You have stumbled upon a treasure that in my experience has not been explored before. In Mantra America, the ingenious musical working of Serpentine is unfolded yet again through a novel exploration of East meets West. The Spirit of Vivekananda himself, the father of eastern thought brought to the west, glows and expands through this bright and melodic unfolding of sitar, tabla, djembe, flute and mantra, mixed in Sanskrit, Hindi, English and free-flowing tongues; typical of Serpentine's musical artform.
The anthology opens like light showers during a bright, sunlit day, sprinkling cool raindrops gently onto an upturned and smiling face. The jovial and communal dance flows with reflective glitterings, as swimming in the lightness of water's weightlessness and through the third eye of awakening. The listener feels as if she is truly doing some soul searching as glorious tabla solos reverberate and sooth.
Mantra America, wherewith the title of the disc is derived, opens with a sheer pause to reverence like the dawning of the sun upon the Sonoran desert or perhaps upon the shores of the Chesapeake. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, all of the vortices of this northern American continent are given a gift of celebratory song. There is a sure Native American tone that echoes through this tranquilly rhythmic rotation of praise to the land of the Cherokee, the Creek and the Buffalo. A perfect sequel to this harmonious blend comes in the declarative voice of Hara Mahadeva, the fourth exploration by Serpentine. Powerful and solemn, yet secure, Serpentine heralds pure reverence from the peaks of mountains and carries melodies upon the visceral flight of falcons.
From inspirational to soothing, the transition to a few intimate explorations brings the listener into cozy surroundings. Serpentine sometimes seems to be directly speaking to the listener to calm and ease into repose. Like a massage for the mind and heart, evening intimacies are conjured and even a few love affairs ensue, one clearly through Hari Krishna and another through the mantra Shiva Sharanam. These are initiated with sounds that bring to mind lit incense and candlelight garnishing a quenched longing. Like fingertips lightly caressing skin, Serpentine weaves her raw use of free-flowing tongues into romantic, sparkling wine gestures.
At other times the emotions that Serpentine conjures are a bit more grave such as during the tenth mantra, Hari Hari Har, where troubled yet not entirely lost into a panic, this ominously beautiful journey brings you into a fierce yet beautiful tempest that one desires to withstand.
Serpentine has successfully created a piece of work that moves the listener through a gamut of emotion, from happy to reverent to romantic or even troubled or even a touch of all at once. The result is simple. You will want to listen to this amazing CD again and again. The embroidered dance of vocals moves one, in a sense floating like lit prayers set upon the great Ganges at dusk, or could it perhaps be lit prayers upon gently flowing pools of the Colorado within the heart of the Grand Canyon?
To lovers of music with world sounds as well as experimentals mixed with mystical implications, Mantra America is a must listen as it conveys a successful fusion of cultures, blending into this continent the spirit of eastern mysticism with the already profound spirits of that which is native to this land. Once again Serpentine has offered her musical gifts to the world. Each time you listen to Mantra America you are continually awed by the intricacies of vocal and musical detail inlaid with emotional depth that surely will touch your heart.