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Music Review - Peace In Progress By Manisha Shahane

Chitra Parayath

(This article is sponsored by Sounds of India)

Singer-songwriter, and area artist Manisha Shahane’s debut album ‘Peace in Progress’ incorporates the structures and rhythmic patterns of Indian folk and traditional music into a jazz framework to create a fresh and vibrant new sound.

Reflecting the increasing influence of Indian music on the fusion music scene, Shahane’s compositions have the power to surprise as well to take one back in time and space. Although firmly rooted in the Indian traditional style, she clearly has universal appeal. Her charming Marathi verses transport you to distant lands and a bygone era.

Shahane has created a truly unique listening experience, a lilting, gentle, eastern sound that is kind to western ears. With influences from folk, jazz, and Indian traditional, it manages to achieve that elusive ‘best of both worlds’ medium.

‘Peace in progress’ was recorded primarily in the Boston area and features Manisha Shahane’s voice, Blake Newman on acoustic bass and Jerry Leake on tabla/percussion. It also includes appearances by notable area musicians like guitarists Kevin Barry, Prasanna and Raj Banerjee: percussionist Ricardo Monzon, drummer Mathew Taylor, Dominique Gagne on flute and contributions by Shahane’s parents. Every member and guest melding their styles to create a set of laid-back tunes and sublime music.

The tracks ‘Shyam Rao Chi Mulgi’ and ‘Clumsy’ are the most stimulating songs here: tastefully melodic both vocally and rhythmically. ‘Something in your Voice’ and ‘Imaginary Train’ beg repeated playing. They are lilting acoustic delights with fine singing and playing. Most tracks in the album feel both authentic and accessible. Her lyrics are simple yet deep, and reflect skill in language and poetry.

In her preface to the album, Manisha writes, ”I used to believe that conflicting internal commentary, misunderstandings in our homes and communities, and wars of all kinds obstructed peace, until I realized that navigating this terrain is part of our collective peace in progress. This album is a piece in progress - the moments of imperfection are healing when embraced, reflecting my own peace in progress.”

Highly recommended overall. Clips of tracks are available both on www.manishamusic.com and at www.CDFreedom.com.

Manisha , although from Virginia , planted roots in New England several years ago. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, The Tuck School of Business and Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
She has had the opportunity to share the stage with artists such as pianists Frank Wilkins & Vince Evans, bassists Brian McCree and Tim Engles, vocalist Ron Murphy, and poet/performer Regie Gibson, among many other talented people. In the course of performing her original piano/vox compositions in trio format or with a larger band, she has worked with bassists Blake Newman, Ippei Ichimaru, and and Thomas Hebb and percussionists Jerry Leake (tabla and more), Alvin Terry, Eric Platz and Ko Kanza

Says Shahane “Although it is technically my debut album as a "solo" artist, it is the product of many minds and hearts. The biggest challenge for me was learning how to let go and allow the people I had entrusted to do what they do best. The CD itself is 45-minutes long and comes with an 8-page color insert with images, sketches, lyrics, credits, and stories about how some of the pieces were developed. I sing and play piano on the album, which consists mostly of my original music with lyrics primarily in English, although there are some Marathi lyrics as well.
Producer Dan Cantor (Jim's Big Ego) of Notable Productions hops on the drums for a couple of tunes, adding texture to alternating moods and time signatures, as the album ranges from the simplicity of a vocal/tabla duet to the rich, deep sounds of the sordo, and an exospheric electric guitar.”
Not only did the musicians play what the songs asked of them, but they also adorned them with heartfelt improvisation, for which I am grateful beyond words.
The album is dedicated to my late grandmother who often asked me when my cassette" would be ready (often even before she'd asked me when I planned to marry!)

For those of you who would like to hear Manisha live , here is an opportunity you may not want to miss, She will be singing Indian songs at a special free concert on Friday, January 23rd, at 8:30pm, Brown Hall, New England Conservatory. Another singer, who is a North Indian classical vocalist, Soma Sarkar, will also make a presentation of her singing in the classical vein.

You may use a check, e-check, or credit card to purchase CDs at the introductory sale price of US$12.99 each (plus S&H, depending on where you are based) by:

Clicking on this link http://www.cdfreedom.com/manishashahane

OR Calling 1-800-937-3397 from 10am-6pm EST Monday-Friday

OR Writing to:
c/o Artist Development Associates
47 Mellen Street, Framingham, MA 01702

Signed copies of the CD are available for US$15 by writing to Manisha directly. Please send a check payable to Manisha Shahane, P.O. Box 391753, Cambridge, MA 01239 for US$18.00 ($15 + $3 to cover shipping and handling in the US) and indicate “signed copy” in the memo section of the check. Please allow 7 to 10 business days for delivery in the US and be sure to clearly state the name and address to which the CD should be mailed. Clips of tracks are available both on Manisha’s website manisha music and at CDFreedom.com.

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