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Album Review: Rumbadoodle
Arun Shenoy
Cover image of the album Rumbadoodle by Arun Shenoy
Arun Shenoy
2012 / Arun Shenoy Music Publishing
43 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Rumbadoodle is the Grammy-nominated Best Pop Instrumental Album and the recording debut of Arun Shenoy. It is also the first ever Grammy-nominated album by an artist from Singapore. Very impressive for a first effort! The album started with the idea of putting together a large-scale world fusion project with the Spanish Rumba Flamenco as the underlying theme. Teaming up with musicians from around the world, everyone’s ideas were shared and the musicians co-wrote much of the music in addition to sharing their instrumental talents on the recordings. With artists from Canada, England, The US, Singapore, Pakistan, and India, this is a true melting-pot of musical styles, expanding and dissolving genre boundaries and creating a unique listening experience that is joyful, passionate, and a whole lot of fun. Also known as “Gypsy Rumba,” this music can be played in any key (unlike traditional Flamenco), and works in fusion with many other musical genres - pop, rock, jazz, Eastern, and even Celtic. The 16-page booklet that is included with the CD contains beautiful illustrations for each of the eleven songs as well as info about each track and introductory comments by Arun Shenoy. The cover artwork is outstanding!

Rumbadoodle begins with the title track, a joyous piece that features guitars, violin, piano, strings, drums, and bass. The infectious energy of this piece carries through much of the album, causing frequent head bobs and toe-taps. “My Ballad Days” is one of the quieter and more romantic pieces, although it, too, has a really catchy beat. “Prance” is one of my favorites. Guitars, drums, and bass keep the instrumentation fairly simple, but there is plenty of fancy finger-work as well as smoldering passion coming from that guitar! “Fireflies” contrasts smooth, cool darkness (strings and keyboards) with flashing sparks coming from the guitar - lively and in constant motion. “Blue Sky Happiness, Part 1” is kind of dark and slinky with electric guitars in addition to the Flamenco guitar - there is definitely a rock influence here! “Blue Sky Happiness, Part 2” is much more piano-driven and lighter in mood, with a strong beat behind piano, keyboards, and guitar - I like this one a lot, too! “Sleepy Town” has a strong Middle Eastern flavor yet fits right in with the rest of the music. A guitar solo with bits of light percussion for color, it’s a beauty! “Rhythm of the Sun” closes the set with a touch of the blues on piano, guitar, and light percussion - a great way to leave ‘em wanting more!

Rumbadoodle is an extraordinary project from several different angles, and the music itself is excellent. It is available from arunshenoy.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
February 25, 2013
This review has been tagged as:
Debut AlbumsGrammy NomineesGuitar music
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