Manika Kaur's second album 'I Bow to You Waheguru' is an evocative meditation on Sikh spirituality and a sonic exploration of contemporary Asian music, featuring contributions from Talvin Singh, Soumik Datta, Bernhard Schimpelsberger and Jyotsna Srikanth.
Manika's voice is velvet: rich and luxuriating, coloured deep with the contours of her gentle, echoing tone. Her music radiates light, each note illuminated by her profound passion for Sikh spirituality and the devotional practice of singing kirtan.
Manika is joined by a host of fine musicians on this album, each contributing their own tender tones to the brew. Title track 'I Bow To You Waheguru' produced by Talvin Singh features cascading swarmandal (Indian zither) alongside resonant strings, tabla, synths, electronic drum-set and punctuating percussion. Soumik Datta (sarod) and Bernhard Schimpelsberger (percussion) who together form the duo Circle of Sound also guest throughout the album. The duo are heard on tracks 'Raam Japo Ji', 'Putaa Mataa' and 'Tu Danaa'. 'Aukhee Gharee' features Jyotsna Srikanth's honeyed violin, swooping and spiralling atop dancing pizzicato accompaniment.
The track 'Gur Ram Das Rakho Sarnaee', bansuri virtuoso Rakesh Chaurasia adds flute interjections, entering into thoughtful dialogue with Manika's melting vocal lines.
'Putaa Mataa' is the most up-tempo track on the album with firmly sung melody motifs and plunging piano chords. The words are taken from traditional shabad 'Putaa Mataa Ki Asees' and recount a mother's wish that her child may live a spiritually rich and loving life. 'Waheguru (The Journey)' matches Manika's voice with Francesca Ter-Berg's expressive cello.