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Bhakti Rasa
Nectar Ov Devotion

In general, I feel that the entire world music scene suffers from a lack of ingenuity and fresh ideas. Not so with Bhakti Rasa, a Maha-Shakti band hailing from Denver, Colorado. Their debut release, Nectar Ov Devotion, is packed with brilliant polyrhythmic drumming and pleasing stringed instruments. The record creates an intense mood of spiritual energy, at times trancey and meditative, at others highly sensual and danceable. The band is made up of relative unknowns in the musical world: Jivananda on electric sitar and guitars, Ronnie Nelson on bass and synthesizers, and Denver music scene long-timer George Edwards (formerly of New Ben Franklins and Time Beings) on percussion.

The music is nothing short of incredible. The rhythms are driving and beautifully varied, while the synthesizer creates nice pads and perfect atmosphere on which the sitar can rest. "Hari Bol" is a slice of sitar-heavy delight, bringing to mind the salad days of The Mission UK (Children) and simultaneously infusing the body with a need to swirl hips and dance in some wild rumpus. The drums are sentient and ever evolving, while the bass keeps a steady throb and the sitar weaves its tangible spell about the listener. While the beginning songs focus more on tribal and ethnic rhythms, the album makes a turn towards more modern fare with tracks like "Eala Dance", bringing more synthesizers in, and creating music that could sit readily in a DJ's club set.

Nectar Ov Devotion is filled with tracks that could just as soon inspire belly dancing and pagan mysticism as it could pull the right audience onto the dancefloor to grind away in tribal ecstasy. The only real shortcoming of the record is the banal and self-serving cover of "Dancing Barefoot". The production on that track is poor, and the riffs redundant and lifeless. I prefer Bhakti Rasa in all their original glory, without the trappings of more pop oriented music.

-L. Keane

Track Listing:
1. Intro Hari Bol
2. Hari Bol
3. Shiva's Blush
4. Sultana
5. Kama
6. Harem Of Fire
7. Dancing Barefoot
8. Eala Dance
9. Durga Lila
10. Real Mirage

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