Tweepleblog Reviews Peace in Progress
By David Niall Wilson
Posted: Feb 25, 2009
For a profile of the artist, the Tweepleblog post is
This CD is an eclectic, jazzy, folksy mix of several styles of music that
somehow blend to a single unique “voice”. The CD Description from her website
is as follows:
“Manisha Shahane’s music sounds as if Claude Debussy and McCoy Tyner are
vying for Suzanne Vega’s attention in Bollywood. Produced by Daniel Cantor
and Shahane at Notable Productions in Boston, her full-length debut features
original songs rooted in folk, jazz, Western classical, and Indian
traditions. Juxtapose grooving modern bass lines with late 19th century piano
composition, layer it with Indian pop sensibilities, and you’ll begin to
udnerstand what Manisha’s music is about.
Peace in Progress features Shahane on voice an piano, Blake Newman on
acoustic bass (Jeff Robinson Trio), and Jerry Leake on tabla/percussion (Club
D’elf, Ali Akbar Khan). This bilingual album, which received airplay on 30
radio stations nationwide and even one in Israel, features songs that draw
upon her childhood in southern Virginia and her Mahrashtrian heritage.
Recorded primarily in the Boston area, Peace in Progress includes appearancse
by notable area musicians like guitarsists Kevin Barry (Mary Chapin
Carpenter), Prasnana (Joe Lovano, Hari Prasad Chaurasia), and Raj Banerjee;
percussionist Ricardo Monzon (Myanna, Boston Pops), drummer Matthew Taylor,
Dominique Gagne on flute, and even Shahane’s parents. Producer Dan Cantor
(Jim’s Big Ego) also hops on the drums for a couple of tunes, adding texture
to Shahane’s alternating moods and time signatures, as the album ranges from
the simplicy of a vocal/tabla duet to the rich deep sounds of the sordo, and
an exospheric electric guitar.”
My own impressions - track by track:
1. Collage - A very eclectic, jazz-rooted song with
some spoken word mixed into the lyrics. This piece almost has the feel of a
chant, at times.
2. Shyam Rao-chi Mulgee (The Daughter of Shyam Roa) - Beautiful
vocals, a song that tells a story in two languages. It has a whimsical, 1960s
folk music feel.
3. Imaginary Train - A whimsical piece with great lyrics and a very
catchy rhytm. My favorite lyric from the album is in this one, “The next
train they say, is to Imaginary Bay, which is eroding the west coast of
logic…” The drums and background in this tune (and several others) have a
sort of lingering hint of Jethro Tull.
4. Clumsy - this song reminds me of Tori Amos - passionate vocals with
piano accompaniment. Absolutely gorgeous vocals and harmony.
5. What I Want to Know - a sultry jazzy, very sultry peace. A
6. Peace in Progress - the title track - This one is very 1960s
folksy, I can imagine Manisha performing this on stage along with music by
Joni Mitchell or Joan Baez.
7. Nachre Mora - (Cance Peacock) - Though I understand none of the
lyrics, this is a very melodic song. The percussion is very complex, and some
of the melody is provided by drums. I liked this particular track quite a
8. Something in Your Voice - this is an eerie, harmonic, moody piece.
Drums and flutes run patterns around and through the vocals, and again I was
reminded of Jethro Tull..
9. Where the OCean Greets the Sky - A bit more standard rhythms and
bass…piano featured…soft, soothing vocals….very nice.
10. Willows - The song that set her on this path of piano-accompanied
11. Love Sheets - Very catchy and complex …rhytmic and quick-paced…the
lyrics are obviously close to the artist’s heart.
I very much enjoyed this CD, and would recommend it to anyone
with a jazz, folk, or eclectic taste. There are several tracks that would be
at home in a more pop environment, while there is a passion and power to all
of this music that goes beyond the usual plastic and glitter of the music
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