Music Review: Dreaming in Sanskrit
by Marti Nikko and DJ Drez (Black Swan Records)
The first time I heard Marti Nikko sing, I was in savasana; Micheline Berry was teaching, DJ Drez (Nikko’s husband and frequent collaborator) spinning. I was struck by the resonance, melody, and powerful vibration of a voice that reached beyond the studio. Every time I hear her (whether backing up MC Yogi in person or a guest vocalist on one of DJ Drez’s albums), I am transfixed. Finally, she is releasing the full album her fans has been eagerly waiting with 13 unique tracks: every one a dance-along standout.
Marti’s voice and Drez’s production are ably backed up by an all-star roster of musicians including Sheela Bringi, Eddie Young, Jim Beckwith, Demonic Dean Breaux, Marty Lieberman, Marty Williams, and Vijay Krishna as well as mantra expert Manoj Chalam.
“Om Mani Padme Hum” opens Dreaming with alluring repetition setting up the trance-like qualities of the album. The trance mixes and repetition expertly merge with contemporary world music melodies, as seen in songs like the dub beat and remix of “Maha Yoga” and the reggae-influenced sound of “Maha Devi.” Their take on the “Maha Mantra” exemplifies the fusion of East-West and ancient-modern this album does so well.
The purity and sincerity of the Sanskirt mantras are intact here and the combination of lyrical treatment with excellent musicianship offers a catchy and contemporary take on the sacred.
Preview tracks and Purchase: Dreaming in Sanskrit
Reviewed by Felicia Tomasko, Editor-in-Chief of LA YOGA Magazine.
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.