Music Review: Vandana Vishwas - Parallels

By Samir Shukla

Vandana Vishwas

Parallels, the new recording by Indian-Canadian singer Vandana Vishwas is a study in genre-bending. She has woven five songs recorded in two distinct styles - think two parallel tracks each colored differently yet moving in the same musical direction. She brings Canadian and Indian musicians into the fold that enhance her voice that is embedded into varied styles. The album kicks off with the tropical flamenco track “Mai Bequaid" where one feels the lilting guitar and dreams of soft sand between toes standing on sunny beach, a lovely Bollywood actress in a sari swaying along. The same song is later given a country treatment that makes the listeners feel like they are strolling in the foothills of Appalachia. “Piya na Mose Bole" is sung along to a new age version and also in a traditional Indian version, both showcasing the longings of a woman as if on different days or in different moods. “Dhula Dhula" is a feisty number first sung with African beats and later treated to Afro-Indian beats. Vishwas's voice fully blooms singing the ghazal “Fiqr E Manzil" with the musicians taking the compositions into higher elevations with traditional music. The track also gets a rock treatment with an amped electric guitar in the second version. The closing track on the album, “Hum Gum Huye (Unplugged)" is a sparse, haunting version that really showcases her voice. The ballad version of the song fills in the lines with thicker musical accents. In Parallels, Vishwas shows her range and adaptability in multiple musical genres.

Track listing:
Mai Beqaid (Flamenco)
Piya Na Mose Bole (New Age)
Dhula Dhula (African Beats)
Fiqr E Manzil (Ghazal)
Hum Gum Huye (Ballad)
Mai Beqaid (Country)
Piya Na Mose Bole (Traditional Indian)
Dhula Dhula (Afro-Indian)
Fiqr E Manzil (Rock-E-Zal)
Hum Gum Huye (Unplugged)

Samir Shukla is editor of Saathee magazine