I Hear Sparks: Manisha Shahane - When Parallel Lines Meet
Blog Critics Music
May 23, 2010
By Jordan Richardson
Using elements of folk, classical, and jazz, Manisha Shahane’s When
Parallel Lines Meet is an eclectic and invigorating journey through
countless international flavors. The Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter
is a marvelous performer and her pristine vocals only prove that this
sublime blending of sounds and tones is no accident.
sophomore release is a delicate mix of contemporary and traditional works.
Like a global voyage with no limits, When Parallel Lines Meet is an
adventure through cultures and countries that proves incredibly satisfying
Shahane took her inspiration from her mother,
Shirish, and began performing at the age of six. Hearing Indian songs
around her childhood home served as a powerful form of inspiration as well
and it wasn’t long before Manisha was studying classical piano and writing
poetry. She sang with the Virginia All-State Chorus and attended the
Governor’s School for the Arts, too, eventually studying with Charlie
Listening to Shahane’s work, it’s not at all surprising
that she’s lived and worked in a number of countries, including Austria,
Singapore, Hungary, Israel, England, and India. Her international
experiences have doubtlessly proved most influential.
begins with “Girls Gone World,” a smart and sassy bit of music that uses
elements of Indian music. Shahane sings in English, French, German, and
Japanese on the track and even tosses in some phrases in other dialects as
well. She calls it “music of this universe” and effortlessly swings in
Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo for some spoken-word portions for good measure.
When Parallel Lines Meet carries on with the jazz-tinged “Mother Don’t
Cry” and “Remember This Day.” Both tracks make great use of Blake Newman’s
upright bass with thick slabs of style. Shahane pulls us in with her piano
playing, but it’s her clear vocals that really captivate.
take a turn with “Mrs. Underwood,” one of my favorite tracks on the album.
A poignant folk number, the tune is a measured and evolving piece that
allows Kevin Barry’s lap steel to shine. Shahane’s vocals still feature a
wink of that Indian heritage, of course, and that makes her roots-tinged
tone all the more intriguing.
Whether she’s singing in Hindi (“How
Things Change”) or belting out soulful lyrics in English, Shahane proves
to be a singer and songwriter worth taking note of. Her ability to draw
listeners in with various styles is remarkable and many will be mesmerized
by her transitions and the clarity of her tone. When Parallel Lines Meet
is a unique experience, an album tinged with international flavor and the
aroma of home.