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Rani Chatoorgoon

Crossover Prog

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Rani Chatoorgoon Samsara album cover
4.40 | 7 ratings | 2 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Grey (6:38)
2. Lonely Witness (6:55)
3. Unbearable (6:33)
4. Let Me Go (5:27)
5. My Prison (4:44)
6. Maybe (5:46)
7. Heartbeat (5:31)
8. Breathe (5:34)
9. The Will (5:39)
10. Keepers Of Truth (4:32)
11. Sweet Solace (4:38)
12. Guardian Of Souls (7:38)

Total Time 69:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Rani Chatoorgoon / vocals, harmonium, acoustic guitar

- Valerio Recenti / vocals (4)
- Colette Baron-Reid / vocals (10)
- Ruud Jolie / guitars
- Ken Basman / Spanish guitar
- Sandip Banerjee / tabla, sitar, sarangi, sarod, santoor, bansuri, dholak
- Claudio Vena / violin, viola, string arrangements
- Robert Stern / string arrangements (12)
- Paul DeLong / drums
- Koen Herfst / drums (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Kiren

CD self-released (2016, Canada)

Thanks to historian9 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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RANI CHATOORGOON Samsara ratings distribution

(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(57%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RANI CHATOORGOON Samsara reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Canadian composer and artist Rani CHATOORGOON is at this point a fairly unknown quantity. She launched her solo career back in 2009 with her debut album "Illusions of Loneliness", and have since issued a handful of singles and EPs. "Samsara" is her most recent full length production, and was self released in the early winter of 2016.

As one might suspect from the artist name as well as the title given to this production, Rani isn't the kind of person that can trace her cultural origins back ten generations in the Canadian territories. Her background appears to be a bit more colorful than that, and the music she creates most certainly incorporate a liberal amount of cultural elements not originating from Western culture. Therein lies the strength of this album as well, the manner in which it blends aspects of different cultural traditions.

The base foundation of most compositions appears to be what I'd describe as a hard but smooth and elegant variety of radio friendly hard rock. Firm riff cascades backed by solid rhythms is a staple in the greater majority of the compositions, fairly often with orchestration details appearing in key moments to add a grandiose, majestic tinge to the proceedings. With Rani's finely controlled, quality lead vocals this results in exemplary sequences of appealing music, albeit a bit too polished and anonymous if not a part of a greater totality.

It is when the compositions feature additional details that this album starts to soar to more compelling heights. First and foremost with violin, percussion and string instrument details based on Eastern and presumably Indian traditions are used more extensively throughout. A couple of cuts also comes across as including Celtic folk music details, at least as I experience them, which also fits these landscapes quite nicely.

While I do consider hard rock to be the main foundation here, the compositions does actually range from more purebred folk and world music creation to material hovering on the borderland of progressive metal. While perhaps not what I'd describe as eclectic in scope it is an exotic one at times, but also well produced and what I'd describe as generally appealing in nature and with a radio friendly sound. Quite a few cuts here appears to be ready made even for mainstream FM radio, and one can only hope that this artist somehow manage to find her way into a B-list on a substantial station at some point. The A-lists obviously unavailable for artists not already firmly established.

All in all I find "Samsara" to be a compelling album overall. Rani is a strong vocalist, her voice carrying many songs in a fine and intriguing manner, and the blend of Eastern and Western musical traditions are almost magical at best. Opening cut The Grey is the standout track here, among a dozen quality cuts this composition showcase the very best qualities of this artist and this album in an excellent manner. A perfect starting place to explore this artist in other words, and those intrigued by the notion of Eastern world music combined with sophisticated radio friendly hard rock should start right there.

Review by Slartibartfast
5 stars For the longest time Sarah Mclachlan was my favorite Canadian female artists. Though deemed not sufficiently progressively enough for progarchives, a mistake in my opinion, along comes Rani Chatoorgoon. She had pretty much gotten ignored and that is a shame. Although I do admit if it had not been for House of Prog I would have missed out on her too. I am not So here she is in Crossover when a better fit would have been Indo Prog, as she was doing traditional Indian music since childhood and those elements are certainly being mixed here with progressive rock. Enough griping. On to the album. Which by the way, arrived heavily autographed with a nice little post it thank you note.

The instruments. Rani herself is lead vocals with harmonium and acoustic guitar. There are additional vocalists, guitarists (electric and acoustic), a specialist in traditional Indian instruments (tabla, sitar, sarangi, sarod, santoor, bansuri, dholak), we have violin, strings, and drums. All of this makes for some music as tasty as good Indian food.

The music. The album's starter track, The Gray, kicks off with a very quiet Indian drone of sorts. Then Rani starts chanting a little aaaheeeaaaahhheeeaaahing with the violin interplaying with her and then clearing the veil, reveal the betrayal, all that I know is, one truth, could there be, floating or falling the end is beginning, here in the gray there is never just one way'For and opening song it is just amazing the beautiful way the music builds and you know you are going to be in for quite a ride for the rest of the album. I am not going to painstakingly detail the whole album. But just consider some of the titles Lonely Witness, Unbearable, Let Me Go, My Prison.

Then we come to Sweet Solace. One of the lightest songs on the album. It could be a top 40 hit if top 40 weren't resistant to anything that doesn't fit into the formula.

After a brief moment of lightness the album wraps with Guardian Of Souls.

The place to sample this album as I write this is Spotify. If you like intense prog with an Indian flavor this one won't disappoint.

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