Incantations by Sheela Bringi
The first time I was introduced to the mystical sounds of Sheela Bringi was at her informal performance during the savasana portion of Sacred Dance Live in Santa Monica. With rave-like lasers still swirling from the exhausting dance party, and sweaty, panting bodies laying side by side on the wooden floor, it was easy to feel like Sheela’s music was taking you on a journey.
Her subsequent performance at the WitzEnd in Venice was no exception. With a gentleness and sensitivity, Sheela’s ethereal sound is both eerie and seductive. I ran into a friend there who offered her opinion of Sheela simply saying, “It’s amazing that God put so much talent and light into one tiny being.”
Tiny she may be but out of her diminutive frame comes a smoldering voice that is surprisingly nostalgic for her age. Incantations is Sheela at her newest and best, an elixir of sounds and traditions that are compellingly complex. Layered with traditional Indian music and vocals, Sheela transitions smoothly between instruments, melodies, and arrangements. Harmonium, harp, and bansuri are woven throughout the album, expectedly, but are also juxtaposed by a heavy element of jazz, one of Sheela’s prime influences.
Reviewed by Kiara Kinghorn a ballet and yoga teacher who lives and writes in Santa Monica.