Snatam Kaur

The Essential Snatam Kaur: Sacred Chants for Healing

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This compilation of tracks by singer Snatam Kaur is culled from her albums Anand, Shanti, Liberation's Door, Grace, and Prem. Kaur's Indian religious music usually finds her singing calmly in Gurumukhi, the sacred language of the Sikhs, and her simple, soothing lines are repeated over and over for a trance-like effect. For instance, the title of "Gobinda Gobinda Hari Hari" constitutes all of its lyrics, but the track goes on for more than ten minutes. It's easy to forget that Kaur is Indian by ethnicity, but not by birth; she comes from Colorado, and when, on "Servant of Peace," she begins singing in clear English halfway through, the effect is surprising. Somehow, too, all that repetition isn't quite so meditative when an English speaker can understand what she's singing. "By Thy Grace," for instance, almost comes off like country-style gospel music. Still, Kaur has learned from Enya and other new age-oriented artists the virtues of slow, textured, repetitive music, and listeners are bound to find that their heartbeats slow and their blood pressure comes down when her music is playing.

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