Dave Stringer

Mâlâ

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Incorporating traditional Indian music into a Western pop sensibility has been in vogue since George Harrison's use of the sitar on mid-1960s Beatles albums, but Dave Stringer's approach to the mix is somewhat different. A devotee of kirtan chanting, Stringer keeps kirtan at the center of his music, augmenting and coloring the swells of chanting with touches of jazz, gospel, and rock.

A string quartet, brass, and sitar lend texture and unexpected flourishes, yet the primary combo of electric guitar, bass, and drums keeps MALA hard-hitting and down to earth. This instrumental backdrop drives the album on a tide of simmering, sometimes funky grooves, while a call-and-response chorus of chanting voices (including that of fellow contemporary electro-kirtan devotee Donna de Lory) makes MALA a celebratory, stirring, and, at times, ecstatic experience.

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