Marti Nikko and DJ DREG

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.