Madhuri reviews Paul Prem Nadama’s latest album: “This music takes us to a place we all want: falling into the moment and being caressed by it. The album is human, unpretentious, yet so laid back it gives us courage to relax too.”
I slid into this album with a sense of surprise, like sliding into a pool in the woods, where a waterfall pours down nearby in the liveliest way, yet the pool is calm and cool and you feel the water touch your skin…
The pool is the music; and the waterfall is Osho, always nearby, magisterial, tall, luminous and lively.
When such smooth and yet warm-hearted music is also coming from a man of a certain age…well, men-of-a-certain age can have a certain gravitas – a presence (though too often, they do not). But rarely is that presence also full of the joyous contentment that we find here.
Inside the album sleeve Nadama himself says, “It’s no coincidence that I’ve given birth to this album of sacred songs and mantras in my 60th year. I confess to being in a reflective mood as I surrender ever deeper into the mystery of it all. Yet at the same time, I feel more creative, vital and at peace than ever…”
There are 14 tracks – two of them are mantras and one is a traditional Celtic tune, ‘The Water is Wide’. All the others (except ‘I Just Close My Eyes’, which is by Madhuro) are his own composition, words sung to the very mild and laid-back accompaniment of guitar, saxophone, violin, bansuri flute, bass, and a bit of keyboard; played by various musicians.
Here’s what I really liked: Nadama’s voice; sometimes raspy, sometimes swinging courageously into high notes, mostly calm and conversational. I liked it because it was soft and mature and brimming with some kind of inner well-being (that was not at all complacent).
I loved the saxophone; never taking over – though I like a sax to take over – but here nothing is loud; everything is relaxed. The quality of that sax is just easily marvellous, delicious. So nice to hear a bit of bluesiness in a song about incarnation and going beyond incarnation: ‘The Last Time’.
I liked a feeling of being invited into a desultory, twilit place where somebody is twanging a guitar, and magic is all around, and there’s no need to put an amp on it.
I like that the singer is on key, no matter how relaxed he gets.
I like the soft rocking rhythm in ‘Back to Basics’, about “following our synchrodestiny.”
And ‘Spirit of Arillas’ brought a few tears to my eyes: “Oh Arillas your spirit is calling/draws me back here time and time again/your warm wind, calming, inspiring/welcomes me like a wise old friend…”
This music takes us to a place we all want: falling into the moment and being caressed by it. The album is human, unpretentious, yet so laid back it gives us courage to relax too. Nadama isn’t trying too hard – but that fact is deceptive, because this is an expert musician in his maturity, okay with sounding a little husky; at home with himself – and that is sexy indeed. We are not being obliged to listen to a thing that is smooth because all the real-life grit has been extracted from it; rather, we get to hear that grit, and the way that the hard times have brought a mellow roundness and a resonance of plumbed strata.
I keep thinking of playing this CD during the opening ten or fifteen minutes of a group I might be leading – when people are coming in and looking around and finding their place. It would confer just the right atmosphere: deep, accepting, easy, mild-mannered…and, in itself, listening to that same silent waterfall I spoke of earlier: the Light.
Review by Madhuri
Listen to one of the tracks, The Spirit of Arillas
Paul Prem Nadama (Paul Wheeler) has been a TV director for the BBC (‘Live at the Apollo’ and ‘Have I got news for you’) for many years. But he is also a guitarist-singer-songwriter, playing at events and concerts. He received his spiritual name in 2016 at the Gayatri Festival in Corfu. He lives in Sussex, UK, with wife, Luna, and daughter, Isabel, and is reducing his TV life to allow more space for his own music and mantras, giving intimate concerts across Europe where invited. www.paulpremnadama.com
Nadama tells his life story in an interview with Osho News:
Rejoicing in two worlds