JOI: We Are Three


This is the second and, tragically, the last of the brothers Shamsher’s output. Older brother Haroon died suddenly in 1999 after a trip to Bangladesh to collect material for this album. Younger brother Farook completed the album and released it as a tribute to Haroon. The CD is a strong collection of Bengali-based dance grooves. While instruments such as tabla, flutes, and dutar turn up in many of the tracks, the Bengali connection is not overstated. Rather, it’s there to give a sense of identity and place. The rhythms are straightforward and danceable, the tone colors layered like sheets of vibrantly dyed gauze. In “Prem,” the ingenuous voice of a 14-year-old girl (recorded in Bangladesh by Haroon) wails over a deep groove. Traces of disco are discernible in “Deep Asian Vibes.” The languid flow of tracks such as “Triatma” and “Flying With You” shows the brothers’ subtler side. One can even catch a whiff of country & western in “We Need Your Vote” with its twangy guitar and banjo sounds. This is one of the most powerful tracks, with a child’s voice layered over the sounds of a chanting crowd, and a heavy backbeat driving it all. We Are Three shows Farook Shamsher’s skill as a manipulator of sounds and serves as worthy testimony to his brother’s memory.

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