insightful. The Queen between has a theatrical sound to it with the arrangement (accentuated by excellent backup vocals at places) that is grand and execution that is spot on! Karunei is a tamil song that features morchang. The song is more like a recitation and keeps the soul of the traditional karunei intact. Taboo is an approx 12 min offering that features the qawwals along with good bass and cello arrangement. The stillness of the entire composition creates an eerie atmosphere. The structure of the song is different than anything we have heard in ‘non–filmi’ albums in a long time. The singing is top class by Susheela and watch out for the backup vocals!
Overall a brilliant album in terms of trying something new. We cannot recall anything similar being tried by any band in a long time and that’s why it is all the more important that more people listen to this. It’s a new sound with which we must be a bit patient to begin with and give due credit to Susheela raman, Rizwan and Muazzam troop, sam mills and everyone else who has come together to present us this album. Fortaken: http://almostareview.wordpress.com/
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   If i were to describe 'Queen Between' i'd say it is an album really about songs and voices, but the musical landscape is very dynamic and psychedelic. There are some recognizable elements but the sound is absolutely unique. On ‘Queen Between’ I sing almost entirely in English and was privileged to collaborate with Pakistan's premier Sufi singers the Rizwan–Muazzam Qawwals as well as three very special Rajasthani master musicians —  Nathoo Solanki, Kutle Khan and Rana Ram Bhil. We all met and sat together in London so there was real process of blending.
REVIEW
by Anita Iyer (March 6, 2014)
   Susheela Raman collaborates with the qawals from Lahore and Rajasthani musicians for her sixth album Queen Between. Music producer Sam Mills had a mammoth task at hand considering he had to form/shape tracks from the unrehearsed sessions with these musicians he recorded at the studio. He had briefed us about the recording process here: (http://www.soundbox.co.in/the-queen-is-back/).
The first track Sharabi opens with cello (Vincent Segal) and the percussions build up from tabla to nagara drums setting the rhythm and groove. Kartal, handclaps and cello form a consistent silent background in the track. Sam jumps in with his guitar and joins Kutle Khan on kartal. The track smoothly integrates qawwali by Rizwan–Muazzam Qawals (nephews of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) with Susheela joining them in singing Mein Sharabi. The songstress had taken qawwali lessons from the duo back in Lahore and that comes through when you listen to the track.
   The bouncy second track Corn Maiden has subtle drums and gives Susheela enough room to prove her dexterity. Backing vocals by Kutle khan accentuates the hook line The Corn Maiden Has Come.  Rana Ram Bhil provides excellent layering to the track with voice textures. The next track Riverside again has a minimal approach with Nagara drums and Kutle Khan’s backing vocals.
   Sajana starts on a qawali note featuring the powerful duo Rizwan — Muazzam Qawals. The accompanying handclaps in this one will inevitably make you bob your head to the track. Sam Mills teasingly keeps making appearance in the track with guitar.    The main verses are rendered by Susheela and the qawals join her with powerful vocals — this track belongs to them.
   North Star is the only track on the album with no featuring artists and is churned out by the original duo Sam Mills and Susheela. The track has melodic guitar progression but it fades in comparison with the other tracks on the album.
   We had seen Nathoo Solanki go wild on his nagara drums at the Storm Festival in Bengaluru this year and expected some mean moves in the album but found him rather following a set template. He provides a base to the self–titled track Queen Between but the track could have allowed some space for Solanki to experiment, we thought. Susheela displays her versatility with voice modulations as she endlessly reaches for unrestricted octave ranges.  Kutle Khan’s backing vocals gives it a dramatic touch.
In the beautifully constructed devotional Tamil track Karunei, Susheela Raman is at her soulful best. With Aref Durvesh on tabla and Kutle on morchang, this could be the most toned down track in the otherwise loud album. She calls out for Kutle Khan in the track and this purposeful inclusion gives it a collective touch. The track lets the instruments indulge in the concluding last minute and the sparseness is pure delight.
   All the musicians come together for Taboo, the last track on the album. It starts on a dark note but then it gathers momentum when all the vocalists join in to lend the chorus ‘Taboo Taboo’. Few minutes into the almost 12–minute track, it turns into a musical riot. We see some impromptu jamming between the artists with full throated qawali vocals, handclaps and percussions joining in. The longest track on the album, Taboo slowly fades out in the last two minutes.
   Queen Between ends up being a brilliant amalgamation of music from both sides of the border. Must check! (http://www.soundbox.co.in/)
In french:
   "La chanteuse anglo–tamoule renoue avec la veine crossover la plus frontale. On y retrouve, bien sûr, son timbre grave et ses suaves circonvolutions vocales, ainsi que l'influence des musiques carnatiques et autres folklores du sud de l'Inde dont elle a fait son envoûtante marque de fabrique. Seulement, Su­sheela Raman, qui a multiplié ces dernières années les séjours au Rajasthan et au Pakistan, s'abreuve davantage aux traditions mystiques du nord du sous-continent : les chants dévotionnels hindous des Bauls du Bengale, le folk hypnotique des Manganiars (musulmans) du Rajasthan et le qawwali soufi, qu'elle syncrétise dans un répertoire largement anglophone. Entre douce méditation et incantation ténébreuse, elle déploie ainsi un univers de pop en transe très acoustique (en dehors de quelques échos psyché sur les lignes chorales), porté par la frénésie de ses musiciens indiens, aux tablas, timbales nagara ou flûte narh. Sur les trois titres les plus marquants de l'album, elle s'efface davantage face aux huit chanteurs qawwals du groupe Rizwan–Muazzam : dans ce tourbillon enivrant d'harmoniums, de claps de mains et de voix extatiques, elle–même se contente de quelques ponctuations véhémentes. Le cocktail n'en est que plus efficace." (source: www.telerama.fr)
   Pour amateurs de curiosités musicales enivrantes et envoûtantes. C'est le sixième album de cette chantaise anglaise d'origine indienne qui s'intéresse ici à différentes traditions musicales du sous–continent indien.
Website: http://susheelaraman.com/
MySpace: https://myspace.com/susheela.raman
Twitter: https://twitter.com/susheelaraman
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/susheelaramanchannel
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susheela.raman?fref=ts
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susheelaramanofficial
Websites: http://www.outerindia.com
Web: http://Susheelaraman.believeband.com
Label: http://store.harmoniamundi.com/queen-between.html
Agent: peter.jenner@sinman.co.uk
Bio:
   Tamil Londoner Susheela Raman has established her place as one of the most creative artists to emerge from the South Asian diaspora. Blessed with a mesmeric voice and an captivating stage presence, Susheela has enraptured countless listeners with her own songs and with her interpretations of songs from her Indian roots. She makes the lines on the map dissolve; a South Indian sensibility radiates through her happily hybrid Euro–Afro–Asian musical landscape, just as an Indian voice is infused with a Londoner’s feeling for rock, blues, soul. She is currently finishing her sixth studio album which features her amazing collaboration with musicians from Rajasthan and Qawwals from Pakistan.
   Susheela was born in London to parents from Thanjavur in Tamilnadu. Her family moved to Sydney, Australia when she was four. She grew up learning Carnatic and other Indian songs but then as a teenager plunged into the world of rock music, fronting her own band in Sydney. After some time she was inspired to revisit the music of her Indian roots and spent time in India studying singing. In 1997 Susheela moved back to London and quickly teamed up with producer and longstanding collaborator Sam Mills as well as London tabla player Aref Durvesh. After three years work they made their first album ‘Salt Rain’ which won immediate acclaim, including the Mercury Prize in the UK and a Gold record in France.
   Susheela’s ability to sing her way between musical worlds and thereby to create her own, has few parallels. She is moving with the tide of the times: India is now a centre of gravity within the Anglophone world, and is increasingly in the global spotlight. Finding sophisticated and adventurous pathways between Indian and global culture is the real challenge; one which she boldly and instinctively meets.
   With a justified reputation as an incandescent live performer, Susheela has made five classic albums: After ‘Salt Rain” (2001) came ‘Love Trap’ (2003) which was recorded in Spain and featured her version of ‘ the Mukesh classic ‘Ye Mera Divanapan Hai’ which was used by Mira Nair in her film “The Namesake”. ‘Music for Crocodiles’ (2005)  was her third album and was recorded partly in Chennai. That was the time I really started to make music in India, an adventure that is still unfolding. She took a interesting step in 2007, recording ‘33 1/3’ in Iceland (!) which was an album of reinterpretations of some classic rock tracks such as Dylan ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, and ‘Voodoo Chile’: It wasn’t about doing ‘covers’, it was about trying to take each song somewhere quite different. All her albums chart a personal relationship with musical history and her own role as a conduit where musical oceans meet. Each Susheela album is a big vision that retains its freshness and uniqueness for a long time to come. “I find new people are discovering, sharing my previous album all the time. I’m glad each has their own life.”
   Her most recent offering is  ‘VEL’, which means ‘spear’ in Tamil, which was released in 2011.
Susheela: “VEL” is half English, Half Tamil. As a record it documents my own journey as a European with South Indian ancestry into the heartland of Tamil music. From a personal viewpoint there is always a journey of discovery. As you go deeper into the culture, away from the mainstream, you find whole areas of music that are less known and which command you to bring them into the light.  A few years ago I started to spend a lot more time in South India. I was drawn very much to the music world of Tamil devotionalism (‘bhakti’). To the ecstatic music of the popular religion. As a performer, its open–hearted emotion and its ecstatic trance dimension made a connection with me that was very natural. This music is really at the heart of Tamil culture. I sang in temples and at festivals and people were happy. The first time we played these songs in Europe I could see that the intensity of feeling translated very powerfully. I had two amazing teachers in Chennai. Once they realised that I was serious and could sing the music with both the musicality and the huge energy it demands, they taught me without circumspection. It was a great privilege for me.
   Susheela has always made music a vehicle of emotion with the same intensity of purpose that she offers herself and her music and to her audience. The songs she writes and interpret can come form any background, east, north, south or west. The key is that she makes them her own and then shares them, fashioning both into spears that penetrate the soul.
   “I don’t want to respect artificial barriers between music, I want to channel everything into the experience. . The music of the subcontinent is hugely varied and is always changing. It always has new dimensions to explore. Talk of ‘fusion’ sound like a compromise between unmoving cultural blocs. But music is not like that here, or anywhere. Music is like a Goddess that is always changing its mind, never straightforward. To earn her blessings and stay close to her, musicians have to try new things.”
Discography:
   Salt Rain (2001)     #29 FRA
   Love Trap (2003)     #32 FRA
   Music for Crocodiles (2005)     #51 FRA
   331⁄3 (2007)     #120 FRA
   Vel (2011)
   Queen Between (2014)
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Susheela Raman — Queen Between [2014]

 

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