Edward Powell,
(independent, 2007)

Edward Powell is one talented guy, playing a number of string instruments on this CD, including the sitar.

Powell is no Ravi Shankar, as you might expect. But being a Westerner, he makes Indian music more accessible to American listeners. Powell also plays fretless and slide guitar, but he tunes them to Eastern-sounding scales.

It is difficult to describe these eight "East meets West" compositions. Powell plays Eastern-inspired "riffs," but he has a Western sense of rhythm and time structure. He and a few others also sing, in a folk style not related to Indian classical music.

He is backed by instruments from many continents, bass from our shores and tabla and other hand percussion from others. There is also a kalimba (thumb piano) on one cut, and Powell plays the baritone oud on two tracks.

The most notable is the nearly 14-minute title track. Beginning slowly with sitar like an Indian raga, Powell does wordless vocals and plays a multitude of instruments on this haunting track, backed only by a percussive loop.

Powell has both a true affinity for Indian music and compositional skills that let him successfully introduce seemingly disparate elements into his work. This is a recommended listen for those who like both instrumental and Eastern music.

review by
Dave Howell

26 January 2008

what's new