Concocting homespun philosophy and spiritual undercurrents with rich vocals and an explorative blend of Indian-Western percussion, American singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer and group brewed soothing and stirring music for the soul to end the three-day ‘Experience America' programme on a lyrical note here on Friday.
Strumming the guitar while sitting comfortably at home in a salwar kameez, Ms. Newcomer's rich vocals and evocative lyrics came to the fore even as the artiste performed numbers from her yet-to be released album, ‘Everything is Everywhere', a collaborative project with sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan and sons. Ably accompanied on the piano by Gary Walters and on the drums by Jim Brock, the singer from Indiana enthralled guests in an evening hosted by the Rotary Club of Tiruchi.
Opening the performance was ‘Breathe in, Breathe out' a number that nudged listeners to relax by letting go. The eponymous song of her new album, perhaps the best of the evening, turned out as an ideal East-meets-West number with the guitar and sarod aided by vivid imagery forging links between India and Indiana.
Filled with hope and quiet optimism like many of her numbers were ‘ I believe' and ‘Dreaming'. She introduced the former telling the audience, “This song is about the importance of saying things out loud. Some things change when you say them aloud. Inspired by glacial rocks found in her hometown that resemble plain rocks but conceal crystals was the metaphorically profound ‘Geodes', that rejoiced in the beauty of commonplace.
Proving that swing as well as soul came naturally to her, the artiste performed a foot-tapping number, ‘One woman and a shovel'- a number she visibly relished performing. Letting the spotlight fall on her fellow artistes, Ms. Newcomer moved off stage for a lively piano piece by Walters and a flamboyant percussion by Brock who drew in special applause.
Bringing up the rear was the ‘Gathering of spirits', a friendship song that the artiste hoped would relate to ‘when we all meet again'. Joined in by Indian percussionist Krishnan, the trio struck a final note with ‘Shine', where words submerged in an unabashed revelry of drumming.
An improved ambience and a discerning audience sans constantly ringing cell phones and chaos would have been befitting the artistes who scaled distractions pertinent in the small gathering to provide an uplifting session.
Keywords: Experience America