As a reviewer, I’m meant to have a rich repository of adjectives right at my fingertips, poised to describe the things I am seeing, hearing and reading, but my only thought within the first minute and a half of listening to Saraswati Dreams was ‘Wow’.
Just ‘Wow’. Nothing else.
Saraswati Dreams — written by Jaya Lakshmi and Anada is one of those rare recordings that grabs you immediately. It’s heavenly. The opening notes are plucked from gentle acoustic guitar. Mellifluous flutes dancea nd Jaya Lakshmi’s beautiful vocals are a triumph of melody and texture in “The River Song”, the opening kirtan on this extraordinary album.
With roots in India, kirtans are a form of non-denominational spiritual singalong, with lyrics from ancient chants in Sanskrit, from Punjabi and Hindu traditions. Saraswati Dreams brings a contemporary edge to songs drawn from age-old spiritual traditions.
Not only are kirtans a blissful form of escapism for listening pleasure, they are commonly used as a relaxing soundtrack for yoga, meditation, massage and healing therapies. Highlights include a stunning version of the Gayatri Mantra, the uplifting Govinda Jaya Jaya and a rousing version of Shiva Parvati, better known as Om Namaha Shivaya.
The entire recording is a concept album of sorts, inspired by the artists’ vision of a boat ride down a sacred river in India. Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda want to transport you to the transcendental plane, a place where you can experience the essence of deities as each song unfolds.Fans of Deva Premal and Donna Delory will find much to admire.
Reviewed by Mel Sorini
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