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Listen, by Sat Kartar. Spirit Voyage Music; spiritvoyage.com.
An inspired American interpreter of traditional Sikh mantras, Sat Kartar gently pushes the stylistic boundaries of chant music. Kartar’s new album, Listen, is her most adventurous yet. In it, she weaves a diverse set of music styles into a compelling aural experience.
Listen expands beautifully on her previous album, Flow. Thomas Barquee produced both discs, which highlight the devotional singer’s warm, evocative voice. But Listen encompasses a broader range of styles, blending trip-hop tabla, yearning Dire Straits-like guitars, shimmering musical impressionism, and suave pop balladry. One piece, “Laya Yoga,” even incorporates the theme of the “Arabian Dance,” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet Suite.
Setting traditional Sikh mantras to strains of classical, rock, and pop, Kartar draws you deep into the music. Hence the album’s title: The disc’s main theme is deep listening—the kind that happens during a spiritual teaching, meditation, or asana class. Yet for all its stylistic wanderlust, Listen never loses its focus.