Dave Dale & Nadaji
Dave Dale and Nadaji have created a sound that translates the timeless wisdom of mantra to the universal language of rock, revealing the emotional potency residing within these sacred healing chants.
Dave Dale first met West Coast vocalist, yoga devotee, and harmonium player Nadaji while playing percussion for her devotional music group. The pair clicked and set off in new directions together, with Dale switching to guitar to create fun, free-spirited, yet powerful rock-influenced kirtan music. You can hear it on their big partnership debut, Mantra Rocks.
In the album, Dale uses cycling guitar strums as a form of soothing hypnotic repetition, taking the opening track, "Om Namah Shivaya," into hypnotic rock territory. "Save my soul / Hare Krishna," goes the chorus, which bounces off well-placed finger cymbals, and Nadaji's harmonium breathes in back-of-your-neck-tingling waves.
The harmonium and guitar have a good rapport throughout the album.
At times one even forgets if the main vocalist is Nadaji or Dale; their voices intermingle quite well in a field of delirious echo. Even the usually staid "Om Guru" gets a rock makeover on this joyous album, with a choogling beat and stutter-stop vocals that bounce inside a funky percussive space alongside flourishes of backward electric guitar. It's an infectious version of the classic kirtan, bound to get even the most sedate up and feeling newly ignited prana shooting through their nervous systems.
The most affecting tracks bring in a slightly more wistful, ballad-style mood. The beautiful and affecting "Lokah Samastah" shuffles slowly on a jangling beat with long harmonium notes, laid-back percussion, and acoustic guitar; its barefoot ease mixes with wandering sadness like a broken heart or purple rain cloud coming along the sunny horizon. Their voices are beautiful and serious, as if this is an alternative romantic rock song as much as a kirtan. There's a feeling on Mantra Rocks that Dave Dale and Nadaji have tapped into something strong and ephemeral.
As with all the best mantra albums, the everyday sorrows of the world are included in their stew, for true grace encompasses all things. Peace found in the ashram can do no more than give you the courage to face it all with a more open heart, the kind of heart that processes calamity as growth, and a guitar and harmonium can open the doors of the heart like a key of liquid light.
Perhaps one of the more inventive albums recently released in my memory and most importantly my favorite! If you longed for a contemporary rock interpretation of some of the worlds most classic meditation mantra then this album is certainly a winner.
Mostly comprised of medium length psycho-spiritual melodies that always seem to evoke a sense of inspiration and self-discovery. What better way to link ancient understandings of human spirtituality with modern conceptualization of artistry and music!? It's a dynamic we're seeing all over the world as ancient civilizations grow to become modern super powers. I can't think of a better sound for the generations of the 21st century.
Not sure really how to classify this album as a genre but i couldn't help put compare this In my mind with the 2009 Shpongle release "ineffable mysteries of shpongle land". While the album itself would definately be classified in a seperate genre all together, I think the spiritual intent between the two albums remains almost identical.
Also as a side note: i would say it's nearly impossible to listen to a track on the album and not smile. Actually, yes, it's quite impossible...excellent album! Reviewed by Dhara Lemos, Lotus Guide The blending of cultures has been the creative spark for many innovations in life. Mantra Rocks is an incredible blending of rock and roll and Eastern mantras that can only be experienced.
So if you want to put a little soul in your rock and roll and listen to mantras in a way you have never imagined, you need to have this CD and see what happens when East meets West.
Reviewed by Punjab64 February 2011