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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

Autorickshaw

By Matt Cibula
Published September 28, 2007

So the Journey Goes
Tala-Wallah

This adorable Canadian foursome mixes Indian pop and classical music with jazz and electronica, and makes it sound fresh every step of the way. An epic of ethnic self-discovery, the title track swings, rocks and skitters just like the Indian trains referenced by singer Suba Sankaram. “Aaj Ki Raat” sounds like Indian spy music, sneaky and sexy percussionists Ed Hanley (tabla) and Patrick Graham (tons of stuff) make sure everything keeps percolating, and Rich Brown plays the hell out of an electric bass. Their cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On A Wire” is fine, but the tracks where they try for the moon are more exciting—“Nalina Kanthi,” to pick only the most notable example, makes fusion jazz jump to a Bollywood beat, complete with a cool solkattu (the mysterious vocal percussion based on tabla sounds) break.