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Shanti Orchestra

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Customer Reviews

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus

According to Ricky, the word “shanti” means “peace” and “equilibrium,” and his music is a living example of international cooperation and harmony. On this album he has collaborated with over 20 musicians from around the world, including sitar maestro Paul Livingstone (USA), flute virtuoso Wouter Kellerman (South Africa), bansuri flutist Praveen Godkhindi (India), vocalists Junior Bay (Congo) and Alexis D’Souza (Qatar), among others.

Magic is in the air as the album opens with Shanti, Pt.1. Swirling synthesizers and tinkling chimes set the stage for the entrance of exotic instruments like saarangi, santur, tabla drums, and more. Airy flutes glide over earthy rhythms as the song evolves and alternates between driving beats and more a spacious sound. On the next track, entitled “Forever,” while the vibe is peaceful, the music itself can be quite intricate, as it is throughout the album. The music of Ricky Kej artfully integrates Indian and world music influences with the lush orchestration and aura of enchantment created by artists like David Arkenstone, Kitaro, 2002, and Al Conti. I especially appreciated the skillful blending of traditional instruments with more ethereal synthesizer-based sounds. One of my favorite aspects of the album is the tasteful use of innovative contemporary beats, samples, and sequences, which add both forward motion and chilled out rhythms in so many interesting contexts.

I found the music of Shanti Orchestra to be very visually evocative to the mind’s eye. Listening with eyes closed conjures beautiful imagery and can whisk one away on a dream-like magic carpet ride to exotic inner vistas. This entrancing quality is one of the reasons I feel that the album could have tremendous mass appeal, in a way that a film like Avatar does. To say that I am impressed with the music of Ricky Kej and Shanti Orchestra would be an understatement of the highest order. This is truly a magical listening experience that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Captivating Music

Indian producer Ricky Kej’s first independent album is embraced in U.S., leading to an invitation to join Project Peace on Earth. All proceeds from album’s sales will benefit the artist’s Majolly Music Trust in India.

New York (August 20, 2013) -- Long one of India’s most prolific young composers in the worlds of advertisements, film scores and jingles, composer-producer Ricky Kej released his first independent album in the U.S. today, the New Age-style work he calls Shanti Orchestra. Collaborating with over 20 world-renowned musicians from diverse places including Los Angeles, South Africa, India, Congo and Qatar, Kej delivers an ethereal and worldly New Age Chill album that serves as a timely update for fans of Buddha Bar or Enigma.

This is a wonderful musical experience. LOVE IT!

From MainlyPiano

"Shanti Orchestra" is the first independent release from Ricky Kej. Born in the US and raised and educated in India, Kej's original music is an impressive blending of a multitude of musical traditions, created to promote world peace and understanding. The title, "Shanti," translates as "peace" and "equilibrium," a theme that emerged as Kej realized that every groove, note and sound came together as if meant to be. More than twenty musicians from around the world contributed to this album, which is hailed as a timely update for fans of Buddha Bar and Enigma.

Ricky Kej is well-known for his advertising and film music as well as producing and appearing on dozens of albums. An early promotional copy "Shanti Orchestra" led to an invitation for Kej to become an ambassador for the US-based non-profit Project Peace on Earth. He is also an activist for Music Education and Animal Rights. It is an interesting aside that Kej completed the schooling and requirements to become a Doctor of Dentistry to satisfy his parents' wishes, but has never spent a single day as a dentist, choosing instead to pursue his own dreams of creating and recording music. Lucky us!

"Shanti Orchestra" begins with "Shanti, Part 1," a prelude of sorts that establishes a peaceful mood with the sounds of saarangi, santur, synth, and bamboo flute. "Forever" features sitar master Paul Livingstone as well as flutes, soothing vocals and atmospheric sounds. Very calming and peaceful! "Blue" is one of my favorites. Flutes, strings, sitar and gentle, swaying rhythms create a downtempo work of art that is both visual and poignant. "Pieces of Heaven" is the centerpiece of the album with a shorter reprise of the song at the end. A wide range of cultural sounds blend as one as Alexis D'Souza's voice mesmerizes with her heartfelt message of love - simply a great piece of music! Infectious rhythms propel "Black and White," another cross-cultural piece that defies categorization. Didjeridoo, flutes, hand drums, and diruba meet electronic instrumentation in a world fusion of music. "Mellow" begins with a simple piano melody that becomes enriched with strings and flute as it evolves, eventually including a 40-voice choir that embodies the voice of Mother Earth. The haunting "Intervention" is another favorite. Lovely voices sing in an invented monosyllabic language with an expansive electronic background, occasional flute, and strong but gentle percussion - gorgeous! The darkly mysterious "Thou" features the voice of Junior Bay. Lyrics sung in Latin have a chant quality superimposed over Middle Eastern percussion, harp, and flute. Keyboard lines add a Western flavor to an exotic and eclectic mix that works very effectively.

"Shanti Orchestra" presents a very "different" listening experience that is both eclectic and accessible. Ricky Kej leaves a lasting impression with his music and message of world peace. Recommended!


Born: August 5, 1981 in North Carolina

Genre: World

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Composer Ricky Kej is well known for his compositions for film, advertising, world fusion, global chillout, and new age recordings. His music has appeared on nearly 100 compilations from all over the world. Born in North Carolina, Kej moved to India when he was quite young. Music was not his first pursuit; indeed, he didn't begin to pursue it until he was in his twenties. He studied dentistry in college and began playing guitar in rock bands. Though he graduated as a Dental Surgeon, he moved directly...
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Shanti Orchestra, Ricky Kej
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