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CD REVIEW: Maya and Sage - Spirit of Love
By Steve Allat - 02/21/2005 - 01:55 AM EST

Artist: Band: Maya and Sage
Album: Spirit of Love
CD Review: Label: Independent
Tracks: 11
Released: 2004
For Fans Of:
Fav Tracks: Jai Sita Ram, Utopia, Jai Sita Ram (reprise).

After a very relaxing introductory invocation, a dance party broke out . . . and I couldn't have been more pleased! Quickly, Maya and Sage break free of traditional boundaries, where typical devotional and/or meditational music would have you listening to track after track of repetitious (well, they are mantras, so that's ok) tracks with little variation.

They do this by being unafraid to take their original compositions and infecting them with their wide array of playing skills - adding backbeat, electric guitar, harmonica, world percussion and more as the songs dictate. Repetition being the strength of mantra, they use this simple universal tool effectively throughout to let the music get inside you in a way that if one part of you forgets, another will remember, and their work is accomplished.
It's very refreshing to hear them explore new horizons by transcending traditional meditational new age musical boundaries, which typically include flutes, didgeridoo, harmonium, keyboards & chimes (typical new agers will know what I'm trying to say).
The beauty of this CD is the way is changes up quite nicely from song to song - again, much other 'chanting' music I've heard sounds very similar in tone from song to song. The songs here, however, approach more traditional song lengths, rather than droning on too long - after all, you can always press repeat! And again, they are thinking progressively by transitioning the songs, giving the disc continuity.

Sage has a warm, soft voice and uses it well in accompanying on backing vocals while Maya's strong voice cuts nicely without being overpowering. She leads the way with confidence. Above all else, you can tell that these two enjoy all aspects of expressing the creations that flow through them.

Even though the pair are very influenced by eastern philosophies, Hinduism in particular, the songs stand on their own as mini-philosophies without many blatant references to any particular following (besides titles with mantra titles) - something which could have these songs heard outside the new age genre. Even if they're not, I'm sure they'll be quite successful with those who seek their music out.

In closing, I have to say that the weakest aspect of the presentation is the packaging. Having seen many devotional & chanting CD's before, their's unfortunately blends too well with music that is unlike theirs. They may be pigeonholing themselves slightly, as this music wanders outside traditional borders. If I hadn't known what was inside, I may not have looked based solely on the packaging, and I'm a big fan of the outside matching the inside as closely as possible (that goes for music and people alike).

Pleasantly surprised overall, especially at the diversity. Caught my attention a few times, something I wasn't expecting at all.

Contact: Information
Website: Maya & Sage

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