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Sheila Chandra

 B i o g r a p h y

Sheila Chandra (born 14 March 1965 in London as Sheila Savithri Elizabeth Chandra) is an English pop singer of Indian descent.

Sheila Chandra first came to public attention as an actress, playing Sudhamani Patel in the BBC school drama Grange Hill from 1979 to 1981. As a teenager she formed the band Monsoon with Steve Coe (who became the band's producer), and Martin Smith. Monsoon created a fusion of Western and Indian pop styles. They recorded their lone album Third Eye in 1982 from which they had a surprise hit single Ever So Lonely, which peaked at #12 in the UK. They followed-up with the single, "Shakti", which peaked at #41, but this was to be the band's final charting single. The album also includes a cover of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows", featuring the distinctive EBow guitar sound of Bill Nelson. Resenting pressure from their record company over musical direction, Monsoon dissolved in 1982 and Coe and Smith set about promoting Chandra as a solo artist on independent Indipop Records. Phonogram "posthumously" released Third Eye in 1983. Chandra went on to release a number of albums in the 1980s, at times experimenting with her voice as an instrument through a range of techniques. In the 1990s she released three albums on Peter Gabriel's Real World label, although Martin Smith was no longer actively involved by this time.

In the 1990s Chandra decided, having been a studio artist exclusively, to give concerts for the first time, and concurrently released a trilogy of albums on Peter Gabriel's Real World label. These were in the minimalist ‘solo voice and drone’ style which she developed especially for live performances, so that she could perform alone on stage with only the occasional taped drone for accompaniment. Martin Smith was no longer actively involved by this time. Drawing on similarities of structure between Indian ragas and English folk melodies, she started to incorporate many British and Irish traditional songs and techniques, as well as other vocal styles and techniques from around the world. Vocal stamina issues caused her to abandon live performances in 1994 and she only returned to the concert stage in 2007.

In 1990 Chandra interrupted her sabbatical to record a single ("Raining") with the folk/synth band Ancient Beatbox which also appeared on their self-titled album. In 2000 she contributed two tracks, one a cover version of Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren" and the other a remix of her solo track "Ever So Lonely/Eyes/Ocean" by Stephen Haig, to the album Gifted on Real World Records. Chandra is a respected performer on the world music scene and remains active into the 21st Century. In 2001 Chandra released a collaborative album with The Ganges Orchestra entitled This Sentence Is True based on her two experimental EPs with them (EEP 1, EEP2). 2002 saw the release of a remix of her original hit single "Ever So Lonely" retitled "So Lonely" by the band Jakatta. It charted at no 8 in the UK. In 2002 she performed the song entitled "Breath of Life" (retitled "The Grace of Valar" in its 2006 release) with Howard Shore for the The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers soundtrack. In 2007, she recorded two songs for Simon Emmerson's project The Imagined Village, which set out to re-interpret traditional English songs using a wide range of contemporary English musicians. She also appeared with The Imagined Village on a concert tour of England in the late autumn of 2007.


Official Homepage: www.sheilachandra.com

 A l b u m s

Moonsung: A Real World Retrospective (Real World, 1999)