May 11 marks the release date of Sacred Words, the new album from Manika Kaur. It is interesting to note than ALL profits from Kaur’s music go to charitable causes. The proceeds from her first album, Bandhanaa, went to the construction of a new Sikh temple. Funds from Sacred Words are earmarked to help impoverished children in Punjab.
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, where she was raised amidst pervasive spirituality, Kaur now resides in Dubai with her husband. Stylistically, Kaur’s sound revolves around Kirtan, devotional singing of shabads (hymns). And although her shabads convey decidedly traditional flavors, there is a chilled out essence of smooth jazz and dream-pop flowing through them, even strong aromas of sophisti-pop akin to Sade’s music.
At the present juncture, Kaur’s popularity is immense, amassing over 10 million views on YouTube.
Sacred Words contains 10 tracks, and displays not only the velvety charm of Kaur’s voice, but the additional talents of James Yorkston (guitar and dulcimer), Jyontsna Srikanth (violin), and Tunde Jegede (kora).
Speaking objectively, all of the songs on the album are simply superb. Subjectively, the paramount tracks include “Aval Allah” and “Kabir Tu,” along with a third song, called “Nasaro Masoor.” While “Aval Allah” emanates more traditional, devout flavors, it still exudes a dream-pop coloring of voluptuous timbres. “Kabir Tu” and “Nasaro Masoor” impart the alluring tones of omnipotent love perfumed with graceful energizing fragrances.
Along with the aforementioned, two other songs stand out: “Ad Gurray Namay” and “Fareeda Master.” The former tune encompasses smooth jazz savors buffed to a high sheen, while the latter rides a soft rock gleam amid entrancing textures of numinous arrangement.
The contrasting flavors and colors of transcendence and Kaur’s silken tones saturate the music with gentle tendrils of sonic allusions that calm and soothe. Kaur’s voice is simply nonpareil, drifting, soaring, and lingering with balanced aesthetics.
Sacred Words is more than delicious; it’s positively excellent. If you’re seeking music to inspire, relax and cleanse your mind of stress and anxiety, look no further.