Susheela Raman Love Trap Review

Album. Released 2003.  

BBC Review

'When the hairs on the back of your neck stand up it's a good sign. As this Cd...

Nick Reynolds 2003

When the hairs on the back of your neck stand up it's a good sign. As this CD progresses you are gradually drawn in by Susheela's gorgeous, spell binding voice.On track three, "Amba", two musicians from Mongolian band Yat Khat enter the mix. The rough, thrilling sound of the horsehair fiddle and the frankly extraordinary deep throat singing of Albert Kuvezin create a delirious, compelling experience. They repeat this just as effectively on the driving, up-tempo "Manasuloni".

Susheela sings her own individual take on Indian Classical, traditional Tamil music and a smorgasbord of other world musics. She has already won a legion of admirers and a Radio 3 Award for world music two years ago. And on the basis of this lovely second album she's likely to win many more.

Producer Sam Mills creates a live, organic feel. The instruments hover in the middle distance, with Susheela's voice placed firmly where it belongs, at the front of the mix. It's as though he's recreating the drone that underpins Asian music but with a modern band. The result is a twilit musical world: all kinds of sounds and instruments, from kora to piano to clarinet are integrated without a false note.The sparse duet featuring Greek clarinetist Manos Achalinotopoulos Dhamavati is one of the albums many highlights. Tony Allen, Fela Kuti's legendary drummer provides exactly the right pulse: understated yet driving.

The cover of Joan Armatrading's "Save Me" seems like an interlude between the other high points. And if the title track, a reworking of an Ethiopian pop song is a little corny, it does act as a clever introduction to the rest of the album, showcasing ideas that are developed later.

Adjectives to describe this wonderful music started to fail me. Instead I just let myself go, carried away by its subtle, hypnotic charms.

If this is a trap, it's one made out of honey.

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