'NADA BRAHMA was my fourth album for Indipop Records. I recorded it during
a hectic 24-month phase between 1983 and 1985 that produced a total of
four albums. It was a period in my life characterised by rebellion. A
time that was triggered by me less-than-happy experiences with a major
record company towards the end of my contract with them as the lead singer
of Monsoon (a then radical Asian fusion band).
By the time I was 17, I had glimpsed at the music industrys potential
to turn me into a machine for turning out artistic product. I refused
to let myself become that. So, at 18, I signed to a tiny independent label
called Indipop where I could continue my musical apprenticeship in the
field of Asian fusion.
During this four-album period for Indipop, I did not perform live, decided
not to release singles and did very little promotion. Consequently, I
was able to devote my time exclusively to the creative process in the
studio. In spite of the lack of promotion, my albums were selling well
by word of mouth to a small, dedicated following around the world.
With no marketing or commercial restrictions on me, I really enjoyed
the arena of musical freedom I had created. At the time, so little had
been done in the Asian fusion area, particularly vocally, that the field
was wide open and there were many musical ideas I wanted to explore.
For instance, on this album, Nada Brahma (Sound is Divine) is
a 27-minute piece loosely based on Raga Jog. Having established
the raga (fixed note scale) and deciding there would be no drums
or lyrics, we went off to write the various themes and variations. We
were playing around with the limits of what an audience would accept,
with unusual musical arrangements and structures, and with the voice as
I enjoyed writing by myself, but it was also good to have two other
writers Steve Coe and Martin Smith each of whom knew my
voice and were working to the same end in a musical style that was still
embryonic, evolving, and which had no contemporary comparison.
Looking back, I think my willingness to push my voice creatively into
new areas (which were often not pretty vocally) was fuelled
by the knowledge that I had complete creative control over the recordings.
If I didnt like the track or the final mix, Indipop couldnt
release it. It gave me the confidence to be on the edge artistically and
that, in turn, provided Indipop with some unique recordings.
Sheila Chandra 1995