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
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
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.
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
poet of the soul in its marginal spaces.
He is charting a way back to the
Centre, a mystic sense of unity with
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
joyous engagement with life.
All 3 of Dada's albums
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