Keshav Sathe

Classically trained sitar player Clem Alford. guitarist Jim Moyes and tabla player Keshav Sathe released an early-70s' instrumental album under the name Sagram. Specializing in Indian-related releases, the small Mushroom label offered the band a chance to record another album, provided they'd add a singer to the line up. Moyes promptly suggest former college friend/singer/guitarist Alisha Sufit. With Sufit in the band and now known as Magic Carpet, inlate 1971 the quartet went into the recording studio with producer Vic Keary. Released the following year, "Magic Carpet" is certainly different. We've seen comparisons to Joni Mitchell and the Incredible String Band (not a bad comparison), but propelled by Sufit's high and fragile (if not always in key) voice, to our ears a more appropriate comparison would be Sandy Denny-era Fairport Convention had they been hijacked to India. Featuring all original material (Sufit contributing about half of the 12 tracks), musically the set offered up an intriguing blend of English folk and Indian genres. Very low-keyed and calming (forget Ridilin when you have this on the turntable), tracks such as "Phoenix", "Black Cat" and "Harvest Song" showcased Sufit's fragile voice, while the title track and "Alan's Christmas Card" offer up a series of equally attractive Eastern-flavored instrumentals.

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