Drum Travel – Disc 1
Celebrating the diversity of drumming
70 Minutes 08 secs. Tracks 4 ,8, 10 written by James Asher. Tracks 2, 6, written by James Asher and Sandeep Raval. Tracks 1, 3, 9 written by Carolina Maggio, James Asher, Sandeep Raval, Simon Brewin. Tracks 5, 7, 11, 12, 13 Written by James Asher, Sandeep Raval and Simon Brewin.
Drum Travel – Disc 2
Tipi Experience – The travels go deeper
73 Minutes 37 secs. Track 1, 2, 5, 7 written by James Asher, Sandeep Raval and Simon Brewin. Track 3 written by Carolina Maggio, James Asher, Sandeep Raval and Simon Brewin. Tracks 4 and 6 written by James Asher.
Multi-percussionist Sandeep Raval teams up with worldbeat producer and artist James Asher to create a succession of tracks celebrating the power of drums in their many diverse colours. Embracing the broad stylistic range they have both experienced:- Worldbeat, Latin, Ecstatic dance, Shamanic, Jazz, Blues, Indian folk, Meditative and Native American, the music pulses with the vibrance of the broad galaxy of the worlds with which drums connect.
On the second disc, the TIPI experience, the rhythmic journeys deepen. Drum Travel draws on many profound rhythmic traditions to illustrate the ability of drums to ease and empower transformative personal journeys that can have extraordinary and life changing impacts on the traveller.
Crossing cultural divides is familiar territory to Asher and Raval, and this is further uplifted by two invaluable contributors: – the highly original singing and song writing of Italian singer/painter Carolina Maggio, with her unique and poetic approach, and the phenomenal musicality of guitarist and bass-player Simon Brewin. Casting aside previous conceptions and assumptions about genre and category will enhance the experience with this double album.
Dance to the drums, play along with the drums, meditate to the drums, but most of all enjoy the musical freedom that a deep love of drums invites, and find and enjoy your own travels with some compulsive accompanying scores.
Reviews of Drum Travel
When you turn on this album, energetic sounds burst into the room and captivate you from the first moments. In the pulsating sounds of percussion, passionate vocals, excited guitar chords and soft keyboards one can hear the movement of life itself.
In general, a diversity of various drums is a special feature of this double CD album. Its music is very earthy and at the same time has a space origin. Brilliant multi-percussionist Sandeep Raval and outstanding keyboards and drums player James Asher cross diverse cultural divides with incredible easiness. Expressive vocals of Carolina Maggio and poignant guitar of Simon Brewin help to create a special atmosphere of the album, mixing different cultural traditions into one pot of universal rhythms.
The music of the album “Drum Travel” has a lot of different bright colors. Jazz rhythms and world beats, modern and ethnic tunes, folk and even shamanic motifs and many more influences from new age and meditative to trance and dance are interwoven in the refined compositions of this project.
The album “Drum Travel” has one more very important feature. Its music is very sincere, it comes from the bottoms of the artist’s hearts. Therefore, it is absolutely impossible to remain indifferent while listening to this project. And the time flies completely unnoticed…
“Drum Travel” was produced by James Asher and its sound design is beyond praise. I can characterize it as exquisite. In conclusion, one wants to say one – this album undoubtedly will touch your soul. Listen to “Drum Travel” and start your own journey. You will feel as your inner space comes into harmony with the outside world, and expands, beginning to absorb the whole universe into your limitless divine world…
Serge Kozlovsky http://sergekozlovsky.com
Drum Travel is the mind-boggling double-CD collaboration by percussionists James Asher and Sandeep Raval. Disc 1 celebrates the diversity of drumming and Disc 2 is subtitled TIPI Experience, traveling even deeper. Both artists have a lifetime of experience as musicians as well as composing for a vast array of music media. The music on this album contains a staggering range of musical styles that include Worldbeat, Latin, Ecstatic Dance, Shamanic, Jazz, Blues, Indian folk, Meditative, and Native American. Adding to this musical melange are vocals and charango by Italian singer/songwriter Carolina Maggio and bass and guitar by Simon Brewin; both co-composed many of the pieces. Ten other musicians plus The Gathering Sound Community Choir contribute with a variety of instruments and voices. This project was a huge undertaking, taking eighteen months to complete. What a triumph! In the liner notes, the artists invite you to: “Dance to the drums, play along with the drums, meditate to the drums, but most of all enjoy the musical freedom that a deep love of drums invites, and find and enjoy your own travels with some compulsive accompanying scores.” Take heed, because this is an amazing musical experience!
Disc 1 consists of thirteen tracks that represent the music of many cultures. Some of the shorter tracks are drums and percussion only and will get the heads to bobbing and the toes to tapping – if not up and dancing! I find those high-energy tracks especially compelling, exploding with the pure joy of musical expression. Carolina Maggio’s magical vocals soar on four tracks that she co-composed, singing in several different languages – I love “Fugira” and “Neptune Skank,” which is an infectious mix of rhythmic musical styles. “Beside the Blues,” “Breaking Good” and “Chilli Pickle Chaser” feature Simon Brewin playing jazz electric guitar that really cooks. “Pappadoms from Persia” takes us to the heart of the Middle East while the fourteen-minute “Seven Veils” tells an exotic and sensuous tale of mystery.
Disc 2 consists of seven tracks that are again very diverse, but none of these are percussion only. “Los Cuentos” is a beautiful instrumental with an easy rhythm and haunting melody. “Hey Wanaina” has a very strong Native American influence with drums, choir, and bass guitar and Carolina’s chanting/singing. The remaining four tracks range from eight to thirty minutes, allowing the listener to become drawn into the music for a longer and more sustained period of time. “If the Earth Could Speak” has a powerful, emotional intensity that I find compelling – love it! “On the Outbreath” is the 30-minute closing track and is quite a journey unto itself. Dark, exotic and mysterious, Middle Eastern instruments and rhythms plus wordless vocals enchant and mesmerize, transporting the listener to a different realm.
There is really no other music that I am aware of that compares to what James Asher and Sandeep Raval have graced us with. At nearly 2 1/2 hours and twenty tracks, there is no filler whatsoever. If you are feeling musically adventurous and ready to try something new and exciting, I highly recommend Drum Travel! It is available from Amazon and iTunes. Check it out!
Kathy Parsons MainlyPiano.com
A whole host of players joins James percussion, keyboards and various other instruments on this most pleasant excursion into the upbeat and inspiring journey across various styles of all-original music that will hold you spellbound through it’s entire 140 minute length. I was especially entranced on pieces like the 5:22 “Beside The Blues“… very nice jazz flavors, but it holds true to the “drum” focus you’d expect with a CD title like this (Simon Brewin’s guitar and bass make this one feel very “uptown”, if you will).
The other thing that makes this double-CD such an attraction is the flawless recording… nothing is left to chance, and every little nuance is easy to hear… of course, for your first few sessions I would recommend that you listen with headphones on! If you’re interested in pieces that allow you to stretch out and improve your mental posture, you’ll find the 8:08 “If The Earth Could Speak” very much to your liking – in point of fact, it’s my personal favorite of the twenty high-energy tunes offered up for your enlightenment.
Total talent and inspiration for the joy that music can bring allows me to declare this great sonic adventure a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99 (very near the top of my scale).
James Asher and Sandeep Raval are two incredibly talented men with the gift of knowledge that encompasses a multitude of instruments, mainly percussive so it is no surprise that the title of their recent release is Drum Travel.
There is a bit more to this than just the title Drum Travel. The artists refer to this recording as the Tipi Experience. The image on the cover is a pyramid with a swirling gateway or rhythm portal, as it is referred to on the CD cover, all brought to you by their Global Percussion. If you notice however there is a city on the water that the beautiful image is overlaid on. There is a message here and you are cordially invited to find the meaning in the music and what is beyond the portal awaiting your discovery. It all makes more sense once you start off on your journey with Asher and Ravel.
These two amazing artisans are assisted by Simon Brewin (bass, guitar, Wit,The Discerning Don) and Carolina Maggio (vocals, charrango, painting, creativity and enthusiasm) and several other talented folks. These gents have a marvelous sense of purpose but also maintain a good sense of humor. After all, James plays a ton of instruments but gets credit for “Kitchen” so I am assuming he provided sustenance in the form of food and drink for his musical warriors whilst recording this endeavor.
Drum Travel is a two CD set comprising 13 tracks on disc one and 7 tracks on disc two, both clocking in at over 70 minutes. The very first track “Fugira” kicks things off in a marvelous way with splendid percussion, amazing rhythmic vocal styling’s (in Italian) and some fluid guitar lines. This music is a worldly blend; there is new age, world, jazz, blues and rock. Everything blends together superbly into a musical melting pot that will bring joy to your soul and aural beauty to your ears.
The instrumental tracks are a literal omnibus of musical delights. When Asher and Raval combine their efforts it’s like a wall of drums that envelopes you. It does not encapsulate you in a power driven sphere and take you away; it is like being swept away by a gentle wave then feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin and the best part is the wave never ends. You can respect the awesome power it commands but feel grateful for the retreat that it affords you into audio bliss.
“Bring on Brasil” is just that, you feel like you have arrived in that beautiful country and are suddenly taking in all the breathtaking landscapes and walking the city streets. It’s like world travel by osmosis. Then to change things again, “Beside The Blues,” delivers the blues and jazz sensations via the right percussion, keyboards and guitar flourishes. To say that this recording offers diversity is an understatement, you simply do not know what is coming next and that is what makes the listen so intriguing.
“Chili Pickle Chaser” is a great example of the percussion collaboration of Asher, Raval and friends. It has an interesting name but let me tell you it is nothing but pure excitement that builds as the track plays out.
“If The Earth Could Speak” is the first track I heard and was so taken with it I featured it on Rate The Tracks and to no surprise it jumped to the #1 position on the charts within a day and it continues to get plays. The title is quite prolific and so is the music. Everything that is good about what these people do when making music comes flowing forth like a river with a definite path to the ocean. It has meaning, beauty and first and foremost touches your spirit in a way that is most memorable.
Now if all of that was not enough they end the set with “On the Outbreath,” which is one minute short of 30 minutes. If there is one song that takes everything to another level it’s this one. There are some amazing creative juices flowing throughout this mix. This time frame made up an entire album in years past yet it is one song out of 20 that make up this implausible gathering of sound, elements and textures that capture your attention and engage your senses.
There is something true and natural about drums particularly when used in such a manner. It calls to you and invites you into their special rhythm portal. Listen, take the journey, you will not have any regrets.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck New Age Music Reviews
World Music and percussion fans, be forewarned: when pressing “play” on the new release by James Asher and Sandeep Raval, keep a firm grip on you socks so as not to have them knocked clean off. I was about to say that “this is one seriously powerful recording,” although the reality is that is actually two recordings – a double album; something you don’t find very often these days. But Drum Travel offers some of the most mind-blowing, earth-shaking percussive energy and cross-cultural influences that I have encountered in quite a while.
Having been a music journalist for over 30 years, James Asher is a name I am well familiar with, going back to 1989 when I wrote a magazine review of his first commercially released album entitled The Great Wheel. I didn’t know it at the time, but prior to that recording, James’ career was already in full swing having done studio work in London with rock music icon Pete Townsend of The Who. As time went on, James’ musical directions diverged in various ways. One was along the lines of his growing interest in holistic health composing meditation music for a company called Aura-Soma that focused on color therapy and healing. However, James is probably best known for his recordings in the World Music genre with best-selling albums like Globalarium, Feet In The Soil, and Tigers Of The Raj – which Pete Townsend described as “utterly magnificent.”
James credits UK based multi-percussionist Sandeep Raval as being “very helpful in both increasing my understanding of the (Indian) music, and introducing me to many excellent Indian musicians in the UK.” In addition to collaborating with James on Drum Travel, Sandeep also has other albums to his credit, including Worship Through Sound and Mosaic in Motion. He also played an invaluable part in the production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s acclaimed musical, Bombay Dreams (scored by A R Rahman – Slumdog Millionaire). Sandeep has performed on stages around the world, and is proficient on a wide range of percussion instruments in many genres. Together Sandeep and James make for a formidable collaboration that blends diverse cultural and stylistic influences into a mesmerizing musical mélange that includes Worldbeat, Latin, ecstatic dance, shamanic, jazz, blues, Indian folk, meditative and Native American.
In speaking about their relationship, James shares: “Sandeep Raval and I go back a long way. He was the person that helped me source a lot of the fine musicians that joined me on Tigers of the Raj. After many years of being friends we also started performing live together at ecstatic dance events in London. Drum Travel is an ambitious undertaking indeed! 18 months in the brewing, it just seemed to need to continue to that point to feel complete. Even if the average attention span is apparently now 8 seconds.”
As the curtain rises on the first of the two discs, the intro to track one, “Fugira,” with its drums and bass, flashed me back to Santana at Woodstock with their epic version of “Soul Sacrifice. But it soon evolves into it’s own unique direction, which does include some propulsive rhythm guitar by Simon Brewin, who also plays bass on the album. It additionally features Italian language vocals by Carolina Maggio, who is an integral part of the recording, particularly on the second disc. This is followed by an all-drums and percussion piece called “Takita,” that lays down a funky and intricate groove. “How It Feels” is another vocal track featuring Carolina, this time in English, that while also percussive, has a more orchestrated feel than previously heard. It’s not hard to imagine from the title what the percussion-only vibe of track four, “Bring on Brasil,” might be. This is one of a number of shorter, approximately two and half-minute pieces that are like sonic sorbet between some of the longer tracks.
Despite it’s title and bluesy chord progression, “Beside the Blues,” is actually quite jazzy with its Wes Montgomery/ George Benson-style guitar octaves. Along with some tasty lead guitar and fretless bass solo, this tune is a nice up-tempo showcase for the talents of fret-master Simon Brewin. Also in this vein is the smoking hot “Chilli Pickle Chaser.” James and Sandeep throw all kinds of percussive and cultural ingredients into their musical mixmaster on “Percussive Kitchen” and “Drums for the Dragon.” Without the inclusion of any melodic instruments, the phenomenal drumming skills of this dynamic duo really stand out. According to James: “We make a good team. Sandeep does the flowery energized and technically challenging parts while I keep the backbeat going and am thinking of the overall shape etc.” Sometimes it is hard to tell who is playing what, but suffice it to say James and Sandeep are both master drummers in their own right.
After an intro of spacey synthesizers and down-tempo chill groove, the music breaks into a reggae beat with Italian spoken word and sung lyrics by Carolina. I had been waiting for a song that highlighted the tabla drum virtuosity of Sandeep Raval, and a track called “Pappadoms from Persia” delivered it on this fast-paced Eastern-flavored composition. Very tasty! The last two tracks, “Breaking Good” and “Seven Veils” are the longest on this disc at approximately ten and fourteen minutes respectively, and allow the ensemble to stretch out to explore diverse and exotic musical landscapes. All in all, Disc One represents quite an eclectic collection of tunes with stellar performances by all involved.
According to the liner notes: “On the second disc, subtitled TIPI Experience, “the rhythmic journeys deepen. Drum Travel draws on many profound rhythmic traditions to illustrate the ability of drums to ease and empower transformative personal journeys that can have extraordinary and life-changing impacts on the traveler.” As mentioned, Carolina’s presence is particularly felt here on songs like “Neptune Skank” and “How It Feels” on which she plays a small Andean stringed instrument called a charango that is similar to a ukulele. A different cultural, yet equally earthy vibe is conjured on “Hey Wanaina” with its tribal drums, Native American chanting, and addition of The Gathering Sound Community Choir. Powerful percussion and orchestration combine on a fast-paced tune called “If the Earth Could Speak.” As the title implies, a song called “Accelerando” starts off leisurely and gradually picks up speed featuring an interesting vocal interpretation by Praful Dave. One of my favorite pieces on this disc was “The Great Transition,” that highlights an intricate arrangement and diversity of instruments. Incidentally, in addition to the four core members of this group, at least ten other musicians make appearances on various tracks, including world-renown drum circle leader Arthur Hull. At a half hour in length, the final song, “On the Outbreath,” is the most ethereal piece on the album and makes for a wonderfully dreamy meditative experience.
As someone who appreciates percussion and rhythm, I can’t speak highly enough about the incredible talents of James Asher and Sandeep Raval. Both are highly accomplished drummers and the synergy of their work together is even greater than the sum of its parts. The intricacy of their patterns and the way the two musicians flow together builds a convincing case for the existence of telepathy. They also both play keyboards on the album, and as mentioned, there are stunning contributions from Carolina and Simon as well, but as the title alludes to, drums are king here. And its not only the skills and percussive dexterity James and Sandeep have built up over the years, but the wide range of musical styles they apply them to throughout the recording. Also, as the title hints, Drum Travel would be the perfect music for driving or a road trip, as well as for dancing, exercising, moving meditation, or just an exhilarating up-tempo listening experience. Drumming is like the heartbeat expressed in music, and James Asher and Sandeep Raval energize this pulsing multi-cultural body of work with life force and sonic spirit.
MICHAEL DIAMOND Music and Media Focus
Credits : Recorded by James Asher at Starfield Studios and Sandeep Raval at Absolute Studios, Northampton. Produced by James Asher. Published by Radiant Music. Cover design by Sandeep Raval.
Musicians:- James Asher – Keyboards, drums, percussion, hammered dulcimer, kitchen. Sandeep Raval – Multi-percussion, keyboards, wicked ginger, vision. Simon Brewin – Bass, Guitar, Wit, The discerning don. Carolina Maggio – Vocals, charango, painting, creativity and enthusiasm.
Also, gratefully acknowledged:- Arthur Hull – Congas. Tom Fairbairn – Violin. Zuwa – Vocals. Waquas Choudary – Bansuri. Kankana Banerjee – Vocal. Praful Dave – Vocal. Unnati Dasgupta – Vocal. Hardik Dave – Melodica. Ilyas Khan – Sarangi. Darshan Raval – Cahon.
Especial thanks and respect to Praful Dave for his exceptional and creative response to the Accelerando track, and his vocal interpretation of that.
Choir on Hey Wanaina – The Gathering Sound Community Choir. Arranged and conducted by Richard Leigh. Many thanks for a great job, Richard.
Thanks also to the following:- Celia Asher, Jolly Raval. Mike Booth for his encouragement for Sandeep and James to work together and do what we love. We`re doing it! Samir Raval for use of Dolphin Studios, Ahmnebad, Gujurat. Roz Crampton for the awesome soundbath. Kevin Stoney for help with mobile recording. Simon Brewin loves playing GB guitars.