“Sacred Love” review featured in the November 2010 issue of Common Ground magazine.
By Lloyd Barde
On his stunning debut CD, Shambhu performs music of the heart, in an exquisite fusion of
contemporary instrumental and indo-jazz that listeners will find healing, soulful and abundantly enjoyable. Shambhu’s mastery of the guitar and compositional elegance enables full-bodied expressions of nuance and subtlety while engaging audiences in deep spirit. “Sacred Love” offers an endless panorama of luminous music that pours from Shambhu’s guitar and creative vision, lifting us with billows of heartfelt, spacious and ever so inviting inspiration. This is a masterful, melodic and magical expression overflowing with exquisite compositions played to perfection with guest appearances by today’s finest musicians. The songs transport me to places I have only dreamed of — this tuneful journey has left me spellbound!
Shambhu’s guitar playing is exquisite, powerful and delicate at the same time, while redefining a new standard for instrumental music. It’s a pioneering work that captures the whole contemporary music sound – where it has come from, where it is now, and what’s possible. It includes heart, vision, dazzling playing, and endless imagery. People often think of instrumental music as something that dwells in the background. Shambhu’s music invites full-on, soulful listening and continually draws you in deeper and deeper, revealing your own core. Shambhu collaborated on the CD with the legendary Grammy Award winners Will Ackerman (co-producer and Windham Hill founder) and Corin Nelsen (recording and mix engineer). Musicians featured on the CD include: Tony Levin on bass (Peter Gabriel), George Brooks on sax (John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, Larry Coryell), Ravichandra Kulur on flute (Ravi and Anoushka Shankar), cellist Eugene Friesen (Paul Winter Consort), Jeff Haynes on percussion (Pat Metheny), Celso Alberti on drums (Stevie Winwood), Premik Tubbs on flute (John McLaughlin and Santana), Todd Boston on sarod, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, vocalists Noah Wilding and Claytoven Richardson, as well as other amazing artists.
I have known Will Ackerman since the early Windham Hill days in 1980. Throughout his own masterful catalog, time-honored compositions and innovative releases (such as “Passage” or “Hearing Voices”) he has provided a level of artistry and excellence that sets him apart. His production work, notably over the past decade, has helped numerous fine artists who had not yet found their musical voice discover the path to the best work of their career. With Shambhu, he encountered an artist that already knew his way.
Will’s comments: “It’s utterly true that I love that this music, while truly spiritual, allows for unfettered joy as well as contemplation. There is a brilliant range to Shambhu’s music; moments when the mood is achingly tender and meditative and times when the music just grooves. Not relegating himself simply to introspection, Shambhu creates music which embraces and celebrates all aspects of life which ultimately feels very profound to me.”
That is part of why I feel “Sacred Love” may well be the best project Will has been involved in, which is not to be said or taken lightly.
Each song is its own journey and sound painting with unique colors, shades, rhythms and vistas from Shambhu’s inner experience. The songs flow with a fresh weaving of acoustic, world, and Indian musical styles and grooves. The earth rhythms make you want to dance, and the celestial melodies are elevators into a heavenly realm. The beauty of nature is expressed in ways that are everywhere evident. Shambhu is a Sanskrit name meaning “Source of Happiness”. He has performed over the years with Carlos Santana, Narada Michael Walden, Premik Tubbs, and played on Whitney Houston’s multi-platinum album, “Whitney.” He studied meditation for three decades with the renowned mystic Sri Chinmoy. Blessed and inspired by the contributions of an amazing assemblage of brilliant musicians, the songs show themselves over time, some immediately, others in surprising, unplanned ways. It’s a “soul-elevating journey through music into the deep recesses of your heart.”
I am certain you’ll agree the results are a musical playground and landscape for superb and spacious listening: peaceful, moving, and shining with bright light and illumination from start to finish. “Sacred Love” is one of the best CDs of the year (or any year!).