Review: Shubha Mudgal, Ursula Rucker, Business Class Refugees - No Stranger Here
No Stranger Here
|Artist:||Shubha Mudgal, Ursula Rucker, Business Class Refugees|
|Album:||No Stranger Here|
|Date of Release:||2012/02/14|
|Country of Release:||IN|
|Sub-Genre/s:||East-West Fusion, Performance Poetry, Electronica|
|Date of Review:||2012/07/24|
No Stranger Here
Shubha Mudgal, Ursula Rucker, Business Class Refugees' No Stranger Here was released on the Earth Sync India label in February. This extraordinary album combines artists from India, the United States and Israel and clashes genres and styles in a mind-bending, mind-blowing style to come up with a result that is simply out of this world.
What really makes this album, it has to be acknowledged straight away, are the imaginative, innovative arrangements and production by Chennai based Business Class Refugees. A simply amazing vision.
Inspired by the poetry of the 16th century Indian poet Kabir of the Bhakti movement (c. 500 to c1700 CE), No Stranger Here features the poetry of Kabir sung by renowned Indian singer Shubha Mudgal, often offset by US spoken word artist Ursula Rucker's (English language) performance poetry within the same track, at other times, Mudgal or Rucker separately. Throughout, this is underpinned by a Western rhythm section and a string section, often combined with electronica. Now one might be forgiven to think that this seems like a very strange combination. Perhaps it is. But one really has to hear the spectacular result to be immediately and completely spellbound and overwhelmed by the sheer magic of it all.
This is genre-clashing at its finest! Without a doubt, No Stranger Here is not only the most imaginative, innovative and inventive 'world music' album of the year so far, but also in many ways the most inspiring, gorgeously, hauntingly beautiful and inspirational one.
The voice of Mudgal is utterly hypnotic, almost otherworldly, seductive. Like that of a siren, one is completely enslaved by it. Rucker in turn, in her own way, completely rivets. The combination is most formidable. Add in the superb string arrangements - sometimes leaning towards Western classical, others towards funk - and string section, and the mix becomes mind-blowing.
As brilliantly consistent as it is consistently brilliant, No Stranger Here is beyond compelling. This gorgeous, spectacular, spine-tingling album is totally mesmerising, hypnotic, holding one like a magnet and wanting one to not have it end, ever. A masterpiece, as near perfection as can be achieved, its spell will never wear off, it is utterly unforgettable.
Shubha Mudgal, Ursula Rucker, Business Class Refugees' No Stranger Here is way beyond a must have for any 'world music,' genre-bending or simple good music aficionado. It is to die for and gladly!
1. Seraphim Tones - 8:34
Credits:Shuba Mudgal - vocals
Ursula Rucker - vocals
Business Class Refugees - arrangements, keyboards, programming,
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