Susheela Raman

Music for Crocodiles

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Susheela Raman's third album shows a new dimension to her performances. Previously, she performed largely in an Indian-infused vein with British influences. Now, she has more straightforward pop aesthetics, though with a massive dose of ethnic instrumentation and musical motives thrown in. Her voice is a bit breathier than previously, and she uses it to good effect. The overall loss of a more central ethnic sound is perhaps a bit disappointing to those who really enjoyed her previous albums (though there are some very strong influences yet, including a few entire songs), but there are still some very nice touches. The accompanying veena and tabla here and there provide interesting ornamentation and rhythms, and strong blues inflections give the album some additional depth all around. Moreover, the adaptation of some old Tyagaraja works as well as other Carnatic ragas (and maybe a Vedic script) provide meat for a cross-cultural pop that's rarely been previously heard. The sound is generally more mature, and maybe a little more tired. Raman ultimately has such vast talent that even when she misses, it's a nice song. Give it a listen, but pick up her earlier albums as well for a less tempered and more adventurous sound.

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