Sheila Chandra is a retired British pop singer of Indian descent whose work blends western and Indian pop styles as well as a more meditative drone based approach.
She formed the band Monsoon with Steve Coe and bassist Martin Smith creating a fusion of Western and Indian pop styles. They had some success with their only album Third Eye in 1982 including the hit single “Ever so Lonely” which reached number 12 in the UK Charts. The album also includes a cover of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows”, featuring the distinctive EBow guitar sound of Bill Nelson.
Sheila went on to release a number of albums in the 1980s, at times experimenting with her voice as an instrument through a range of techniques. After a creative split with Martin Smith, Chandra released three albums on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label —Weaving My Ancestors’ Voices (1992), The Zen Kiss (1994), and ABoneCroneDrone (1996).
She was also one of four soloists on ‘The Two Towers’ film soundtrack in 2002 (with a piece written especially for her called ‘Breath Of Life’) which went platinum.
Sheila has a rich fluid quality to her voice and along with her bandmates in Monsoon developed an irresistible but radical modern pop fusion sound.
Her solo work saw a profound transformation in the quality and depth of her work as a singer and writer in the field of Asian fusion.
Drawing on her cultural history she discovered an ability to seamlessly combine the vocal styles of the Arab world, Andalucia, Ireland, Scotland and India with more ancient structures such as that of Gregorian plainsong making for a true fusion of mind and one voice. She later developed a more minimal style on ‘ABoneCroneDrone’ combining voice with simple drones to lure the listener to hear the living symphony of harmonics.
Did you know Sheila first came to public attention as an actress, playing Sudhamani Patel in the BBC school drama Grange Hill from 1979 to 1981?
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