Sangeeta Kaur has just released her new album “Illuminance”. Produced by multi-Grammy Award-winning composer and pianist Peter Kater and co-produced by Sangeeta, “Illuminance” follows a series of highly acclaimed albums by the classically trained Vietnamese-American artist, including last year’s breakthrough, Compassion, which debuted at No. 1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases.
Throughout her career, Sangeeta – a singular talent whose awe-inspiring vocal range leaves listeners spellbound – has made it her mission to create music that thrills, soothes, empowers and uplifts. With “Illuminance”, she has delivered a work that is both timeless and timely, one that speaks to the current global climate and serves as a healing balm.
“As an artist, I feel that it is my responsibility to create positivity for the world,” Sangeeta says. “In many ways, that need is especially important right now. Let’s face it, we’re in a scary time; people are frightened in ways they have never experienced before. There’s darkness, but there’s also light, and these songs are like the bridge to the light. So, for me, these songs are meant to remind us of our strength and of our pure bright light within. It is this light that can help us overcome anything.”
See the complete “Illuminance” Album Launch Concert
On her past albums, Sangeeta distinguished herself as one of the great idiosyncratic artists of her day, bending genres (everything from traditional American folk and pop to classical and even children’s music) while employing her extensive background in classical opera, sacred mantra (often in multiple languages) and yoga to create her own emotionally riveting, brand-new sub-genre called “Mantra Opera.” On “Illuminance”, she broadens her reach even more – there’s transporting ballads and gorgeous hymns, soaring theatrical pieces and even elements of contemporary jazz – and the overall impact is stunning.
“There are songs with lyrics and others where I’m singing without words – I call this ‘vocalise,” Sangeeta says. “In every case, I want the listener to feel joy and to be inspired.”
On the album’s beguiling title track, Sangeeta uses the power of her impeccable voice to convey jubilation and levity in a minor-key melody – a feat few vocalists can pull off. “Come and Find Me” is a heartbreaking love song that addresses the devastation families face in the age of COVID. “The saddest part of what’s happening today is when people can’t say goodbye to their loved ones because of restrictions placed on funerals,” she observes. “This song is to comfort them. The narrative comes from the person who passed away speaking to loved ones who are remaining on earth.”
Backed by lilting acoustic guitar and sumptuous piano, Sangeeta sneaks subliminal messages into “Worlds Collide.” “It’s a song about past lives,” she explains. “I’m my own world; you’re your own world. Everybody is their own world, and we’ve collided many times. A lot of those times, there has been love. Let’s learn from that and not repeat old destructive patterns. Let remember that we are all one. We are the Universe.”
On each of her albums, Sangeeta has included at least one mantra (“it’s ingrained into my soul and is at the core foundation of all I do”), and on Illuminance she sends listeners off with the mesmerizing “Dedication.” Backed by elegiac piano and lush, rolling basslines, Sangeeta sings a prayer that traditionally ends Tibetan meditations and ceremonies – and turns it into a wholly fulfilling and unique musical reward.
“In various ways, every song has something to do with light and how it’s created through earthly and non-earthly phenomena,” says Sangeeta. She points to the song “Supernova,” a deeply hypnotic piece of metaphysical mood music on which her lustrous voice soars toward the heavens. “A supernova is an explosion of a very old star that becomes its brightest form at its death. So even at that point before darkness, there is light. That’s what I want people to hold on to.”
Sangeeta and Peter Kater have long been fans of each other’s work, but the two never managed to collaborate until now. “I feel as if we’re connected to a past life. We knew we would work together, and I’m so glad that we did so on this album,” Sangeeta says. “Peter is such a fabulous musician, and writing with him was such a thrilling process – I would send him song ideas and he would send me his; we would take elements from each other and transform them into something new.”
Both Sangeeta and Kater agreed that the setting for the songs would be minimal and modern. With Kater on piano, a select group of prestigious players was brought in.
“Everybody contributed so magnificently to this record,” Sangeeta says. “Each album is a journey, and I’m so happy that the initial inspiration – illuminating your life, illuminating your goodness, your strengths and all your powers – was fully realized. I think it’s an important message for this time.”
Download the album:
Press release by Domo Music