||On the first listen I got a good feeling about this album. The Ban Brothers, Gautam and Swagata “Ban” Banerjee, offers up a recording that is full of energy, intoxication, and bliss. Intoxication because if you are listening to this music, your mind and heart join in like a favored guest. You cannot help but tap your toes, bob your head, and maybe even take up some room on the dance floor. All in the name of love.
The Ban Brothers are joined by about two dozen additional talented people on the collection with standard and ethnic instruments, polished voices, and at times, a small orchestra. All About Love is nine tracks of world and ethnic music with a bit of a twist. Music from the Middle East and Asia generally (but not always) have a different modal form than western music. There are differences in timing, breaks, and most of all, repetition. The Ban Brothers have seemed to join the differences, even reveling in them as they create their brand of music. It was refreshing.
The opening track is called Bitee Huyee, or (The Past). The song is almost, but not quite bluesy, but the melody is emotional without being too melancholy. It is a story as old as time. Falling in and out of love is a journey of the heart. Like any journey, it has its uphill climbs and downhill ventures. But, oh, the memories are forever.
I was surprised by two version of the same song, one with male voice, the other with a female vocal. Tumi Bhorer Paaki (My Bird at Dawn). No surprise on the theme, but the song is a variation of a true Indian raga with that delightful vibrato sung throughout. Finding yourself in the throes of love opens up new worlds for the heart. Both vocalists were noteworthy and after your hear it, you can almost imagine both singing the song to each other as the sun rises. A new day of love begins.
My favorite song on the album was called Panchee Banke (Flying Like a Bird). Every time it came up in rotation, I just wanted to start dancing around in a burst of joy. The animated voice of Supriya Joshi made me sway and move to the music. Yes, I felt free as a bird in a clear blue sky.
Jeevan Kee Nadiyaa (River of Life) is one of the longer cuts on the album, but it is a wonderful production. Bansuri flute courtesy of Manab Mukherjee combined with the saxophone of Soukat and the voice of Joshi turn the work into a theme song somewhere out of the sixties. We here in the west say, “Life goes on”. In this tune, life is the flow of a river, endless, nourishing. Life giving. The orchestration is light and fluid.
Chupi Chupi (Silently) is a song of memories, remembering when, and only ifs. Remember when you were a child and life was carefree? Chupi Chupi offers a glimpse back to that time when make believe was the order of the day and sun, wind, and joy were the only things we cared about. Once again, the Ban Brothers inject the concept of a free bird into the mix.
Hum Se Zamaana (Time of Us) is a hybrid of electronic energies and enthusiastic vocals. Award winning vocalist Prajoth D’Sa adds his unique voice to a song of the elation at being alive. This a song of celebration. I was helpless not to join in.
The Ban Brothers have done a remarkable job of facilitating east meeting west. It is a perspective that is rare, but welcomed. Every song on the album is a venture into the different phases that love has to offer, all positive. This is the Ban Brothers fourth album to date and after hearing All About Love I know I want to hear more.