“Bird of Fire is one of those albums that sounds like it was a lifetime in the making. Ranjit is a storyteller on every instrument he plays and every note he sings. Check back in twenty years when this album is still relevant.”
– Karsh Kale
– Karsh Kale
PERNEM, GOA, 29 October, 2018 - In the history of Rock & Pop Music, a precious few artists have had the gall and ability to play all of the instruments and sing all of the vocal parts on an album of original songs. With the release of Bird of Fire, Ranjit Arapurakal joins that rare and ambitious echelon. Produced, engineered and mixed by Chintan Kalra, an original member of India’s biggest Rock band, Parikrama, the album was recorded in a whirlwind ten-day session at Kalra’s home studio in Gurgaon, India, in the Spring of 2017.
Kalra and Arapurakal had met the previous Winter in Goa, where the singer had been living and performing for two years, on an extended vacation from his erstwhile base in New York City. The two hit it off and resolved to record something together, resulting in the album that you are about to listen to.
Two of the album’s songs, Americana-influenced enviro-ballad “Sweet Water,” which highlights the recent battle for Native American land rights at Standing Rock, North Dakota, and also calls out Donald Trump, and the driving first-person Glam Rock narrative, “T-shirt Buddha,” which decries “the damage to the ozone” and “yoga with... Coca-Cola” were written on the fly in the recording studio, both combining contemporary social issues with a musical aesthetic that’s straight out of the 60s and 70s.
The juxtaposition of 21st century current events with old-school Rock & Roll is a recurring theme throughout “Bird of Fire.” “I wanted to make something timeless, in case I didn’t get another chance,” says Arapurakal, who grew up as a choir boy in Princeton, New Jersey, but who, at the time of recording, found himself in an alcoholic downward spiral of his own making. The church influence shines through on anthems like the title track, which responds to the death of a close friend in a bike accident, and on “Blinded,” a Piano-driven Gospel tune reminiscent of a young Elton John.
Now sober, with a new lease on life, Arapurakal has unwittingly fulfilled his album’s prophecy, rising from the ashes of a suicidal lifestyle and emerging with a rare treasure in his hands.
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