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If you've ever been to a Hare Krishna gathering in the United States or Canada, it's hard not to appreciate the aesthetics of it all. You might not accept all of the Hare Krishna beliefs -- especially that no-sex-except-for-procreation thing -- but there's still something fascinating about seeing people from Judeo-Christian backgrounds wearing traditional Indian clothes, playing traditional Indian music, and cooking traditional Indian vegetarian meals. And much to their credit, the Krishnas won't try to bully or coerce non-believers into joining their sect -- they might try to sell you a Bhagavad-Gita or a pack of incense, but they'll never abuse you for practicing Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. That Hare Krishna/Hindu/Vedic ideology plays a prominent role on British singer/songwriter Pia's third album, Pacifica; in fact, one of the people she dedicates this 2003 release to is the late Srila Prabhupada, who founded the Hare Krishna sect after moving to New York City from his native India in the '60s. Prabhupada did a lot to promote Hindu culture in the West, and by doing so, he helped pave the way for East/West outings like Pacifica. This 2003 release isn't traditional Indian music; rather, the expressive Pia favors a multicultural approach that has one foot in folk-rock and adult alternative and the other in modern Indian pop. It doesn't get much more multicultural than a white, fair-skinned, London-born singer/songwriter wearing Indian attire and writing English-language lyrics that are very Hindu-inspired. However, one doesn't have to be a practicing Hindu to appreciate this CD -- like a visit to a Hare Krishna temple, Pacifica is aesthetically appealing even if you aren't a committed vegetarian who chants the Maha mantra and reads the Bhagavad-Gita on a regular basis.

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