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World Music CD Reviews Europe

SHEILA CHANDRA

By STACY MEYN
Published May 30, 2006

The Indipop Retrospective
Narada World

Sheila Chandra was an actress (U.K. TV series Grange Hill) and singer in 1981 before being recruited by producer Steve Coe to front his group, Monsoon, on the Indipop imprint. They landed a Top 10 U.K. hit with the eerily gorgeous and unforgettable “Ever So Lonely,” an Indian-influenced lament. From then the inimitable voice of 16-year-old Chandra was for the world to hear. During her stint at Indipop (and eventual marriage to Coe), Chandra released five albums, from which The Indipop Retrospective draws. The collection showcases her developmental stages when she could experiment and explore with none of the typical label pressures or posturing. Throughout the ’80s, Chandra and Coe flirted with electronics while establishing Chandra’s self-described “drone and raga base” on albums Out On My Own, Quiet, Nada Brahma (“Sound is Divine”), The Struggle and Roots And Wings. Chandra also dabbles in the yearning quality of Scots airs on “Lament Of McCrimmon/Song Of The Banshee,” also offered as a video. The previously unreleased “Crescent Silver Scythe” closes out. Be it the story of her ancestors or the phone book, Chandra’s voice makes it worth the listen.