Music for Yoga & Other Joys CD, Import
Jai Uttalpremier world music composer and 2003 Grammy® nomineeoffers a moving mix of melody, rhythms, and chants with Music for Yoga and Other Joys. Known for his eclectic blend of East-meets-West sound, Jai offers listeners his first album created especially for yoga practice. More than 60 minutes of sensual music featuring dotar, electric guitar, and slide tamboura, all complemented by Jais full, golden-toned voice. Produced in collaboration with Ben Leinbach. Also an excellent choice for meditating, gardening, driving, and bodywork.
Music for yoga is such a cliché that you could slap that moniker on a Barry Manilow CD and have it sold as a soundtrack for Downward Facing Dog pose. Yoga music has become a made-to-order commodity, and rarely attains the level of art. The title Music for Yoga and Other Joys doesn't bode well, but then, it has Jai Uttal, a veteran of world fusion going back 15 years and a devotee of kirtan singing teaming up with multi-instrumentalist Ben Leinbach for a series of extended improvisations. Leinbach creates a shifting back drop of chilled, Indian-derived grooves and textures like liquid mercury dipped in a fractal swirl. It's a perfect modal backdrop for Uttal, who improvises freely on an Indian stringed instrument called the dotar, electric guitar, and even banjo. Pieces like the 26-minute "Govinda" extend in a free fall until a rhythm loop drops in. Uttal swaps to a fuzzed out electric guitar solo that eventually merges into an improvised kirtan, his voice coiling in note-bending spirals like soul singing from the east. This may be music for yoga, but it's the other joys that will keep you coming back. --John Diliberto
I like many things about this album. First, the pieces are generally long, particularly the first piece. This is nice when meditating or doing flow yoga. Secondly, while they do mesmerize and have a low bass beat, there are transitions within each song that are so brilliantly and seamlessly done that it is almost like having two or three melodies in one piece along with different soothing chanting. As a result, the pieces do not ramble given their length; rather, they lengthen out, change, and evolve while still keeping a steady recognizable beat.
A great album for chilling out, doing yoga, yin or flow.
First and foremost on this album is the music - a kind of jazzy, rock fusion, put in service to the chants. There is a patience in allowing themes and emotional ground to form. It is clearly a case where the journey is the important part, not some imagined destination. Anyway, the destination is the devotion embodied in these Hindu chants. If you submit to the journey, you will know the devotion throughout.
As one who chants vedas, as well as devotional chants, I found the Sanskrit, in spots, leaves something to be desired. Hindi-ization of Sanskrit is the frequent practice in many modern chant albums and it occurs to some degree in this album, as well. Additionally, the final piece, a series of sun salutations, loses some of its power due to the almost total swallowing of the OM which begins each salutation. This seems a pity, as the conception of the piece has the potential to be very focusing and humbling. I also had a great deal of trouble hearing the actual words clearly in this piece.
The voice of Jai Uttal and also of Nubia Teixeira in the last piece, "Surya," are excellent for these pieces. The instrumental work is both well crafted and, at the same time, creatively free to explore the meaning of each chant.
Again, this is a really beautiful album to listen to, even with the caveats above.
Anyway, he's good. And obviously a happy person, which is an added bonus that comes out in his music. Sheesh, there are so many unhappy people in this world, that the really happy ones tend to stick out. And *I'm* very glad to have Jai Uttal's music in my collection. Yup, pretty HAPPY. ;->