No Stranger Here
Shubha Mudgal || Ursula Rucker || Business Class Refugees
This album is inspired by poetry written by Kabir, a poet of the Bhakti Movement (500 AD – 1700 AD) that swept across India as a rebellion against religious orthodoxy, caste distinctions and Brahmanic (High Priest) rituals. The movement propagated love, peace and harmony, an ancient movement that still has relevance today, against worldwide prevalence of religious bigotry and communal orthodoxy that fuel wars and unrest.
Shubha Mudgals’s rendition of the ancient poetry is the reference point for the poetry written by Ursula Rucker specifically for this album, and the cross-cultural global soundscape of the Business Class Refugees (Patrick Sebag & Yotam Agam) draw a deep, contemporary parallel.
Crossing time, musical, geographical and historical boundaries, No Stranger Here intermixes diverse genres and music perspectives from at least three starkly different countries and cultures with deep secular grace, reiterating the timeless search for harmony, universal understanding and love.
Lyrically, the track A Stranger Here / Pardesi is the pivot of the album’s concept: the poetry Shubha and Ursula render express being and feeling a stranger in this world, of being alone; not finding meaning, mooring or understanding. As prolifically expressed cross time by lovers, artists, saints and devotees – humanity is no stranger to spiritual emptiness, not belonging, intellectual questioning, and the contradiction of being a stranger in a familiar world.
Through the ages, people connect, easily identify with artistic expressions that convey these feelings, and instantly relate to it with personal and collective experience.
Be it the 16th century or the 21st, neither humanity nor the individual in essence is any different today than centuries ago in the searching, pushing for change, or finding sublimation through artistic expression.
With individual sensitivity, awareness, respect and the special artistic understanding of their own and different cultures, the four artists of this album are no strangers to the world of musical artistry, coming together in rich diversity to become the timeless spiritual voice of humanity.