Flavors of surf rock, cumbia, Bollywood, and Spaghetti Westerns inhabit the music of Brooklyn’s Bombay Rickey. The band premieres “Virgenes del Sol” today on Blogcritics. The track, a cover of Yma Sumac’s song released in 1950, is from their forthcoming album, Electric Bhairhvi.
Bombay Rickey composed and performed an opera centered on the life story of Yma Sumac, the Peruvian-American soprano. The opera premiered in New York with seven sold-out shows, followed by performances at Tête à Tête Opera’s Cubitt Sessions, in London. Lead vocalist Kamala Sankaram premiered her opera, Thumbprint, in L.A. Thumbprint is the story of a Pakistani woman who searches for justice subsequent to sexual assault.
“Virgenes del Sol” opens with thrumming guitars, rumbling drums, and potent layered vocals flowing into an Ennio Morricone-like Spaghetti Western melody full of bright colors and multifarious harmonic hues. Sankaram’s superb voice establishes the song’s distinctiveness. A voice with less range couldn’t pull it off. Sankaram’s range encompasses at least four octaves, from balmy spherical tones at the lower end to smooth-as-silk in the upper register. It’s a velvety contralto, gorgeously muscular, radiating shimmering pigments from her vocal palette.
The rhythm trundles with infectious enthusiasm, as luminous vocal harmonies add depth and dimension. The darkly braying sax solo is accompanied by a quavering organ in the background, giving the music a delicious heft and texture.
Exotic energy emanates from the merging harmonic flavors, as Sankaram’s powerful tones soar, whirl, and pirouette. In short, this is ebullient and expansive music.
“Virgenes del Sol” is spectacular. The flow and mood of the music is compelling and contagious, while Sankaram’s voice surpasses excellence and enters the realm of brilliance. The combination of pop, Spaghetti Western, and opera give the song dynamic lifeblood not to be missed.