7/10/2014

New Age Instrumental Review: Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman-Winds of Samsara

Release Date: July 2014
Label: Listen 2 Africa

If you are looking for an album of peace and positivity, look no further than Winds of Samsara. Over one hundred and twenty stellar musicians went into the making of this epic album of love and light. Featuring tracks highlighting the lives of Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi amongst others, Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman have created a pattern of starry skies and moonlit wonders as vast as the heavens. 

Some of the contributing artists are: Wouter Kellerman (flute, fife), Ricky Kej (bass, keyboard), Ciro Hurtado (guitar), Prakash Sontakke (vocals, Hawaiian guitar), Vanil Veigas (keyboard, Santoor), Keerthy Narayan (keyboard, orchestral arrangements, synth), Cochin Chamber (string section), Manoj George (choral arrangements), Bangalore Women’s Choir (choir), Varsha Gowda (percussion), Lamine Sonko (vocals), Janine Maunder (vocals), Angela Librandi (vocals), Joe Creighton (vocals), Tholsi Pillay (keyboard), Gopi (Indian vocals), Mauritz Lotz (guitar, programming), Vinnie Henrico (drums), Veena Biju, Chaithra HG (vocals), Gayathri Suresh (vocals), Denny Lalouette (bass) and many others. This album is chock full of amazing performers who light up the album with their talents. If I could give a higher score than 5/5 I would in a heartbeat. 

“Heaven is Here” begins with eloquent meditative flute sounds paired with atmospheric spaces and chanting. The keyboards bring balance, as do the Santoor, bass flute, Sitar and percussive elements. The highlights for me were the soothing feminine vocals from Alexis D’Souza and scat vocals from Jyoti Venkatraman. Kej and Kellerman are simply rapturous in this piece. Heaven could not sound any more soothing or in tune. The textures layer and weave in amongst themselves to band into a cohesive sound fit for the ears of the angels themselves.

“Remembrance” also named “Greensleeves” is a classic we have heard many times before. Just not quite like this. Edgy flute blended with hollow sounds and ethereal landscapes brings this piece to life. Synth, guitar, bass, piano, cello, the magical Sitar, drums and soothing vocals twist and wind around you like a vine from a village hidden in time. This piece brings to mind the elegant ladies of medieval days and Renaissance fairs. 

“Nocturne” is the final track on the album and features classical pianist Michael Lewin. Kej, Kellerman and Lewin have quite the reenactment of Chopin’s composition. There is a fusion here of flute and piano with vocals drifting in and out like cloud formations. Emotionally infused, this piece will take you back in time to memories of things loved and lost and found again. It is simply breathtaking.

Winds of Samsara is a breathtaking effort by hundreds of artists and it stands out in a crowd. In many New Age albums, one track leads into another without much to distinguish between the pieces. This is not the case here. Each composition stands for something and is audibly different. From a tribute to Nelson Mandela to a resurgence of Chopin’s magnificence, this album captures classic sound and infuses it with Indian influences; World Music, unique instruments and vocals that will make your heart sing or weep as the emotion takes you. I have listened to it for over a week and have not gotten tired of it once. Let this album wake you up in the morning and tuck you in at night. It is a soothing cup of tea for the soul and I highly recommend it.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Heaven is Here, Remembrance, Nocturne

Tracks:
 01. Mahatma (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
02. New Earth Calling (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
03. Crystal Moon (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
04. Madiba (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
05. Longing (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
06. Heaven Is Here (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
07. River of Time (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
08. Eyes of Wonder (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
09. Remembrance (Greensleeves) (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
10. Journey to Higher Grounds (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
11. Mountain Solitude (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
12. Desert Wind (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman)
13. Grace (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman featuring Fiona Joy)
14. Nocturne (Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman featuring Michael Lewin)

 
Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer

July 10, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

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