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World Music CD Reviews South Asia

David Newman

By Michael Stone
Published October 16, 2008

Love Peace Chant
Nutone Music

David Newman (Durga Das) is a Bhakti yoga (“yoga of love”) devotee and a Kirtan (Indian devotional chant) artist with a popular North American following. Per Newman, “Kirtan is a gathering where sacred mantras are sung in call-and-response style... a unique concert setting where music and singing are treated as meditation and the audience is as much a part of the band as the band members themselves.” Recordings like this one remind us that long before the Beatles went East, Indian culture was an object of Western fascination. But consider the tension between “world music” (traditional music made by and for local, non-Western audiences) and “world beat” (ethnic-pop hybrids whose Western proponents celebrate a new, postmodern species of multicultural “authenticity” at some remove from – even if retaining a considered respect for – the original cultural context). Aesthetic assessments aside, this one belongs on the New-Age (not the world-music) rack.