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I’ve been aware of Kristy Marie (or Nur Jehan Chishti) as a musician for around a decade now. It’s been a number of years since the last time I’ve received a recording from her. I believe the last one was a project called Bird by Bird, titled “Are We Amish Yet.” Back when that album came out, I was worried that I’d find it to be a little too much on the preachy hippie angle. It turned out that I really liked it and still listen to it from time to time.
For those who might wonder about me saying that I might not like something because of a preachy hippy angle, if you’ve been on Facebook, you’ve likely encountered a person who posts inspirational posts frequently. As if they’re saying that they’re living this whole higher level of existence and since you haven’t achieved the ability to post seemingly profound, deep and positive things on your Facebook wall, you probably haven’t achieved enough life lessons to have the wisdom and insight to really understand the inner-peace that this individual who needs to constantly assert how in tune they are with nature and themselves are above you.
Thankfully, Kristy Marie and her music have never come across as pompous or preachy. There are certainly statements in her work, but I don’t have the feeling that I’m being force fed an ideal. This album has some feminist connotations, but the message is subtle. Even with the positive ideology presented, there are reflections of reality intertwined with that. What I’m getting at is that Kristy Marie can make a statement without making it seeming like she is tossing things around to make herself look better by what she has to say.
In many ways, this album is rather humble. With that said, I will say that the guest artists are definitely worth noting. The opening track, “Bolder,” comes off as kind of pop-folk with it’s definite hooks and melody line. The song is backed by Abe Curran and Jim Hall, both fairly active musicians in the area. The chorus is a little predictable with the rhyme scheme, “I may get bolder as I grow older/but I’m for from colder/even in the thunder, lightning and rain.” The verse adds a little more with, “In our world right now there is war, violence and strife/and it may seem dark/but calmly and quietly at the same time/something is happening underground/an inner revolution is taking place.” I’ve interviewed Kristy before regarding the end of the Mayan calendar back in 2012, she had a few words regarding the subject, “In general, any truth seekers of any kind are putting pieces together as they will. It’s true that it’s kind of like a magnet that attracts people who are like minded but even so, I think there is quite a reality that we as a species are using two planets worth of resources and we only have one planet. There is a tipping point where we can learn to live in harmony with our planet and obviously it doesn’t seem to be going that way. But just like a natural disaster can swipe out with in one slash in a day, so can consciousness change. I don’t think we really have a choice to ignore the way the world is going,” said Kristy.
Looking more into this album, it’s fairly minimalistic but has some fun build ups. The song “Bears of Men” is an example of subtle feminism. “To all my bears of men out there, you do not scare me, no.” The key part to the song is the chant of “Radhe Govinda Bajo,” this is a traditional Krishna chant of Hindu ties. I spent a little time listening to this style of music while formulating a thought process on how to explain this album. The chant ultimately represents “Ultimate feminine” and “Ultimate masculine.” According to Kristy’s liner notes, “the two that are one.” Radhe, in Hindu beliefs is a Goddess that stands along side of Krishna, yes the same mentioned in The Beatles tune when they were in that phase of their music career. Since I’m not an expert on Krishna music, I did inquire with Kristy about her use of the chant, she noted that Mary from the Bible is hardly acknowledged while the Hindu religion has a definite Goddess. Overall, I think there is quite a stretch between Hinduism and Christianity, even Greek Mythology has strong female Gods, but of course Zeus was going around creating havoc with his sexual exploits. Of course it is never mentioned in the Bible if Mary ever really consented to God. The roots of the Hindu religion predate Christianity by a long shot and even go back farther than ancient Greek religions. Overall, in my opinion, the Bible doesn’t really view genders as equal and Kristy views some other religions as having a more evened out take on gender. I’ll gladly hear arguments on how some might believe that that isn’t true, but I’ve already thought of numerous scriptures and examples on how that’s the case. This is just a CD review.
I’m going to close this off with the final song(s). The sort of pop feel comes out again with the track, “Some Folks.” For some reason the chorus sung by Jim Hall in a kind of Tom Waits low and rough voice reminds me of something. “Some folks feel like this, some folks feel like that/some folks love like this, some folks love like that/some folks pray like this, some folks pray like that…” I’d like to say it’s because of Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice,” but it’s not that. You have to wait a few minutes, or just skip ahead, but there’s a secret song at the end.
For an album that would be seemingly simple, it’s not really at all. It’s packed with social, moral, political and a number of other statements. The thing is, it takes a few listens, reading the liner notes and lyrics, and even asking what is going on with it for it to really all sink in. Once it does, this kind of folk-pop album starts becoming a lot deeper in nature. She will be officially releasing the album on Wednesday, December 16 with Harmonic Illumination, Lady Slipper and Gaelynn Lea.