Album Review: Alysha Brilla – “Human”
August 2, 2016
When there is violence and hate, you have to create something beautiful, and do it passionately and intensely. It is the only pain killer that seems to heal this aching earth. If anyone is suitable for being an agent for social change, it is Alysha Brilla; an old soul beauty who uses the art of self, soul, and spirit to create a path for the greater good.
In her latest release, Human, Brilla is at the forefront of a scene of young artists who are updating and reinventing the model for fully-liberated music. Following her 2013 and 2014 releases, the underrated Indo-Tanzanian-Canadian artist’s third self-produced album tells the tale of her self-discovering journey through India and Tanzania, where she encountered a life of balance and mindfulness.
Sticking true to her eclectic roots, Alysha opens with “No More Violence,” a tropical getaway so clear you can practically feel the sea breeze traveling across your face. Its entrance is heard with the rhythms most commonly found in Indian music and is followed by the vast musical arrangement of bass, drums, sax, congas and more. In the world we live in today, it’s hard to escape the daily woes of violence and hate but Brilla’s sweet summery voice is a true remedy.
Throughout the album, listeners can feel Brillas empowering lyrics and the vivid rhythms that undulate around the strings, brass, and percussion. In tracks, “Bigger Than That” and “Beats ‘n’ Stops” we can feel the bold and authentic flavors of Tanzania seeping through with a backdrop of chanting vocals and a tidal wave of rhythmic beats.
It’s in tracks like “Ishk,” “Sarees,” and “Ahimsa” where Brilla transmits her indefinable charm and gives us a taste of her Indian roots. “Ahimsa,” the Sanskrit meaning for nonviolence toward all living things, touches on the ways to find and embrace the peaceful journey in life with lyrics, “I’m wondering Ahimsa / Where is the rainbow and where is that pot of gold / After the storms I’ve weathered and stories I’ve been told.”
Even when she is vocalizing the personal and seemingly romantic, her tone still seems to exist through a larger scale and a common feeling within society. Backed by a reggae themed bass and a brassy trumpet, “Ishk” focuses on a love that doesn’t seem to disappear and continues to sway its way back on her doorstep. In “Sarees” (garments worn by Hindu women) Brilla paints the audience a picture of her beautiful ancestry through her spoken word, and her poetic illustrations turn rhythms into color,”Because stitched into every thread are as many stories / as the swirling patterns and sequence that decorate them / the hopes and the dreams of the women who craft them.”
In an industry that has been known to dictate a persons fame based on their gender, Brilla enlightens us with “Gender Rollz” where she addresses cultural diversity and gender equality with the help of her all-female horn section bringing a funky edge to the track. In an interview she states “I think gender dictates quite a bit in an industry at the moment. Although it has gotten better over the past 100 years, we are still behind the ideological times.”
Human is a declaration of freedom and embodies the innermost details of a woman pushing past the obstacles in this chaotic world by shining a light on humanity, non-violence, and conscious thinking. Her third self-produced album is LIVE on iTunes and you can listen to it (and support a #femaleproducer) by clicking on the link here.