Chandrika Tandon: following her soul’s call

Soul Call is the name of Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon’s debut album. It is a well chosen name, not only because the music comprises Indian chant. It was in following her soul’s call to music that Tandon found her path to create the recording, a path which finds her now the recipient of a Grammy nomination for best contemporary world music album, alongside musical stars including Béla Fleck, Bebel Gilberto, Angelique Kidjo, and Sergio Mendes.

insi light chandrika tandon music

It was not always a straight road. Music was not considered a proper career in her family, so she studied business, always being drawn to fill her spare hours with music. When she moved to New York from her native India to take up work with a majorchandrika tnadon consulting firm, she spent her first paycheck to buy a guitar and and a good stereo rather than furniture for her new apartment.

Tandon did well in business, rising in the ranks of her company and then starting her own firm. She traveled the world for this work, and wherever the traveled she sought out musical experiences. Still, music was on the back burner for her until her daughter was starting high school. “”I woke up one day and realized that, though I had reached many measures of business success, I had not connected with my deepest self, my life’s purpose,” she says. “It struck me that all of my happiest moments in life go back to music! I needed to pursue my passion for music and share it with everyone.”

So she did, setting out to undertake a rigorous path of self defined education in Indian classical music, traveling to India to study and connecting with experts in the United States as well. As much as she was drawn to the complex forms of that music, Tandon also found herself with an ear and a heart for the music of the people, street music and music sung in informal settings to express joy, community, and connection. She started composing songs, and that, eventually, led to Soul Call.

The album consists of different settings of the words of a healing chant more than six thousand years old, which Tandon sings. She composed each setting to follow a different Indian raga. Sarod master Tejendra Narayan chandrika tandon
Majumdar created arrangements for her melodies with Indian classical, folk, and Western instruments including vibraphone, acoustic guitar, and bass.

These are healing chants, Tandon points out, and she has decided to further that idea by creating a non profit organization to channel funds from the recording to benefit organizations in the fields of community building, arts, and spirituality.

Will she win a Grammy? Tandon doesn’t know, of course. About the experience of being nominated, she reflects that “this is about a shared celebration of music among musicians. I have met so many musicians that I now admire. I feel utter gratitude to those that took the time to listen, to share feedback, and to support an unknown like me.

“This CD is about creating a circle of love,” Tandon continues. “We are reaching out to each other. We are reaching each other’s hearts and souls through the beautiful sounds that the universe has given us a chance to create.”

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