Unborn Star
(KPG Music, 1998)

Delhi-born Piyali Ganguly has been singing for years. When she was a child, she sang in the family bathroom because she liked the way her voice echoed in the small room. From that humble beginning, she went on to sing professionally in Calcutta, before moving to Japan with her husband. There, too, she soon became a professional singer, gaining more popularity when she learned to sing in Japanese. Approximately seven years later, her family moved to this country.

Unborn Star is her third album, but her first recorded in the United States. She cites a wide variety of influences on her music, including the traditional Indian music she grew up with and her several years living in Japan.

Her voice is dusky and strong like a torch singer's, but her songs aren't necessarily about love, requited or otherwise. In fact, of the seven songs that appear on Unborn Star, only two are about love. One ("The Ocean and the Rock") details a love affair between the ocean and the rock, and the other ("Today of All Days") is a charming wedding song. (I keep finding lovely wedding songs now that my own wedding is over.) Of the remaining songs, "Unborn Star" is a rant against politics and the unfairness of life. "Dream" is just that, about a dream of ascension. In the same vein is "Snow," a song that evokes the soft, silent falling of snow while all the world is asleep. "I Choose" is an affirmation of the kind of life we'd all like to lead. The remaining song, "Shadows of the Mind," is a little bit harder to classify. It seems to be saying that you can never truly know another person because there will always be barriers that will not allow you to pass.

All the songs on the CD were written by Piyali and she performs all the vocals. Dave Falciani accompanies her on keyboards, with Ed Hamilton on guitar and Chris Farr on saxophone. The sound is a little bit jazzy, a little bit new agey, and definitely enjoyable.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]

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