Influenced by her world travels, Tina Malia’s latest release, Bridge to Vallabha, features a compilation of prayers, mantras, and songs sung in Sanskrit, Hebrew, Gurmukh, and English.
Malia plays guitar, vibraphone, charangon, lap steel guitar, cello and keyboards and is accompanied by Donna De Lory, Heather Wertheimer, Karnamrita Dasi, Jai-Jagdeesh, Peia, and Sasha Rose.
Malia’s angelic voice maintains a balance between lightness and a sincere presence. The track “Om Sarve“ reveals a clear mastery of vocal tracking and harmonies and a melody that feels like a familiar gypsy ballad. “Ima Adama” has a catchy, folk-pop style that would fit in on popular radio.
“Eck Ong Kar” has one of the most unique takes on this mantra with Malia’s a cappella approach: a simple vocal melody reminiscent of an indigenous African tune paired with hand claps. Listening to the way the mantra loops induces a state of trance. It is one of my personal favorites: I interpret it as a call to inspiration and truth.
“Oushadim” feels dreamy and experimental; the minimalist electronic synth pads feel mysterious, and the violin is so gorgeous and expressive, in the style of a Chinese Erhu.
This album contains my current favorite rendition of “Long Time Sun.” I like how Malia did some interesting change-ups on the arrangement while keeping the integrity of the melody. Anyone should be exceedingly impressed at the broad skill and taste of Malia’s songwriting, arrangements, and production on Bridge to Vallabha.
Bridge to Vallabha
by Tina Malia
Reviewed by McKenna Rowe, a DJ, yoga teacher, and founder of Chakra 5 Yoga & Wellness: chakra5.la.