03 Vandana Vishwas KabeeraKabeera The Thinker
Vandana Vishwas
Independent VV004 (vandanavishwas.com)

After a couple of albums in which Vandana Vishwas bent like a reed in the wind, allowing her Indian cultural topography to collide with her experience of Western contemporary music, the luminous-voiced singer looks inward, to the ancient Indian roots that sustain her artistry. 

The album, Kabeera – The Thinker… takes the poetry of the 15th-century Northern Indian mystic, Kabir but sets it to music with a wholly modern sensibility. 

Vishwas’ lofty vocals seem to create a stratospheric atmosphere in keeping with the mysticism of the lyricist and central character of these songs – that is Kabir whose philosophical minstrelsy (at the height of his powers) is purported to have dramatically altered religious thought not simply within Hinduism, but also among Sikhism. Remarkably, so deeply mystical were Kabir’s verses that he was also embraced by the Muslim Sufi, who shared a similar mystical relationship with God.

Much of Kabir’s poetic output was originally written in Bhojpuri, a Northern Indian dialect in the region where Kabir was born and raised. It is a testament to the preservation of Indian culture that Bhojpuri is still in use in that linguistic heartland, where wandering minstrels still write lyrics to their devotional songs.

The music of Kabeera – The Thinker… may have a more focussed appeal as Vishwas sings all the lyrics in Hindi. But her lustrous voice is seductive, beckoning listeners to dig deeper into the world of this legendary Indian mystic.

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