"Vande Mataram" became a Sanskit rallying cry for freedom in the early 1900s, as Indians protested against the partitioning of Bengal and its use as the title for the first international release by Ar Rahman, one of India's most popular contemporary recordings artists, is appropriate. Vande Mataram was released to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of India's independence from colonial Britain and it also was designed to introduce the western world, particularly the United States, the wonders of modern Indian music and culture. Rahman is a clever, skilled composer and for this record, he blends Indian music with worldbeat, new age and light dance music, creating an accessible amalgam that nevertheless sounds exotic. He's also enlisted Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, David Byrne, Zakir Hussain, Talvin Singh, L. Shankar and Apache Indian as guest artists, which gives Vande Mataram a richer scope and a broader appeal. The end result is a vibrant, exciting album that has the potential to reach beyond the traditional world music fan.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine