Here is something you may find new and hopefully interesting. This is the kind of stuff I tend to listen to as well as flamenco and other world beat genres. I find this quite wonderful. The CD title is "Khrishna Lila" by "DJ Cheb i Sabba". The sound quality is quite good, a tad bit to the right of neutral like so many recordings these days. The CD is a sampling of well known indian devotional ragas but with twist of kinder & gentler infusion of DJ electronics without going overboard. Tracks 6 through 9 are all fantastic.
Here is a review by someone named NUSRAT DURRANI:
"dj Cheb i Sabbahs long-awaited release Krishna Lila completes his trilogy of beautifully crafted LPs inspired by Vedic mythology and the art and science of dance music. Shri Durga, (1999), a paean to the Goddess Durga (the sister of Lord Krishna according to The Puranas, (ancient Sanskrit scriptures), was theme music for a utopian, futuristic fantasy created from the essence of ancient ragas, modern technology and diverse cultures. It was an ambitious and unusually accomplished album that quickly became a cult classic and is a staple for DJs, seekers of Hindu spirituality and people with heart and soul alike. Extracting mellifluous tunes, swirling rhythms and burning beats from a stellar cast of musicians including the late Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Ustad Sultan Khan, Bill Laswell and Mala Ganguly, Cheb i Sabbahs first album was an intoxicating excursion into trance and tenderness that is copied to this day.
MahaMaya, (2000), the remix project, was inevitable and innovative. A host of DJs from the "Asian underground" movement were itching to de-scramble Shri Durgas genetic code and re-interpret the tunes. In Sanskrit, "mahamaya" means "greater illusion" and reflects the transient nature of things. In keeping with this concept, tracks like Shri Durga and Ganga Dev, were transformed by premiere global dance outfits such as Transglobal Underground, State of Bengal and Fun-da-mental. The albums standout cuts- Bally Sagoos hallucinogenic take on Kese Kese and TJ Rehmis tripped-out remix of Durga Puja are considered club classics stateside and in Europe.
Cheb i Sabbahs latest tribute to the Gods, Krishna Lila (the divine pastimes of Krishna), is an album of bhajans sung in praise of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and traces the evolutionary arc of this gifted and spiritual artist to a new high. A bhajan is a simple song sung in praise of God that conveys complex truths, and Krishna Lila presents this devotional style of classical Indian music in a modern context that is easily accessible, soulful and liberating. Most bhajans were written in India between the 14th and 17th century and cover a spectrum of musical styles that range from chants (dhun) to the more sophisticated thumri, a light classical style of singing practiced in North India. The best traditional bhajans are distinguished by their poetic content and were made famous by the great saint-musicians like Mirabai, Surdas and Kabir.
An attempt to reinvent an ancient and evolved art form that celebrates the Gods would be a daunting task even for a trained local musician. For an "outsider" to succeed in this project would be unlikely at best. Yet, Cheb i Sabbah has crafted a classic that is deceptively simple at first blush but underneath its skin has the skill and complexity characteristic of a true work of art. Krishna Lila has a fragile, fragrant beauty that lingers long after the disc has stopped playing. Like all his projects, Cheb i Sabbah has approached this one with reverence for the culture it represents and has taken no shortcuts. The album has been in production for two years. Most of the musicians were recorded in Madras, Bombay and New Delhi, India, and others in New York and San Francisco. Sung in five different languages, it is strewn together like acoustic jewellery, the common thread being bhakti yoga (devotion) to Krishna. Lustrous, new gems are interspersed with uncut traditional pieces that echo timelessness not often heard on a CD.
Krishna Lila is organized in two parts. The first five tracks recorded in South India are evocative of Krishnas pastimes in the garden of Vrindavan.
Dressed in garments of gold, and with an orange flower tucked behind his ear, he wanders through the garden playing his magic flute. The gopis (cowgirls) are entranced by the sweetness of the music. Some are bathing in the nearby pond. They emerge, still wet and askew. Others are breastfeeding their babies but cannot wait to set their eyes upon Krishna. They trip through the cool grass. Drunk on the melody of the flute they sway through the trees until they finally feast their eyes upon him and fall to the ground to kiss his feet.
The next four tracks are recorded in North India and include vocals and some instrumentation in the distinctive thumri style. The album opens with Narajanma Bandage, based on raagam Dharmavati, sung in Kannada by Baby Sreeram and recorded in Madras. It creates a slow, sensual and swirling samadhi (trance): the Blue God has appeared in the incandescent moonlight. After torrential rain and a graceful violin solo, singer Baby Sreeram returns to the full moon night of Vrindavan to deliver in the Tamil language, Maname Diname, one of Krishna Lilas highest points. Her voice weaves in out of Bill Laswells erotic bass line and Karsh Kales beautifully restrained percussion. Tiny white flowers burst against the spiritual sky. Anjali, an instrumental, gently breaks the intensity. The gleaming, curvaceous notes of A. K. Devis Saraswati vina, a string instrument like the sitar, hold it together. This first journey ends with Raja Vedalu, a rapturous drum n bass bhajan in Sanskrit that seems to accompany the gods as they thunder across the sky to the sound of Vedic chanting in praise of Lord Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi.
Krishna is worshipped as the eighth avatar (incarnation) of the supreme god Vishnu and one of the heroes of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. To many Hindus he represents rupa (divine beauty), prema (divine love) and lila (playful actions associated with the divine). He is said to perfectly represent two forms of love- vatsalya (motherly love) and madhurya (sweet passionate love). Legend has it that Krishna had 16,108 wives and each one worshipped him more than the other. Krishna Lila is Cheb i Sabbahs homage to the Blue Gods lovers and also pays tribute to his role as a nayaka (ideal hero). Lagi Lagan, based on raga Bilas Khan, was recorded in Bombay and begins the second part of the album. It has young bhajan singer Radhika crying a poem of Mirabai in Vrajbasi, a North Indian dialect. Her sensual voice is carried on the soft bed of bass and percussion like a bride in a palanquin on the shoulders of men. A bittersweet flute, rendered by Deepak Ram, follows her to Krishna. She is wedded to his feet.
Tum Bin Shyam (without you, Krishna), an instrumental thumri, is delicate and pure. Pandit Ulhas Bapats santur spreads slowly like a fire traveling over a sea of tabla and percussion. On the other side is a street, in a city, in another time, where again, Radhika is singing Rupa Tujhe Deva (your divine form) in Marathi, a potent cocktail of rave and rapture based on raga Mishra Pilloo that rides high on Sufi beats. The album closes on a languid, contemplative note with Govinda, based on raga Bhairavi, an instrumental that washes us gently ashore with some ravishing exchanges between the two brothers, K. Sridhar and K. Shivakumar on sarod and violin.
Krishna Lila arrives at a poignant time when millions of troubled people are looking for answers to the question: what has gone wrong with the world? Although it is a celebration of a Hindu God, it has a universal appeal much like Sufi music and invites you to seek answers through the worship of God, love and goodness. It works on both the spiritual and sensual levels and is a drunken mix of timbre and tone, body, beats and soul.
Cheb i Sabbah is a bird or a saint. He was spinning magic rhythms in Paris in the 60s. He was a part of the iconoclastic troupe The Living Theatre. He was born in Algeria, is a cult figure in San Francisco and has a Hindu and Sufi heart. He dresses in crimson and smokes clove cigarettes. He has worked with jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and produced live concerts with a host of musicians including qawali maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. With his music Cheb i Sabbah is bringing together the traditions of Asia, Arabia, Africa and the West. He is known as a dance floor mystic and has a sadhus hair. Krishna Lila is a spacious and uplifting album that is wide open for interpretation.
Only Cheb i Sabbah could have delivered this to us."