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1. New Renaissance, UK by Daniel Haven
2. Black and White, Australia by Marcus Bussey
The Return of The Magic
- Dada Nabhaniilananda
by Daniel Haven
New Renaissance Magazine, UK

At long last, Dada Nabhaniilananda's stubborn refusal to yield to impatience has delivered us a meticulously crafted album. Years in the making, "The Return of the Magic" is a collection of songs from a singer/songwriter/monk who has toured and performed widely for more than twenty years. The songs were recorded in England, USA, Norway and Brazil and benefits from a superb production job by Devashish who mixed the album in Puerto Rico.

From the softly strummed opening chords, the restrained and tasteful instrumentation places the melody, the message and Dada's warm voice at the heart of every track. The songs have an easy and immediate appeal. You may not expect this kind accessibility from a mystical monk, but Dada's songs grab your attention like a smile. I found myself humming the chorus of "Perfect Love' already after the first listen.

Dada has steered far from the course that has stranded many "new age" artists on the cliffs of ambition and pretension. We are spared transcendental slush, philosophical mush and gaudy synths. The narratives of the deeply spiritual songs place love and devotion in re-assuring human contexts of friendship and closeness. "I know that you're everywhere, I know that theory. But 'till I feel your hand in my hair, I remain weary" sings Dada on "A dream", one of the standout tracks.

Dada lets us into his private universe on "No Distance" and "Lake Gardens". These intimate songs ache with the kind of pain that is inseparable from all love, including alas! the love for God: "If I could just recall exactly how you said my name, everything might be the same again, " from "Lake Gardens".

Fans of Dada's special knack for epic songwriting, that made his debut CD "Warriors of the Rainbow" shine, will not be disappointed. On "Hou Yi shot the suns" and "The Chant of Permulwuy", Dada introduces us to mythical heroes from China and pre-colonial Australia and makes their ancient struggle relevant to our struggle for justice today.

Dada's team on "The Return of the Magic" deserves credit. Giita's backup vocals are excellent throughout, and in a way define the soundscape. It's used to great effect on "Remember me", a sunshiny celebration of a song. Sukhadeva's guitar is understated and professional, never imposing on Dada's voice. With several of his own instrumental albums to his credit, Sukhadeva here concentrates on enhancing Dada's melodies. The whole band deliver a tight performance.

As the title track's rousing chorus ends the album on an upbeat note, I can feel some of "the Magic" Dada sings about linger, and the future, in these days of war and conflict, looks just a bit brighter.

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Price: $14.99
The Return of The Magic
- Dada Nabhaniilananda
by Marcus Bussey
Black and White, Australia

The spirit of reconciliation shines forth in two recent albums from both
sides of the divide. The indigenous Australian Archie Roach’s sinuous
album Sensual Being brings with its funky sound a thoughtful understanding of issues relating to Aboriginality, the strength found when dispossessed and forced to live on the periphery.

Sensual Being is a powerful introduction to the Aboriginal soul as it seeks
to re-forge a broken identity, a fractured sense of the self that once was.
It is both poignant and challenging as Archie Roach is an uncompromising
poet for the Aboriginal soul. Yet my white soul responds to his words and
the images he paints just as strongly as his many black fans.
When he sings, “Life is worth living,” I respond. When he states “Feel the moment. Breathe the moment with your nostrils as you take it in,” I feel elated. This is feeling the human story on our skin.

Another album, this time from the white side of the street also reaches
across the barrier of skin and tribe. Dada Nabhaniilananda’s new The
Return of the Magic charts a journey for us all. Like Archie Roach he is a
poet of the soul in its marginal spaces. He is charting a way back to the
Centre, a mystic sense of unity with all Being.

Like Roach he is also not afraid to look at the distress and difficulties
of this journey. His music is cosmopolitan and cheeky. His lyrics shine
as he tells stories of ancient heroes and modern day travellers.
Essentially his message, like Roaches‚, is one of hope. “With the return
of the magic to this world, we will run to you and find hope again”
Nabhaniilananda’s work offers a romantic’s insight into the path we must
tread to wholeness. His music compliments this as it paints delicate
pictures to accompany his words. The poetry shines forth brightly and
cannot but engage you with lines that are often like aphorisms for life.
Despite his own declaration that “Words all too often mar the magic of a
love unspoken,” Dada‚s words and music cannot but move us closer to a
joyous engagement with life.

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Price: $14.99


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