Beautiful review of Beloved posted on The Daily OM. If you feel inspired, you can post a comment on it, too. Hugs to one and all.
Anyone who hears even one song is liable to become a fan of Ashana, a kirtan singer and gifted spirit player of crystal singing-bowls, who possesses a voice so clear and pure it melts even the most reticent of hearts. Beloved finds the singer teaming up with producer Thomas Barquee, who creates beautiful, sonically warm, and full yet invitingly spare settings for Ashana’s heavenly voice to soar to the heavens, and chakra-tingling singing bowls to slide to the root of your spine and activate all of your hidden prana, as if you’ve been waiting for this album all your life without even knowing it.
Each of these tracks is a full even unto itself, a chant you can repeat as you meditate, or a song you can cry in quiet joy as you move around the house. “The Aramaic Lord’s Prayer” is an initially solemn affair, with Ashana gently reciting the Aramaic words until her voice seems to sprout wings and fly in a beautiful melodic bridge, later stepping aside altogether for a moody cello solo. “Deep Peace” has a standing-still-in-time feeling with smooth vocal tones washing over gently struck tablas and gentle piano refrains working slowly in the background, as if afraid they might disturb Ashana from her profound trance. She hits high notes with an effortlessness that is as natural as the ambient bird noises occasionally fluttering in the background. “Peace” was originally written as a testimonial of love for a deceased friend, and Ashana sings, “Moon and stars / Pour their healing light on you / Deep peace to you / Deep peace to you.”
The final track is the popular chant “Wahe Guru,” which pulses with Ashana’s deeply felt attention as she provides her own multitracked vocal counterpoint over soft percussion and acoustic guitar. Ashana notes that the title “Wahe Guru” means “wonderful lord” in Gurumukhi but “Yogi Bhajan, who brought Kundalini yoga and Sikhism to the West, translated it even more deliciously as ‘Indescribable Ecstasy!’” When Ashana sings the words of this infectious, stirring mantra, you feel that ecstasy; as if all the pop songs you ever rocked out to on the radio in the summer were all beaming back to you in a sudden euphoric rush. With this album Ashana has created an oasis, a sun-dappled island in the cosmic stream, where selfless love strikes an eternal chord, and every little smudge and streak is gently wiped from your inner windows until all is as bright within as without. All you need to do is press play and let Beloved take you to where deep peace dwells.