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Kavita Shah


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Kavita Shah - VISIONS (EPK)
OJU OBA - Kavita Shah & Lionel Loueke
Kavita Shah, Live in The Greene Space
Reportagem da Televisio de Cabo Verde
1 Sodade
2 Visions
3 Little Green
4 Tabla Interlude
5 Paper Planes
6 Triste
7 Moray
8 Deluge
9 Oju Oba
10 My Time Is When
11 Rag Desh: Alaap
12 Rag Desh: Teentaal Gat
13 Rag Desh: Meltdown
14 Sodade Postlude
15 When
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A vivid self-portrait in mosaic form, Kavita Shah's Visions (available May 27 on Greg Osby's Inner Circle Music) heralds the arrival of a strikingly original, globally minded new voice. The gifted vocalist/composer brings together a rich variety of musical, cultural, and personal influences into a formidable debut album that combines a jazz quintet with Indian tablas and the West African kora.

Visions interweaves Shah's multicultural background (she's a native New Yorker of Indian descent fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and French) with her wide-ranging musical tastes (reared on 90s hip-hop, Afro-Cuban music, and bossa nova, she studied jazz voice and classical piano) and her fascination with ethnomusicology (which she studied at Harvard). The album was co-produced by the renowned Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke, a kindred spirit who shares the singer's cohesive view of a multi-hued musical experience.

"My experience of diaspora has not exactly been linear, but more like a kaleidoscope. So musically, I wanted to bring together different elements that I love, and combine them in a way that may be surprising to others but makes sense to me," Shah says. "We have one sound," adds Loueke. "You listen to the album from the beginning to the end, and even if the textures are different, it has a unity."

Shah's own cultural heritage pointed to some unexpected directions. Her paternal grandfather moved from Mumbai to New York in the 1940s, a full generation before immigration from South Asia became common. After witnessing the birth of the United Nations, he returned to India as the first publisher to bring American books to the country, and Shah's father later retraced his path to New York to attend college. Shah's mother was one of 13 children, born to a father who insisted on educating his daughters rather than simply marrying them off; music, seen as a distraction, was forbidden. "I didn't grow up in a traditional household," Shah recalls. "My parents wanted to expose me to music, an opportunity they didn't have growing up, but not just to Hindi film songs or Indian classical music. They immigrated to New York in the 1970s, so there was a lot of pop in the house: The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra." Both sides of that early musical diversity are represented on Visions: Shah sings Joni Mitchell's "Little Green" and Stevie Wonder's "Visions," while one of her first collaborators on the project was tabla player Stephen Cellucci. The two met while working on tabla virtuoso Samir Chatterjee's project "Rabi Thakur."

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