Like his jazz counterpart Jai Uttal, Krishna Das is a U.S. native whose life was changed forever by the discovery of the Hindu religion. Yet unlike Uttal, who has explored the realms of world and jazz music and collaboration, Das has focused his energies toward the art of Indian classical chant exclusively. The result is a long career of spreading the love and spirituality of the Hindustani tradition while gleaning a large following that’s included the likes of Sting and Madonna. But this isn’t the reason to respect Das, rather his investment in using chant to heal, find the grace of God, and purify the soul.
Though Das’s voice falls somewhat flat on this two-CD album, he’s accompanied by a wonderful gaggle of percussionists, whose layered cadences create a tapestry as rich in color and detail as an Indian ragamala itself. The accompanying choir of some 20 chanters is the other highlight, offering a cold salve to Das’s harsh, monotonous tone. But after all, the point of chant is to invoke God, not please the ear, and if this is your goal, Live on Earth well satisfies. –Karen K. Hugg