Thursday, August 9, 2007

Falu

Posted on Thu, Aug 9, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Falu
Label: Monsoon
Length: LP
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Falu
Bombay-born Falguni Shah (aka Falu) was trained as a vocalist in Indian classical music, but there is nothing on this album of polished, adult-alternative pop that evokes the centuries of tradition that went into her musical education. Nothing, that is, save her richly expressive voice. (The closest she gets to acknowledging the past is a numbly rocking cover of 'Dum Maro Dum,â?� the Bollywood classic immortalized by Asha Bhosle.) Falu's singing is warm and enveloping; it occupies a register deeper than many would associate with India's female singers, which also goes a long way toward making it accessible to the Western ears she clearly wants to infiltrate now that she's a New Yorker. Sadly, 'accessible,â?� rather than 'exciting,â?� seems to be the guiding mantra for most of this disc's material. With the exception of 'Dum Maro Dumâ?� and two traditional numbers ('O Lal Meriâ?� and 'Poojanâ?�), the songs are mostly smooth, anodyne jazz-pap numbers, blandly arranged, performed in note-perfect fashion and recorded in crystalline fidelity. If this is the extent of the singer's creative vision, it's a shame to hear her powerful voice wasted on such sleepy material. Perhaps on her next disc she'll explore more adventurous territory.

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