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The Unseen Guest

‘Listen My Son’
Four stars

Deepti Unni Apr 20, 2009
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In the much-trampled territory of world music, Indian instruments meeting Western music styles generally means a misplaced mash of ragas, sitar riffs flying over some jazz drumming, tablas tom-tomming behind flashy solos”¦ it’s all been done. But just when you think you never want to hear another “fusion” effort again, out pops a talent so prodigious, you’re forced to re-examine your perspectives.  The Unseen Guest ”“ musicians Declan Murray from Ireland and Amith Narayan from India ”“ is one of those bands that dole out paradigm shifts with every listen and ”˜Listen My Son’ is the perfect example. It’s a traveller’s song; every element of it, from the lyrics to the twanging country guitar lines, draws the listener irresistibly to the road. The percussion is understated but myriad, there’s what sounds like handclaps, bongos maybe even a dholak but it never breaks the melody of the guitar that switches between country and blues with consummate ease. Rich in folksy Indian tunes, (sample the bright mandolin melody and the quiet banjo in the background), you’ll discover a new layer to it with every new listen. The lyrics, likewise, are simple but there’s the bittersweet tang of parting, the pain of familiarity and the irrevocable need to keep moving hidden in its depths and in Murray’s voice: “They bypassed the route I used to take/But you can’t escape the time you now make”¦ So I find myself on the highway on my own/The median’s my pathway and my home.” Put on the song and let it soundtrack your lonely sojourns.

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