Artist: Radha Botofasina
Album: Aspirations of the Heart
Her album, “Aspirations of the Heart,” features Persian, Indian and Afghani musicians, jazz artists, and several members of the Buena Vista Social Club/Orquestra de Ibrahim Ferrer. Some of the artists featured are Ravi and Oran Coltrane playing together on an instrumental version of “Narayana.”
In meditation, a song was given about Afghanistan. It is called the “Seeds of War.” Radha wanted to donate this music to every peace rally in the world. It has been translated and sung in five different languages: Pashtoo, Urdu, Farsi, Spanish and English. She has Sharzad Sepanlou, a Farsi singer, on one version, and Afghani singer A. Bahar on the Pashtoo version. The Spanish and Urdu version is not included on this CD.
Radha visited Ndola, Zambia to record and produce an album of traditional Zambian devotional songs. It was done at the Miracle School of Zambia and 20 young male students sang over 25 songs. They wanted to sing a track with Radha's music and they were included on “Oyaheya”which is in “Aspirations of the Heart.” It was recorded in Zambia with rhythm tracks made by John Barnes in Los Angeles.
In Cuba, Radha and Baker Bigsby (sound engineer) traveled to Havana and spent a week recording “Una Promesa,” “Govinda Narayan” and “Adolfo's Alegria” with some of the members of Buena Vista Social Club and Rohidas band. They are beautiful tracks full of the Cuban energy and virtuosity.
Music is an international language that Radha speaks fluently. All from the heart and all about the universal soul.
- “...[Radha Botofasina] put together an album of devotional music on which members of the Buena Vista Social Club, the celeberated Cuban band, have performed. One is a story about Narayana, sung in Spanish by Radha, El Dador de Paz en nuestra alma, or You are the Giver of Peace in our soul. Another features a male Zambian chorus singing Nama Krishna, Vasudeva, along with vocals by an Indian woman named Sandhya [Sanjana].
“A line from the slain rapper Tupac Shakur, about a rose growing from the concrete, is the intro to ‘Life's Pathways.’ She wrote it after hearing of four high school kids who made a suicide pact.
“It's an interesting swirl, unlike anything I've heard simply because the Hindu elements have been so wholly absorbed by a sound that we normally think of as American or as urban multicultural. Unlike many crossovers, however, where the Indian aspects operate at the level of technique or embellishment, the spiritual aspects seemed to drive each song. But the fact that many of the songs incorporate Western languages, poetic idioms and melodies gives it a far more contemporary feel.”
— Arun Venugopal, India Abroad Magazine
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