Mantra singer Sudha shares a track from her latest album ‘In Her Name’ and replies to a few questions.
Album available from www.malimba.com
In the last ten years or so we witnessed a rising interest in Sacred Chants music. What do you feel it’s a reflection of?
I hope it is an indication that more and more people are becoming aware of the power of sound and the healing effect that music can have. It also feels like it is going a bit hand in hand with yoga becoming main stream; the music that is played in yoga classes is now also played at home and in the car. With the world speeding up and up and up in so many ways and in all areas of people’s lives, I think that most of us need something to help us slow down, breathe and be more present. And for me that is what this genre of music does.
There seem to be more female than male singers who find this genre to be their favorite musical expression. Do you agree with that?
I haven’t perceived it like that. Maybe because most of the musicians I have played with in the past 15 years have been male. They haven’t been singers of course, but still musicians in the genre of devotional music. But maybe the nature of devotional music is more closely related to female characteristics… nurturing and healing; I don’t know. Personally I love this genre because it is the easiest and most effortless way for me to go into a meditative space. There is no ‘performance’ needed, just authentic sharing and a feeling of Gratitude for Life.
Your previous album ‘Sharanam’ has been received very well and is one of Malimba Records’ bestsellers. What can you say about that and how does your latest release ‘In Her Name’ compare to ‘Sharanam’?
Yes, ‘Sharanam’ seemed to take on a life of its own. And it has been amazing to hear from people from all corners of the world who have shared with me how much they love that album. I have even met people who told me that they listen to it every day! ‘Sharanam’ has a very deep meditative core running through the whole album and was very much recorded with the intent of healing. And hopefully that is what listeners have been picking up on. It feels like a timeless classic, which is all down to Maneesh de Moor’s amazing talent for creating both depth and space in the music.
‘In Her Name’ came into creation from a different source. After becoming a mother and also having moved to Glastonbury, England where the Goddess is very much celebrated, I felt inspired to pay tribute to and honour some of those aspects of the Divine Feminine. Aspects that we all have within us, male and female. But in the past many centuries those qualities have not been very much appreciated in our fast paced everyday life of ‘doing’. So I felt to highlight some of the different names of the Goddess – Saraswati, Kuan Yin, Tara, Oshun… hence the title, ‘In Her Name’.
What was also important to me in this production was to have lots of acoustic instruments, each instrument with their own healing resonance. For each track I would have a very strong visual idea that Praful, with his incredible ability to understand my ramblings, would help turn into music. As I don’t have any official musical education – all I have is my ears – I would say things like “imagine mountain tops, wind, glass and metal” or “this is all about wood and clay sounds and a lovely river in the jungle.” And Praful would try out different things and we would find our way together.
The whole process of the production was so much fun. And because of funds I was blessed to raise in the crowdfunding campaign I was able to pay some brilliant musicians to play on the album. We had files zooming through cyberspace from Ireland, England, Holland, India and Australia whilst mixing everything in the studio in Germany. Just that in itself felt like magic. And you can feel the heart and devotion of each musician and singer in the mix. This album was also the first time I had an active role in production, down to the last single tiny detail. ‘In Her Name’ is an album that I feel very proud of and really hope that the listeners will enjoy.
You are one of those artists who seem to enjoy touring and performing live. What do you love about it?
I love the adventure of travelling and meeting people in all corners of the world. All sorts of cultures and traditions, such variety. And still, when it comes to sitting down and singing, opening our hearts, being together – we are the same all over the world. I always feel incredibly lucky to meet so many amazing people, being invited into people’s homes and taking part in their lives for the short time that we are passing through. I always come away feeling that I have expanded my family. And as for the actual concerts – I just love that amazing feeling of oneness when we are all together, singing from our hearts. And the incredible healing energy of the silence that follows. It just brings it home again and again – We Are All One.
What would you like to see manifested in your future musical life?
I do feel immensely grateful for all the wonderful experiences I have had so far through sharing music and I would love for that to continue and expand. I have a strong pull to both North and South America, so I hope to tour these continents at some point.
One day I would love to record an album of songs. There are songs in English that I love and to which I feel very connected to because of the lyrics – the way they tell a story and touch people is very different to the way mantras do.
And then, of course, in my wildest dreams, I would love to collaborate with Sting on an album of mantras! I have been singing along to his albums for more than 25 years, and I think our voices complement each other nicely.
Interview by Shastro
Sudha was born in Denmark and is now living in the UK. At the age of nine she started studying dance and performing arts. She learned studio recording at MDMsound with Maneesh de Moor in Amsterdam. There she recorded her first two albums, ‘Planet Love’ (2004) and ‘Sharanam’ (2007). Her latest album ‘In Her Name’ (2014) was recorded and produced in collaboration with Praful in Germany. Sudha is regularly touring wherever she is invited. In 2015 she has several events coming up in Europe. sudhasong.com