World Music News Wire #18
A Tsunami of Sound: Top Global DJs Find New Pulse of Hope, Recovery, and Music after Southeast Asian Disaster
In the lonesome voice of a Sri Lankan fisherman or a Thai market seller’s flute vibrate sorrow and substance, heart and hope. The reverberations of the 2004 tsunami along the Indian Ocean coasts, as expressed in the everyday music of ordinary people, have global resonance, sounds that can connect and inspire.
Putting these sounds into the innovative hands of global DJs, A New Day: Laya Project Remixed reveals fresh facets and possibilities, as tablas lock into the perfect dub and overlooked voices intertwine with sinuous bass or bouncing, joyful breakbeats.
“We really wanted to spark an emotional reaction, while still being very respectful of the people involved,” explains Laya Project director and producer Sonya Mazumdar. “The remixes add another, rich dimension, to help those outside these communities to connect.”
To create connection, the remixers on A New Day were recruited for their keen ears for global music and their experience working thoughtfully to blend tradition and digital production, beats and soul. This was of crucial importance to EarthSync, the team that had dedicated years to produce a fitting tribute to the peoples in coastal communities from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives, India, and Myanmar (Burma).
Recorded on site during impromptu sessions over the course of more than two years in dozens of overlooked areas, this music spans national, ethnic, and religious boundaries. The remixes, staying true to the tracks’ spirit, span genres and sounds, embracing other elements to shed new light on the Project’s mission: to reveal the joy, creativity, and strength of the everyday people who had faced the trial and heartbreak of the tsunami.
“I was happy to see how the remixers, without being told where to go and what to do, understood the method and spirit of the music, and took it to their own musical space,” reflects Patrick Sebag, music producer of the original Laya Project (and remixer of “Laya Mantra”).
To unfold this new musical space, A New Day producer Joshua Jacobs drew on some of the strongest forces on the global dance floor, an established corps of DJs reveling in the possibilities of traditional music from around the planet.
The voice of a simple woman from the Maldives rings powerfully over a springy pulse of deep bass (“Farihi (Fabian Alsultany Remix)”). The trebly overtones of a jaw harp and elegant beats bring out new sides of an Indian Sufi song Ya Allah (“The Please Wipe Our Tears Remix (Cheb i Sabbah)”). The song of two beacons of Thai tradition float, filled with ethereal longing, in a contemplative sea of ambient samples and chords (“Waterside Tales (Bombay Dub Orchestra's Blade Runner Remix)”).
“The Pitch Black remix of ‘A New Day’ is a great of example of the power of remixes,” notes Jacobs. “They created an incredible slow and ethereal dub version of the track, which is magical for yoga.”
“Remixes, especially for Laya Project, allow the message of Laya and the sound of the villages in these six countries to reach new audiences and age groups,” Jacobs explains. “This album will reach the dance floor, trance festivals, lounges, and even TV commercials and feature films, which will greatly expand awareness of the Laya Project and the people affected by the 2004 Tsunami.”
“The name we chose speaks volumes: ‘Laya’ is a really resonant and rich Sanskrit word,” Mazumdar muses. “Along with many other things, it can mean fusion, union, and embrace, all elements that echo in these remixes. It’s the essence of what we and the remixers hope for.”