Susheela is an acclaimed British Indian musician. She has released five albums since 2001 and was nominated for the 2006 BBC World Music Awards. Raman’s debut album Salt Rain was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2001. Known for her energetic, vibrant, syncretic, and uplifting live performances, Londoner Susheela has established her place as one of the most creative artists to emerge from the South Asian diaspora. Blessed with a mesmeric voice and and arresting presence, Susheela has enraptured countless listeners with her own songs and with her interpretations of songs from her Indian roots.
She makes the lines on the map dissolve; a South Indian sensibility radiates through her happily hybrid Euro-Afro-Asian musical landscape, just as an Indian voice is infused with a Londoner’s feeling for rock, blues, soul.
Susheela’s ability to sing her way between musical worlds and thereby to create her own, has few parallels. She is moving with the tide of the times: India is now a centre of gravity within the Anglophone world, and is increasingly in the global spotlight. Finding sophisticated and adventurous pathways between Indian and global culture is the real challenge; one which she boldly and instinctively meets.
Raman and Mills are now focussing strongly on their ‘Ghost Gamelan’ album, a work with gamelan players led by ‘kontemporer’ composer Gondrong Gunarto to be released globally in June on all formats by Naive Records /Believe Digital. Recorded in Surakarta and London with a unique, mercurial sonority which somehow succeeds in aligning Susheela’s own melodic, harmonic and lyrical gifts with the delirious microtonality and virtuosity of the Javanese Gamelan. As Susheela says “people underestimate the importance of Gamelan in all contemporary music; it has informed all smart music-makers from Debussy and Satie to John Cage, Miles Davis, Steve Reich and Sonic Youth. Its slippery DNA is on everything from Modal Jazz to EDM, so playing with the gamelan is more about connectedness than any kind of exoticism. Bringing a South Indian perspective to it also uncovers another kind of resonance.”
Watch a performance of the track “Moon” with the Ghost Gamelan orchestra at the Roundhouse below: