Album Review: Anita Aysola’s “Beyond Our Dreams”

Anita Aysola is a piano virtuoso who despite being trained in the classical music, never dreamed of becoming a singer. Her small interaction with a professor turned out to be a life-changing event. Aysola is now a professional artist and an instrumentalist who had garnered attention for performing at a private Democratic fundraiser in 2010, an event that included President Barack Obama and other esteemed guests.

A girl who dreamed of becoming a concert pianist now uses her knowledge and talent to bring two identities together.

The singer will soon be releasing her album “Beyond Our Dreams” and through this album, Aysola has attempted to bring together her two selves that are most often seen differently by people. Fusion at the core, Aysola’s work is an amalgamation of Western Classical & Jazz and Hindustani music wherein the singles narrate stories and express emotions that are “intimately American” but use tunes that are musically Indian.

Created in collaboration with Samrat Chakrabarti and musicians from Brooklyn Raga Massive, each single of the album is laced with Tabla, Harmonium and raga music. She has also worked with Gary Norian whose influence can be felt strongly on tracks like “Bet on Us,” with its rollicking, uplifting New Orleans meets gospel feel.

While talking about using “fusion”, Aysola said,

“For a long time, I felt I had to be one or the other, Indian or American, in both my music and my life,” reflects Aysola. “Once I broke through that assumption, I realized the power of being both, of creating my own personal hybrid.”

“For “Long Way Home,” she used a raga (raag desh) as a springboard for the song’s melody. “Beyond our Dreams,” written for her youngest child, “toggles between raag jog and jazz and the blues, especially in the piano solo” thanks to the role thirds play in the raga. For “America,” a love song for a country striving for universal ideals despite recent rancour, Aysola found the chords first, then began to play with Indian elements on top. “As I was finishing this song, I was jamming out with my new Hindustani vocal teacher,” says Aysola. “I realized the sargam felt really good with the chords I already had in mind.”

The beginning single “America” sets the tone for the album as it talks about the dreamland America. While Childish Gambino might have shown the dark side of the country, Aysola tries to bring out the significance the place has had for her as an individual. Tracks like “Long Way Home” and “Bet On Us” details out the romantic conversation that Aysola had been having with the listener. These songs talk about love, struggle and coming back to square one. But instead of choosing a heart-wrenching tune to talk about liaison, Aysola chooses a mild melody that gives a sense of the movement. Pain is a part of life and while one talks about it, one is aware that she/he will overcome it and move on.

Her singles “Beyond Our Dreams” and “Tourist in Every Town”gives us a glimpse into the artist’s personality. An ode to the independent spirit, these two singles aim to convey the message that no matter who we are and where we come from, we all can live a peaceful and an independent life.

While the former single pays emphasis on achieving dreams, the latter focuses on exploration. Both the singles talk about dreams but with two different interpretations.

In terms of musicality, Anita Aysola’s album has a romantic vibe to it. Her creative genius is clearly evident from her creative use of Hindustani Music. Her album is one of the kind and needs to be treated as such.

The album “Beyond Our Dreams” will be released on August 2 and from what we have heard, the album is worth your time. You can follow the singer on Twitter to keep yourself updated with the new tracks and shows.

So, do you look forward to it? Share your thoughts via tweet @Fuzzable.

Written by ayushi

Hello! I am Ayushi from India. I love writing poetry, listening to K-POP and spending time alone. Writing is what defines me and I am on the journey to make the definition as good as possible.

Influencer 101: Sophie Ball

Fuzzable Blogs: July 21 – The Best Animated Disney Movies