Anandi Bhattacharya: Joys Abound review – a refreshing debut

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Indian music, like country, is keen on dynasties. This debut from the daughter of renowned guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya is very much a family affair, with dad producing, playing and co-composing, and uncle Subhasis on tablas, all in service to Anandi’s startling, soaring vocals. The 22-year-old is “no purist” and numbers Radiohead, Ella and Joni among her favourites, though such influences are hard to locate here. Mostly, Joys Abound pays homage to classical Indian tradition, mixing in Iberian flourishes, a Rajasthani folk song, and a poem by the poet and musician Rabindranath Tagore.

A sense of freedom permeates Anandi’s singing, whether she’s chanting a prayer of thanks to elephant deity Ganesh, floating above a tabla storm on In Between Us, or rapping out the syllables on Maya’s Dream. Although classically trained, there’s a touch of Bollywood about Anandi’s delivery. Her father supplies a variety of accompaniments; sitar-like lines on acoustic slide guitar (his own invention), or spikier electric variants. Among the guests is Catalan polymath Carola Ortiz, who plays sonorous clarinet on a couple of tracks, including her own Flor de Puja (Flowers of Rain), a delicate highlight of a refreshing debut.

Watch the video for In Between Us by Anandi Bhattacharya.

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