No Stranger Here

No Stranger Here, released on EarthSync to worldwide critical acclaim, features producers Business Class Refugees, Hindustani classical singer Shubha Mudgal and poet / spoken word artist Ursula Rucker exploring the poetry of Indian mystic and poet Kabir.

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No Stranger Here is inspired by poetry of the 16th century Indian poet Kabir from the Bhakti Movement (500-1700 AD) that swept across India as a rebellion against religious orthodoxy, caste distinctions and Brahmanic rituals. The movement propagated equality, love, peace and harmony, and remains relevant even today, against worldwide prevalence of religious bigotry, discrimination, and communal orthodoxy that fuel wars and unrest.

Shubha Mudgals's rendition of this ancient poetry is the reference point for the poetry written by Ursula Rucker specifically for this album, set against the cross-cultural global soundscape of Business Class Refugees, draw a deep, contemporary parallel.

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.

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. 

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"No Stranger Here is beguiling and enchanting in equal measure, but also a bit bonkers. It's easy to get melodically hypnotised listening to them as their strange brew is made to shift your consciousness, but there's also a dark undercurrent in most of their work that rewards the listening experience with a heavy melancholy that's addictive to certain souls...like me". 
- Bobby Friction, BBC Asian Network

"EarthSync's latest offering is a real treat. Part devotional meditation, part savvy supplication for a sense of universality through music, No Stranger Here dazzles listeners with the hypnotic vocals of Ms. Mudgal and Ms. Rucker's razor sharp poetry and spoken word sections against the wildly rich tapestry of the Business Class Refugees". - World Music Central

Ursula Rucker

Ursula Rucker born and raised in Philadelphia, and as a poet and performance artist, has enchanted critics and fans across the globe with her diverse repertoire, captivating vocals and accessible poetic verse.

Critics have compared Ursula to celebrated writers like Sonia Sanchez and Nikki Giovanni. Ursula's work has been described as part of a growing movement that is slowly adapting its aural sensibilities to women, particularly in the hip-hop and urban music.

She has performed her work at an array of venues, universities, and festivals including Montreaux Jazz Festival, Winter Music Conference, Theatre of the Living Arts, Painted Bride Art Center, World Cafe's Live, and Drexel University. She has toured extensively and as a global activist, she headlined the FREEDOM Festival in Australia in 2005. Beyond the 5 solo albums Supa Sista, Silver or Lead, ma'am mama, Ruckus Soundsysdom, and SHE SAID to her credit, she has also worked on countless projects and collaborations like The Roots, 4 HERO, URB, VIBE, XXL, Panache, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Straight No Chaser to name a few.

As an artist who has performed in many continents, countries, classrooms, and community centers, Ursula sees herself as an ambassador of culture, socio-political issues, truth, and love.

www.facebook.com/ursularucker

Shubha Mudgal

Born in Allahabad to a family that embraced literature as well as Indian and western music, Shubha Mudgal was trained initially as a Khayal singer by Pandit Ram Ashreya Jha. Later, she received the guidance of Pandit Vinay Chandra Maudgalya, Pandit Vasant Thakar,  Smt. Naina Devi and legendary maestro Pt. Kumar Gandharva, becoming one of the most versatile and popular performers of the new generation of Hindustani musicians. She started performing as a classical singer in the 80s and gained a certain reputation as a talented singer who started experimenting with other forms of music, including pop and fusion.

As a composer, her mystical poems from the Muslim Sufi-tradition and of rare Hindu texts have been highly praised by critics. Shubha Mudgal composes for dance and ballet and writes music for films and television.

Shubha Mudgal has received National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film Music Direction in 1996, the 1998 Gold Plaque Award for Special Achievement in Music and the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian awards in the Republic of India.

www.shubhamudgal.com

 

Business Class Refugees

Business Class Refugees is a global, collaborative project by music producer Patrick Sebag and sound designer Yotam Agam, who mix local music from around the world with electronica - electro - folk without borders, global flavors, and a cross-cultural mixture of emotions, realities, styles, languages and irresistible grooves.

Patrick Sebag is an acclaimed producer & musician who recorded the Gold-selling album "Shirat Rabim" ("Songs of the People") with international singer David D'Or and a band of Israel's finest musicians. Yotam Agam is a sound designer with a penchant for Asian sounds. Together, they collaborate with local musicians to overlay local artistic interpretation and signatures.

Patrick and Yotam have collaborated on many successful world music albums, films and shows, most notably Laya Project, the award-winning audio-visual documentary celebrating the music and cultural traditions of six countries affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami.