Wah!

Hidden in the Name

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On this double-disc collection, Wah! explores kirtans in a variety of ways, some with solo vocal performances and some in the traditional call-and-response fashion, in which she sings a line with a group of chanters echoing her. To kick it off in the most auspicious way, she offers "Om Jaya Ganapataye" to Lord Ganesha, remover of obstacles. It's an important thing to do at the beginning of any spiritual undertaking, and she does it with aplomb. An electric bass teams up with the harmonium to lay a foundation for the tablas. The response part on this one is done via guitar improvisations. A nice touch. Wah!'s work shines brightest when she sticks to the simple, traditional framework that these chants were originally meant to be placed in. "Hare Ram" and "Jai Ma" are testaments to this. The Western instruments don't even detract in that setting. However, when she goes all the way to incorporating jazz, reggae, and calypso-tinged melodies and grooves, as on "Radhe Bhaj" or "Ambe Mata," something gets lost in the translation. The "Dub Version" of the former takes it even further afield. Part of the problem is that, styled as such, all of the chants start to sound the same, so you lose the sweetness, the essence of the chosen deity and mantras. They also don't feel nearly as sacred, which is truly the main focus of singing to the Lord or the Guru: to connect with that sacred space, that higher power.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
18:48 SpotifyAmazon
2
14:57 SpotifyAmazon
3
7:38 SpotifyAmazon
4
5:28 SpotifyAmazon
5
18:16 SpotifyAmazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
17:09 SpotifyAmazon
2
8:28 SpotifyAmazon
3
13:19 SpotifyAmazon
4
14:14 SpotifyAmazon
5
9:01 SpotifyAmazon
6
8:09 SpotifyAmazon
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