2010 / Shambhu Ltd.
Sacred Love is a fascinating and inspiring collection of twelve pieces composed and performed by guitar virtuoso Shambhu and co-produced by Grammy Award-winning Windham Hill-founder Will Ackerman. Styles range from quiet meditations to Indian-jazz fusion, and some very impressive musicians join Shambhu on a wide variety of instruments. To quote Shambhu: “my work has one goal: to convey a celestial abode in music and superb musicianship that invite listeners to explore, enjoy and reflect within…. Sacred Love invites full-on, soulful listening.” While it’s true that this music won’t stay in the background, it can provide a colorful backdrop for other activities. The blending of Eastern and Western musical traditions gives Shambhu’s music a very distinctive sound, and the incredible team of Ackerman and engineer Corin Nelsen makes the quality of that sound as close to perfection as it can get.
Sacred Love opens with “Together,” a joyful and optimistic piece that features Charlie Bisharat on violin, Premik Russell Tubbs on wind synth, and Tony Levin on bass – a great beginning! “Edge of Eternal” is quieter and more subdued, and features Imaginary Road regulars Jill Haley on English horn, Eugene Friesen on cello, and Noah Wilding on wordless vocals – lovely! “Eyes of a Child” is a gorgeous guitar solo that “expresses the illumination of a child who still marvels at the beauty of simplicity and the simplicity of beauty.” My favorite track is “Natural Moment,” a lively and upbeat celebration of oneness and cultural diversity. Shambhu performs on guitars, sitar, synth pads, and kalimba backed by Tony Levin, Charlie Bisharat, Jeff Haynes (percussion), and Rocky Fretz (piano). If you can keep your body still while listening to this one, you really need to loosen up a bit! “Revelation” is another favorite. It begins as a graceful duet for guitar and cello, later adding English horn, bass, and light percussion. A slow, tranquil flow creates a musical daydream. “Maui Breeze” is as light and refreshing as its title. Claytoven Richardson (vocals) and Jeff Oster (flugelhorn) also appear on this track. “Shiva Grove” is an east/west jazz fusion with sax (George Brooks) and flute (Ravichandra Kulur) soaring over the chordal guitar foundation. “Humility” is the concluding bonus track, and is a duet for guitar and flute (Kulur). Also an east/west fusion, it conveys gratitude and humility before “the Source of Creation” and brings this exciting album to a close.
There is a 25-webisode series on the making of Sacred Love on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/shambhumusic) that is well worth checking out. The album is available from ShambhuMusic.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!