SUSHEELA RAMAN (INDIA/UK)
Susheela Raman is a great example of how eclectic and multi-ethnic the UK has become. Born in Hendon to a Tamil family who emigrated to Australia when she was four, Susheela's journey to her Tamil roots and a home in the British countryside is a truly contemporary story of migration, music and planting roots all over the world. Growing up in Sydney, the teenage Susheela started singing in nightclub bands, covering popular rock and pop songs from the charts. As she grew older she began to feel limited within the rock-pop format and in 1995, Susheela returned to India to study music under the tutelage of Shruti Sadolikar, a renowned Hindustani singer, intent on blending the influences of east and west. Her family had always emphasised Tamil customs so Susheela was well versed in Tamil language and culture.
Returning to England in 1997 she sang with Joi, part of the Asian Underground movement. Yet Susheela was aware many of the Asian Underground figureheads were all mouth and trousers - she was determined to make music that stood by its own strengths, not simply as fashion statement. Fortunate to meet up with British guitarist Sam Mills, Susheela and Sam began a professional and personal relationship that has flowered beautifully.
In 2001 Susheela released her debut album Salt Rain. 'We spent three years developing Salt Rain,' says Susheela. 'In addition to writing our own material, we discovered new and exciting ways to adapt the Carnatic songs I had sung when I was younger, particularly the work of the eighteenth century songmasters Tyagaraja and Dikshitar.' Salt Rain received an ecstatic response and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Susheela's second album Love Trap proved she was no overnight sensation and in 2005 Susheela released Music For Crocodiles, an album that finds Susheela singing half the songs in English yet also recording with Indian musicians in India. These paradoxes and fusions are what makes Susheela Raman a truly original talent.
Narada Records profile
A4WM 2002 profile
BBC Music album review
Miki, Crotian from Taiwan and Athens
Susheela is ...GLOBAL in full sense. One of rare examples where I use the word in positive meaning.
I have had the good fortune of seeing SR twice close up in Southampton. I have wavered on the fence of selective applause and fan adoration. I can agree impart with the comment from Norwich. Having played through Music for Crocodiles several times reservations have erroded, and as with Salt Rain and Love Trap, it has joined the 'frequently played pile'. This is a very special artist,not forgetting Sams contibution, and I look forward to their continuing journey.
Sian Lewis, Milton Keynes
I was so pleased to have seen Susheela perform at the Stables Music Venue last year. She was great and I left feeling like I had watched someone special. Loved the music, her vocals and her performance.
Harini - india
The very fact that the brilliant susheela is from tamil nadu makes me proud.i would like to add that there is monotony witnessed.most of the songs sound the same. i wish her all the very best.
Isabella Bdoian, Moscow
I was lucky to see and hear Susheela on a wonderful concert in Moscow couple of years ago. Susheela is a beautiful woman with amazingly powerful voice, fine and sensual performer of magic songs. Thank you, Susheela.
Henry Walker, Norwich
Sorry to go against the grain but apart from the excellent textures of tabla and strings, the song structure, rhythms, chord sequences and lyrics are very dull and do not stray far from mediocre soft ballad pop.
Mani Iyer, US
Susheela deserves it, not only for her talent but also the effort. This is the best fusion of indian classical and Blues ever made. It takes brains to be different.
Raman also deserves the Asia award for the rarity of both musical intelligence (her wonderful adaptation of tiruvachakam form- 'Blue Lily Red Lotus' for me really reiterated the drama, the sheer performance inherent in kriti & its predecessors) and an absolute sense of fun (I'm still reeling from her blues/ Bollywood/ semenna-werq collision of 'Love Trap'), frequently occurring simultaneously...any artist who can intellectually stimulate and create mild hysteria within the same song is clearly on to something...
Aditya , NY
Beautiful! I am glad I reached this page.
I feel Susheela deseves the award this year due to the excellent & unique album "music for crocodiles".Great Music & amazing vocals. i wish her all the best for the nomination & i hope she wins