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World Music CD Reviews South Asia

SUPHALA

By Jill Ettinger
Published September 8, 2005

The Now
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In the ongoing search for cosmic truth, we often overlook the obvious: there is no truth, there is only now. Stepping into that space and holding it beautifully is Zakir Hussain’s top female tabla student, Suphala. Exhibiting her classical talents and creativity here along with help from over a dozen guest artists, Suphala dives into the depths of the present moment and its endless swirl of sound. She pulls out layers of beauty, melody and rhythm. Opening The Now is “Transport” with sultry vocals by Norah Jones, drifting into the rich “Memory.”  With some very interesting sampling “Wind Farm Harvest” (with guitars by Vernon Reid) is an electronic, ambient journey, as is the gorgeous “Forever Maybe” with vocals by Vikter Duplaix. “Piscean Dreamer” boasts Suphala’s vocals (and Salim Merchant’s) as well as her tabla magic on the album’s most emotional track. Electronica fused with classical tabla is nearing commonplace (Karsh Kale, Talvin Singh), but no worries, this is not more of the same, but rather more of the now. Musical fusion like Suphala’s latest offering is working in our favor to constantly surprise and inspire.