KULJIT BHAMRA & SHAN CHANA Himalaya Dawn Keda Records KEDCD61 (2005)
Kuljit Bhamra's last album 'Burning At Melting Point' was a disappointment, probably because it tried to be all things to all listeners. The east-west fusion got over-complicated with the introduction of a rap-vocalist and, um, Julian Clary.
'Himalaya Dawn' on the other hand is a superb fusion of Eastern beats meets Western funk.
Bhamra is a well-respected Asian arranger and composer who has lent his talents to West End musicals and the 'Bend It Like Beckham' soundtrack. Collaborator Shan Chana worked with Bhamra in the West End and lends percussion and guitars to the rich soundscape.
There is some fantastic Bhangra rhythm on this which is a good enough way to test your new bass bins. I defy anyone to resist the superb funk rhythm loops of the title track, 'Always' and 'New Horizons', and a wonderful remix of The Bee Gees 'Staying Alive' will have you looking for that faded white suit.
Although the CD is maybe too drum heavy for some tastes, when Bhamra does crossover it comes good. A whole album like the aforementioned 'New Horizons' , with monstrous funk, eastern flavours and heavier rock guitar, would be a treat indeed.