The Road To Byblos - Crosswinds
Crosswinds is a truly beautiful flute-based album; calming, evocative, and inspiring. The emotionally intelligent flute playing of Rajendra Teredesai resounds wonderfully here on an album that features flutes from around the world, including the bansuri (an Indian bamboo flute), Native American flutes, Chinese, Balinese, and Arabian flutes. Each of the nine extended songs tells a unique story and is grounded in international, earthy instrumentation. Chanting, breathy vocals, and solid rhythmic structures create a divine backdrop for Teredesai to wander upon, float across, and dance with. All of the instruments and arrangements were produced in collaboration between Teredesai and Rasull Soon (aka BlueMonk). Teredesai creates flute soundtracks that move from meditative to mysterious, mesmerizing to deeply emotional. Themes for the songs evoke sagas from many corners of the world and range from a longing for deep, reflective meditation (“Meditation at Mount Kailash”) and the return from battle of a Lebanese soldier (“The Road to Byblos”) to calling upon the departed spirits of Native Americans (“Where Spirit Winds Blow”). The haunting, bending bansuri notes of “Jaisalmer Moon” lift the listener out beyond the evening sky, eventually returning home to earth with musical messages gathered from the glowing moon. From the liner notes: “Beyond the teeming activity of our lives on beloved Earth lies a great eternal Silence. As we pause and listen, the Silence will speak. One of the wondrous voices is through the language of music.”
A lovely collision of music and art, Teredesai plays a flute from a different country on each track and you really can hear and feel the difference inherent in the slightly different but same instruments that you would otherwise take for granted. Not really new agy or ethno-opium denny, this is a new kind of world pop that you might hear in a hipper (not hipster) ethnic restaurant that would actually have you asking the wait staff what this was. This is a first class listening date for people that want to sit and enjoy real, well thought out music that's more of a companion than a background effect. Well done throughout.
Flutist Rajendra Teredesai excels at showcasing the tonal beauty of the bamboo flute in soft, meditative musical arrangements. His past albums have had a decidedly Indian slant to them, reflecting his background growing up in Mumbai. With CROSSWINDS, Teredesai takes a much more global approach, featuring a collection of songs that utilize flute styles and techniques from the American Southwest, Bali, the Middle East, China and Tibet. As such, this is his most diverse album to date, highlighting his versatility as a flutist. The songs include musical elements of the focal cultures; for example, "The Flower Maiden of Bali" uses his flute alongside light drum beats and dulcimer to capture the mystical energy of the Balinese landscape. Another highlight, "Call of the Ancestors," delves into the solitary beauty of Native American music. In all cases, the highlight here is Teredesai's expert flute playing, which is pure, serene, and wonderfully expressive.