CHANDRA CHAKRABORTY & SASKIA GRIFFITHS-MOORE
Together in Love And Separation
These works are recognisable on both sides of the ocean.
Chandra is a leading Indian classical vocalist who has performed all around the world including the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and in front of Her Majesty the Queen.
Saskia is a London based folk artist who has performed worldwide. A transatlantic record deal in 2020 gave her opportunity to work with an American multi million dollar organisation on creating within the tradition of folk and acoustic music a global age positive movement. “Talent is Timeless”, which is backed amongst others by Ralph McTell.
One of the finest songs in the tradition is, “She Moved Through the Fair”, it starts here with Saskia giving it a real Indian feel, before she sings very quietly and sympathetically, Saskia was always in control, Amith Day added the gloss with his keyboard and harmonium playing.
Chandra performed, “Bhromer Koiyo Giya”, and at in excess of 11 minutes, I felt it was too long, given the lack of notes by way of explanation, Yamin Chowdhury joined her on tabla.
John Denver’s hugely popular, “Country Roads”, was given the treatment by Saskia, indeed for me there is only one way to attack this song and that’s with full throated positivity, exactly as demonstrated here.
“Milan Habe Katadine” was slightly shorter than the first offering, complete with tabla and sporadic harmonium, but again there was not enough light and shade to keep me interested for more than seven minutes.
Saskia started the vocals on the ever popular, “Scarborough Fair”, Chandra briefly joined in with Amith Day on backing vocals.
The final offering from Chandra was, “Tamay Hridmajhare Rakhbo”, it was more forceful than the first two, but again left me desperately wishing I knew what the three songs had been about, were they connected in some way? or just three random songs put together for this recording.
“The Water is Wide”, provided another platform for Saskia, joined sporadically by Chandra.
To end the CD, “Wild Mountain Thyme”, was the choice, brief Indian throat music from Chandra led into Saskia as both singers joined together for a last hurrah.
For me, at times, it was a difficult listen. I just felt it was two singers put together to show off the folk music of their separate cultures.
I can hear the reasoning behind this offering, but for me it didn’t work.
Sponsored by Arts Council England, they need to get down and look at the nitty gritty of things before parting with cash, that in this instance I feel could be spent more deservingly.