I was quite disappointed by Peter Margasak’s April 28th Post No Bills “Local Record Roundup” review of Funkadesi’s debut full-length CD, Uncut Roots. Being a music critic, I have been following Funkadesi’s development since their inception. Unlike Margasak (whose work I generally respect), I am truly impressed with Funkadesi’s output.
Don’t get me wrong, though–I do believe that everyone is entitled to an opinion. However, his comments were so viciously negative and overly simple, one wonders if he knows the band’s music or their unique concept. If you have heard the disc, his comments strike you as at least off the mark and inconsistent from my own critique, the critique of all who I have spoken with who have heard this disc, as well as the consistently stellar reviews I have heard from WXRT, WGN, the Chicago Tribune, and WNUR. Not to mention the 900-plus fans that trudged through brutal weather conditions to seek out the band’s sound at their Jam Productions-sponsored CD-release party at the Park West on Friday, April 7th.
With its artful synthesis of reggae, north Indian folk rhythms, Carnatic (south Indian) classical vocal improvisation, with snippets of funk and Afro-Caribbean folk music, Funkadesi has been able to achieve something quite difficult in the genre of cultural fusion: fluidity. Rarely can artists blend such diverse styles and pull it off with grace and accessibility.
It is difficult to understand why Margasak’s criticisms are unrelenting. In my opinion, Uncut Roots is not only full of “good songs” (to quote WXRT’s Richard Milne), but successfully delivers Funkadesi’s metaphor–that because of each band member’s ability and desire to “water” their cultural roots while exploring new mixes, the overall sound has depth, texture, and energy.
If even that isn’t enough for you to realize the synergistic brilliance of Funkadesi, then let the desire to sell good CDs by Tower Records in Lincoln Park be the judge since they have added it to their listening station.
Raminder Singh Chadha