We are all one people. That bears reiterating, and is probably why 12-string steel guitarist Ross Hammond and Indian Carnatic singer Jay Nair have repeated their musical collaboration; Hope follows the duo's 2018 release Songs of Universal Peace (Prescott Recordings) as they reconvene to spread their message once again.
One may ask what does an Appalachian folk/delta blues guitarist have in common with a classical Indian Hindu singer? Well nothing, yet everything. Just as John Coltrane borrowed from Indian music for his composition "India" and, yes, his take on "My Favorite Things," Hammond mines the same intersection. Except, this time around, we are not talking about borrowing, nor are we edging into fusion. Hammond and Nair are navigating an Esperanto-like language, one you need not be proficient in to understand.
Throughout, the music achieves a buoyancy with Hammond's brightened sound which rings from either his steel or resonator guitar. His sound is married to Nair's vocals, never mind that the words are alien to English speakers, they are anything but unfamiliar. Unlike their first outing, where they were discovering intersections between the two cultures, here they are one. It is not crossroads music as much as lanes merging into a selfsame direction. Their sounds are beautiful, sacred, and a perfect universal match.
Mother Of Compassion; Radhika; Ocean Of Bliss; Rain Of Blessings; Bhairavi.
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