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L. Shankar

Christmas From India

Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed another disc from L. Shankar. His double violin is unique as instrument, and his playing is equally intriguing and unusual. Here he tackles a number of holiday classics, bringing his brand of world music, fusion and prog based sounds. This is mostly instrumental, but a few songs have vocals. It's quite an entertaining set.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Jingle Bells
This holiday classic gets a gentle and playful telling here. The instrumental section takes it in some cool directions. The only vocals on this deliver  the main line of the chorus.
All I Want For Christmas Is You
I really love the violin as this gets underway. This instrumental really has a lot of magic built into it. There is plenty of world music in the mix, but also prog. The melodies are used in such a way as to allow the song to be recognizable, but not impede exploration of other musical concepts.
The First Noel
This is a bit more traditional in its arrangement, but still has plenty of proggy and world texture in the mix. The instrumental movement later brings some intriguing variations.
We Wish You A Merry Christmas
I dig the sort of modern music meets traditional vibe on this tune.
O Holy Night
While this definitely has plenty of Indian music leanings, it's largely a traditional tune.
Do They Know It’s Christmas?
I really like this tune a lot. It features plenty of the melodies from the original. It also has a lot of Indian music and some proggy concepts at play. There are some vocals later, but a lot of this is purely instrumental.
Deck The Halls
This instrumental is exactly what you'd expect. It's a fun and effective number.
O Christmas Tree
Another that's sort of right in the zone you'd expect, melodic proggy music with world music leanings, this instrumental is another effective one.
Christmas Time
Another instrumental, this is also another solid tune.
Silent Night
This is a particularly strong rendition without really changing the concept. It just really works so well.
Joy To The World
Here we get another strong instrumental take with the usual leanings. The violin gets positively incendiary at times.
Last Christmas
This one has vocals. I'd say that if anything, this is closer to the original than the rest of the stuff here. That said, there is still plenty of Indian musical texture along with other intriguing elements.
Saviour
This is back in the instrumental zone. It's another solid cut, and a great closer.
 
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