Gondwana Dawn Africa and India: United in Music and Harmony

Gondwana Dawn Africa and India: United in Music and Harmony
7
Taking its title from the mega-continent — when what is now Africa was joined to the Indian subcontinent — Africa and India: United in Music and Harmony is the combined vision of vocalist Vidushi Sumitra Guha and Grammy-winning composer, producer, African music authority and Soweto Gospel Choir producer Robin Hogarth. This record's impetus is rooted in a 2011 cultural exchange program, when a choir of eight South African schoolchildren visited New Delhi, with the intention of combining "the hymns of the Veda with the spirituality of Africa," as the liner notes declare. It's an honourable mission that, for the most part, succeeds nicely, thanks to some nicely polished production and a solid instrumental backdrop that fuses Western and Indian sounds. This is most notable on nine-minute-plus opener "The Dawn," where a haunting flute and Guha's reflective vocals give way to buoyant tabla, which is underscored nicely by funky electric bass and the celestial harmonies of the children's choir. A few duds abound — an overblown take on African traditional children's song "Push Push" is excusably short — but all is forgiven with the uplifting "Freedom Song," which marries an irresistible Zulu groove to raga, serving as a poignant reminder that Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela led their countries to freedom with comparable beliefs. (Arc)