Dave Stringer

Brink

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The ever-growing genre that finds classical Indian instrumentation and hymns being used by Western musicians can basically be traced back to the Beatles' 1968 trip to India. Fast-forward 30 years and you find that artists like Krishna Das broke further ground by making kirtan or chanting music popular amongst the minor masses of hatha yoga practitioners and spiritual seekers. Dave Stringer falls somewhere between those two signposts, leaning slightly more toward the Beatles' side of the fence, as he also draws on jazz and pop influences to round out his sound. The resulting Brink is an eclectic, though flowing, blend of thoughtful compositions and Indian traditionals. Stringer is by no means the greatest vocalist in the world, but he manages to pull it off with half-decent aplomb whether singing about math trouble or Lord Shiva. He's also joined by the really stunning multilingual vocalists Azam Ali, Mamak Khadem, and Donna Delory in Sanskrit, Farsi, and English, respectively. (Good taste in the supporting cast can help carry a fellow a long way.) Both "I and Me" and "Ganashyama" are sensually haunting in their expressions of spiritual longing and devotion. If you're in the mood for a mellow version of Jai Uttal, Brink is worth checking out.

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