''Most traditions include the components of drone, either heard or
implied, and ornaments for the voice. Where are the boundaries? I feel
gratitude for all those singers who've inspired me from among them
I claim a new set of ancestors and give them voice.
'Sheila Chandra is the only Asian singer to have had mainstream chart
success in the UK in the '80s. Ever So Lonely, Monsoon's Top Ten hit of
'82 and her subsequent five solo albums have been instrumental in getting
audiences around the world to accept the sounds and structure of another
culture as 'pop music'. After Monsoon, Sheila forged an independent career
choosing to experiment with her voice, exploring it as an instrument and
pioneering new possibilities for Asian fusion music.
'The ancestors of this album are spiritual those singers that
have gone before me and provide me with my inspiration. Interestingly
enough none of my family in India were professional singers and, although
within that culture people sang more freely in everyday life, the 'ancestors'
here could not be genetic ones!'Some people seem to be interested in analysing
the differences between different cultures and traditions. I'm interested
in comparing the similarities and weaving them together to take
threads of thought that come from different techniques and singers and
weave them into my own pattern.
'The voice is the first and ultimate instrument it is the one
means of expression used by every culture. Although different instruments
often have relationships with each other across the continents, they come
in different forms, they are played differently... but the voice remains
biologically the same across all people. The means by which it is used,
the sounds different peoples choose to emulate, is fascinating. The voice
is connected to your blood supply! Because of this biological relationship,
it is always going to be closer to your instinct, your soul and your emotion
rather than your intellect. The spirit of my ancestors is more
accessible to me via the voice it links into all cultures throughout
'One culture's way of expressing something is just as valid as another's.
I am fortunate to live in a time when a century of recordings of great
singers from around the world are available to me hearing their
means of expression enriches my own.