David Vito Gregoli and Ricky Kej
2022 / Ricky Kej & David Vito Gregoli
Review by Kathy Parsons
Wild Monsoon is an "East Meets West/World Beat Meets New Age" mash-up nearly ten years in the making. A collaboration by American composer/producer and multi-instrumentalist David Vito Gregoli and Indian composer/producer and multi-instrumentalist Ricky Kej, both artists have received and been nominated for a very impressive list of international awards. In addition to his music, Kej has received many humanitarian and environmental awards and honors. Vito and Ricky met for the first time in 2013 when both were nominated for Zone Music Reporter's "Best New Age Album" Award. (Ironically, both of them lost!) Both artists are also avid environmentalists and their vision for this album was a celebration of the music in nature and an encouragement to find harmony and balance. On Wild Monsoon, both artists perform on a variety of musical instruments as well as voice, and the album also features many of India's finest musical artists as well as South African flutist Wouter Kellerman and vocalist Kimberly Haynes on one track each. Eclectic in both musical styles/genres and instrumentation, the album flows beautifully both as background music and with full concentration. In keeping with the title of the album, the ten tracks refer to seasons and nature and, overall, the music can be both very calming and exciting.
Wild Monsoon begins with "Greeshm (Summer)," a piece that features flutes, voices, percussion, keyboard and a variety of stringed and ethnic instruments - a fascinating mix that is warm and inviting. "Sheeth (Winter)" positively sparkles with an unusual blending of electric and acoustic guitars, sitar, bass, flute, voice, percussion and more. The lively rhythm provides a nice counterpoint to the quieter and subtler melody. "Vasant (Spring)" would be a fantastic soundtrack to a film about nature's rebirth and renewal. The mix of acoustic and electric instruments from various parts of the world is calming while expressing a sense of wonder. "Sharad (Autumn)" has a strong, driving rhythm, but the attitude of the piece is warm and playful - a favorite! Elegant, exotic and mysterious, "Mahatma" features award-winning flutist Wouter Kellerman and is also a favorite. "Vana (Forest)" has perhaps the strongest jazz influence on the album - bright and lively with a touch of magic. "Jharna (Waterfall)" is a beautiful and powerful combination of acoustic and electric guitars, sitar, keyboard, percussion, etc. It suggests the beauty and cooling refreshment of being near a waterfall and basking its beauty and freedom. "Nadi (River)" has a relaxed, meandering feeling that is soothing as well as uplifting. Kimberly Haynes is a vocalist who often works with Vito Gregoli on her own recordings as well as his. I love the sincerity and honesty in her voice and both come through beautifully in "Badra (Rain)" - another favorite! "Baadal (Clouds)" brings the album to a close with a very cinematic sweep and cross-cultural blend that feels so very good. I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot about this album!
Wild Monsoon is available from Amazon, Apple/iTunes and streaming sites like Spotify and YouTube. Don't miss it!
June 30, 2022