If you are looking for vocal music that is uniquely qualified to be different, you must by any means necessary check out Music For Crocodiles, Susheela Raman’s third release on the Narada Jazz Record Label. Although she may not be very well known in the United States, Susheela is highly regarded throughout Europe, Australia and Asia. Her first release entitled Salt Rain was a phenomenal hit in France, while also winning considerable acclaim in the Mercury Music Prize Competition. Behind those merits of note came Love Trap, another critically acclaimed release. In the minds of many music critics and jazz connoisseurs, Music For Crocodiles is far beyond Susheela’s first two efforts and is one of the most original and sustainable releases to date.
Susheela Raman was born in London and currently lives in England; however, she was raised in Australia with Indian influenced cultural mores. Susheela grew up studying music, but as she became more proficient, Raman began incorporating the music of her ancestry in her studies. On all three of her albums including Music For Crocodiles, Susheela has become very adept at bringing her Indian heritage into the forefront of popular Western music culture. This latest recording features thirteen tracks that contain some of the most sensual lyrics ever recorded in modern culture. There are South Indian infused melodies containing subtle English love songs, with a voice reminiscent of a style taken on by Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson and maybe even Sarah McLachlan, Susheela combines introspective jazz vocalese with a myriad of transitional traditional instruments, including the tabla. Raman’s delivery is soulful and all encompassing in approach, while also possessing a soothing, sultry and seductive manner about her. Susheela’s lyrical arrangements are often times thought-provoking, yet she has an innate ability to sing songs that are endearing and complete. In the end, Susheela Raman’s music is refreshingly intimate and new.Music For Crocodiles is Susheela Raman’s third release containing the influences of Indian and Western cultures; however, there is one noticeable difference. On her first two releases, Susheela’s arrangements contained more Indian influenced lyrics. This time out on Music For Crocodiles, the sustainable inclusion of English is more apparent, but because this has occurred, some of the mystic previously experienced has been removed. By and large, this latest recording is one of the most profound and prolific CDs released to date. Given the opportunity to experience the effervescence conveyed by Susheela Raman, anyone within earshot of this distinctive voice will become an instant fan. By any stretch of what is available to experience in vocal jazz today, albums such as Music For Crocodiles that are very cerebral in nature, can often provide a rare opportunity to be totally immersed in an artist's intuitive creative spirit that comes from within.