Title: Vel, India
The always unpredictable Susheela Raman is back, at last, with one of the most confident, rousing albums of her career. Ten years ago, she became the first world music artist to be nominated for a Mercury prize with her debut set Salt Rain, and since then she has constantly changed direction, experimenting with mixing Indian influences with a variety of global styles or reworking rock classics. Now, after a four-year wait, comes a set that reflects her recent travels in India a brave clash of Indian and contemporary western styles. It starts with a new song, the stomping Raise Up, in which her powerful singing is matched against stirring, passionate vocals from the Rajasthani singer Kutle Khan, and she follows with the slinky, rhythmic treatment of the traditional Daga Daga, which mixes tabla percussion with a furious guitar solo from Sam Mills. Then there's the stirring Ennapane and (best of all) the epic Paal, another traditional song that starts as a drifting, violin-backed ballad but builds into an exhilarating climax. Her own slower ballads, Magdalene and Eighteen Floors, provide a more western contrast, but it's her bravely original treatment of the Indian material that makes this album special.
1. Zero City
2. Raise Up
3. Daga Daga
5. Eighteen Floors
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