New Music Monday: Robin Renee

By Nick Mattos, PQ Monthly

Get devoted to the “mantra-pop” of out singer-songwriter Robin Renee in today’s New Music Monday.

Everyone needs a bit more bliss in their lives, and New Jersey singer-songwriter Robin Renee is out to help you find it. The bisexual performer was already a fixture on the East Coast folk-rock circuit when a spiritual awakening in 2001 led her to incorporate a richly spiritual, Indian-influenced sensibility into her work. Renee’s newly-released devotional album This. features call-and-response kirtan chanting, a soulful voice reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde or Joan Armatrading, and a rich soundscape of organic instrumentation blended seamlessly with light, heart-opening electronic ambience. It has a natural home in the yoga studio, certainly; however, one of Renee’s major strengths as an artist is her ability to translate traditional chants from the Indian subcontinent into a folk-inflected idiom that she terms “mantra-pop.” As Beliefnet’s Bliss Blog explains:

As joyful as the image on the cover, “This” is the newest creation by Mantra-Pop Artist Robin Renée. With four previous CD’s to her credit … her voice is both deep and soaring, stretching the sound spectrum. An Eastern and Western multi-instrumentalist, Robin plays harmonium, guitar and keyboard. My first listen was in the car which carried me along winding roads with the delightfully sing-along-able pieces… It felt like being wrapped in sunshine as I chanted along, helpless to resist its appeal.

Listen to “The Other End of the Line,” “Jaya Jaya Shiva Shambho,” “I’m Coming Down,” and a live busking recording of “Holy River” on the streets of Philadelphia. Feelin’ it? Listen to more tracks off the artist’s new release This. and others on her SoundCloud page.