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Tanita Tikaram


Country of origin:

Born in Germany, lives in England, of Malaysian and Fijian (from India) descent

Type of music generally:

Mainstream pop

Status:

Most recent release, Closer to the People (2016)

See also:

Tanita Tikaram's site

Wikipedia's entry for Tanita Tikaram

Comparisons:

Ferron, Tracy Chapman, Leonard Cohen

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Great music and lyrics, often with a total contrast between the mood of the lyrics (usually pretty dark) and the music (often up-beat, even dance-like). I like Tanita Tikaram's voice at lot too, though some might find it too monotonous. (jbr@casetech.dk)

I have been hopelessly charmed and intoxicated with Tanita since first hearing Ancient Heart, a work unbelievably created when she was still a teenager. Ancient Heart was a big success and put Tanita on the musical map. Her next 3 CDs The Sweet Keeper, Everybody's Angel, and Eleven Kinds of Loneliness were less well received , and I sense a disappointment to some fans of Ancient Heart. I don't see it that way, I treasure all 4 CDs equally. I see the growth, and the experimentation that all great artist exhibit along their creative paths. I think her voice is so pure and so distinctive and she is not afraid to explore and challenge the limits. If I had to choose one desert island voice, it would be hers. As a lyricist, again she's in a world not occupied by many people. She doesn't write sugar sweet love songs, or in fact anything that readily apparent. Her lyrics are not easy, and some may not be understandable to anybody but herself. They make you think, and sometimes not think, they require careful attention and many listens. Many listens can definitely describe my relationship to Tanita. Her voice alone qualifies her for goddess status. (jsutton@rahul.net)

I have three of her albums (Ancient Heart, The Sweet Keeper, and Everybody's Angel) and like her first two albums, though they have a definite pop sensibility on them, that is lacking in Everybody's Angel. Probably once a year, i go through all my CDs to try to listen to the ones that i never listen to, and that one always ends up on stack. I will listen to it once more, and then it goes back into the archives. I lost interest after that, but perhaps once again i should go back and relisten. Eleven Kind of Loneliness intrigued me with the title but alas didn't impress me with the music when i sampled it at the radio station i was working at back then, and i never got around to checking out the Lovers in the City. ah well. i can say though that i have Ancient Heart on vinyl and the song "Poor Cow" used to make it onto several mix tapes of mine. I thought it was such a brilliant song in that it sounds so damn perky and happy, but as you listen to the songs, you realize that it is about slaughtering a cow and eating it (the chorus goes something like "chop it up, chop it up, chop it up..."). this just amused me to no end, call me sick. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

While many prefer her first album (that's where her *hit* singles come from), Lovers in the City has been considered her best by many (myself included). (goldes@ccts201.fw.gs.com)

I think she has one of the better voices in all of pop music... Tracy Chapman without any nasality and a little deeper, or Sarah McLachlan but more beautiful and deep. Unfortunately, her lyrics aren't much (generally). Still, I really like her. (miazgama@pilot.msu.edu)

Recommended first album:

Ancient Heart has stood the test of time

Recordings:


Ancient Heart

Release info:

1998—Reprise—9 25839-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Tanita Tikaram—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Rod Argent—keyboards (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Peter Van Hooke—drums (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Rory McFarlane—bass guitar (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8)
Paul Brady—mandolin (1)
Helen O'Hara—violin (1)
Phil Todd—saxophone (1)
Pete Beachill—trombone (1)
Noel Langley—trumpet (1)
Mitch Dalton—guitar (2, 4, 8)
Marc Ribot—guitar, horn (3)
Martin Ditcham—percussion (3, 5, 9)
David Lindley—violin (5)
Mark Creswell—guitar (5, 9)
Mark Isham—trumpet, flugelhorn (6)
Malcolm Messiter—oboe (7)
Brendan Croker—guitar (9)
Clem Clemson—guitar (9)
John Georgiadis—violin (9, 10, 11)
Brendan O'Reilly (9, 10, 11)
Ian Jewell—viola (9, 10, 11)
Keith Harvey—cello (9, 10, 11)
Mo Foster—fretless bass (10)

Produced by:

Peter Van Hooke and Rod Argent

Comments:

This album has had a lot of staying power for me—I still enjoy listening to it nearly twenty years on. To me, the lyrics approach the evocative nature of Leonard Cohen (especially "Twist in my Sobriety") and her performance of them isn't so different from his. She has such a lovely, dark, deep voice. (Neile)

I really like Ancient Heart. I don't listen to it all that often these days, but whenever I slip it into the CD player I'm struck by how profound a debut album that was. The titles escape me but my favorite songs on the album are probably "Cathedral Song" and "Twist In My Sobriety". Good stuff! (kcd@cray.com)

ancient heart. her best one. i still love "Poor Cow" as a great song. especially if you are a vegetarian/vegan or want to be one. peppy song about a cow about to be slaughtered (cheery eh?) no i still eat meat, but i love the song nonetheless. other notable songs would be her hit "Twist in my Sobriety". (iflin@speakeasy.net)

My favourite song on Ancient Heart is the "World Outside Your Window", but the cathedral and twist and other songs are great too. For some reason I like the arrangements and production slightly better on Ancient Heart than Sweet Keeper. (dalton@geop.ubc.ca)

I bought this CD years ago when it first came out, because I was blown away by the song "Twist In My Sobriety". More to the point, I was blown away by the video. It was very intelligently and artistically shot, especially for that time-period; a gorgeous video in either black and white or sepia (can't remember which). I didn't care for the rest of the album, though. Maybe I should give it another listen now that my taste in music has matured significantly. I have actually seen this song pop up on some compilation CDs lately—most often those with gay and/or lesbian themes. I think what really drew me to the song was the use of what I think is an english horn. It might be an oboe, but it sounds too low for that. For some reason that particular sound winds my clock in a big way. This may be a rediscovery disc, i.e. "new" music that I don't have to pay for because it's already in my possession, albeit in dust-collecting mode...:) (JavaHo@aol.com)


The Sweet Keeper

Release info:

1990—Reprise—9 26091-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Tanita Tikaram—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Rod Argent—keyboards, bass
Richie Buckley—tenor sax
Clem Clemson—guitar, acoustic guitar
David Clifton—guitar
Mark Cresswell—guitar
Mike Dalton—acoustic guitar
Roger Garland—violin
John Giblin—bass
Roy Gillard—violin
John Heley—cello
Peter Van Hooke—drums
Mark Isham—trumpet
Kreisler String Orchestra
Sonny Landreth—bottleneck guitar
Rory McFarlane—bass
Martin O'Conner—accordion
Helen O'Hara—violin
Davey Spillane—low flute
Steve Tees—viola

Produced by:

Peter Van Hooke and Rod Argent

Comments:

Superb album! (jbr@casetech.dk)

i like this album almost as much as her first album. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Well, I just dug up some stuff I hadn't heard for a while, as a result of cleaning up the CD rack, and ran across a fairly nice cd by Tanita Tikaram called The Sweet Keeper. Decidedly pop in musical style, but a full, rich, deep voice, and somewhat enigmatic, introspective lyrics. She writes her own songs, so that's always always always a plus.... (rholmes@cs.stanford.edu)


Everybody's Angel

Release info:

1990—Reprise

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Tanita Tikaram—vocals, guitar, arrangements

Guest artists:

James Archer—violin
Rod Argent—piano, Hammond organ, harmony vocals, string arrangements, string conducting
Mark Berrow—violin
Mike Brittain—double bass
Richie Buckley—alto sax, tenor sax
Mark Creswell—guitar
David Emanuel—viola
Lyn Fletcher—violin
Wilfred Gibson—violin
Roy Gillard—violin
Jack Glickman—viola
David Hayes—bass
Mark Isham—trumpet, flugelhorn
Paul Kegg—cello
Ben Kennard—cello
Carol Kenyon—harmony vocals
Katie Kissoon—harmony vocals
Andrew McGee—viola
Jim McLeod—violin
Helen O'Hara—violin
Peter Oxer—violin
Anthony Pleeth—cello
Martin Robinson—cello
Paul Silverthorne—viola
Jennifer Warnes—harmony vocals
Barry Wilde—violin

Produced by:

Rod Argent, Peter Van Hooke, Tanita Tikaram

Comments:

don't listen to it much. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

I just adore this one. (kscleaves@juno.com)

I'm really starting to love her low voice. (Riphug@aol.com)


Eleven Kinds of Loneliness

Release info:

1992—Reprise—9031-76427-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Tanita Tikaram—vocals, harmony vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Rod Argent—keyboards
Richie Buckley—saxophones
Mark Creswell—lead guitars, guitars, backing vocals, drum programming
Nic France—drums, percussion, backing vocals
David Hayes—bass, guitar, harmonica, backing vocals
Mark Isham—keyboards, drums
Bob Noble—keyboards

Produced by:

Tanita Tikaram

Comments:

I feel Eleven Kinds of Loneliness is an exceptional album that demonstrates the creative risk artists sometimes need to take to grow. For me, it took several listens to fully appreciate the new ground being broken, and to realize how my mental filters hindered my attention to the music. "Heal me" was a cut that integrated into a tragedy in my life, and became part of my healing process. It will always occupy a special place in my heart.
     I know Tanita is well known in the UK, but why she is not more appreciated in the US is a mystery to me. (jsutton@rahul.net)

This album is not as immediately grabbing as Ancient Heart or The Sweet Keeper, but still very good. Give it a couple of listens... (jbr@casetech.dk)

i lost interest at this point. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Much overlooked, Tanita's 4th album is incredible in my opinion. A lot of the songs have more of a pop or rock slant to them, making them more accessible. I don't know why she never hit it big. (goldes@ccts201.fw.gs.com)


Lovers in the City

Release info:

1995—Reprise—45883

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Tanita Tikaram—guitar, vocals, backing vocals

Guest artists:

John Beasley—piano
Larry Corbett—cello
Rich Cox—guitar, drum programming
Mark Creswell—guitar
Chris Davis—saxophone
Don Edwards—vocals, yodeling
Michael Fisher—percussion, ocarina, sound effects, bata, brass arrangement, lujon
Jimmy Johnson—bass
Suzie Katayama—cello
Paul Kegg—cello
Jim Keltner—drums
Adam Kirk—guitar
Michael Landau—electric guitar
Noel Langley—trumpet
Chris Laurence—bass
Helen Liebmann—cello
David Lindley—guitar
The London Session Orchestra—strings, orchestra
Martin Loveday—cello
Thomas Newman—guitar, harmonica, piano, arrangements, conducting, programming, drum programming, harmonica
Sid Page—violin
Tony Pleeth—cello
J. Neil Sidwell—trombone
Philip Todd—saxophone
Jennifer Warnes—backing vocals
Steve "Syco Steve" Williams—bass, percussion, programming
Gavyn Wright—arrangements, conducting, viola

Produced by:

Thomas Newman

Comments:

On the surface "Lovers in the City" does not seem very different or radical than Tanita's other 4 CDs. However, like her previous work, upon careful scrutiny this effort is delightfully spiced with innovations and surprises. The very 1st cut "I Might Be Crying" is the best song I have heard this year. It has a wonderful calypso type rhythm with haunting chants and backing vocals by Jennifer Warnes. Jennifer does backing vocals on several other cuts and is superb. Tanita also uses the London Session Orchestra and The Valentini Strings on selected cuts. The arrangement and execution of these resources is masterful as "Feeding the Witches" aptly demonstrates, features Tanita and the London Session Orchestra. We've heard Jewel yodel, now Tanita joins the yodeling craze. The "Yodelling Song" is worth the the whole price of the CD to hear Tanita do a duet yodel with Don Edwards, while Jim Keltner bangs the drums. Every cut is crafted with caring precision, thoughtful arrangements and fine selection of musicians and resources. There is not a weak song in the bunch, and what a wonderful treat to get 10 gifts at once. If Tanita indeed lost some support since Ancient Heart I think Lovers in the City will make up ground for her. It will be on my top ten CDs for 1995, but I knew that before I heard it. However, I know I'm biased, but I think this CD is great and highly recommend it to anybody. I think it's a really fine album. The last cut, "Leaving the Party" is the only cut that drags to me. Everytime I listen to Lovers In The City I'm impressed with the overall quality of this CD. Typical delicious Tanita darkness nicely arranged throughout and delivered with the stunning tonal quality of Tanita's voice.
     This album sounds as fresh and exciting today as it did when 1st released in early 1995—-despite many, many plays. (jsutton@rahul.net)

Lovers In The City is her 5th album to date. It contains a lot of wonderful gems like "I Might Be Crying", sung with haunting backing vocals arranged by Jennifer Warnes. Additionally, the "Yodeling Song" ( recently released in the UK as a single ) is quite, well, interesting...and there is a song called "Feeding the Witches" as opposed to Waking them, I suppose, which is quite good. Most of the other songs sadly don't stand out. (goldes@ccts201.fw.gs.com)

I am currently obsessing with Tanita's Lovers in the City album; the more I listen to it, the more I discover material that I like in it; sort of like re-reading a good book. Thanks, ectophiles. (bill@wagill.com)

I can't get enough of her low voice! (Riphug@aol.com)


The Cappuccino Songs

Release info:

1998—Polygram—559303

Availability:

Europe

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Tanita Tikaram—vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

João Bosco—bongos
Andy Caine—backing vocals
John Crawford—piano
Daniele de Gregorio—percussion, drums
Andy Duncan—percussion, drums
Rick Fenn—acoustic guitar
Luis Jardim—bass, percussion, drums, vocals
Robin Jones—conga
The London Session Orchestra—strings
Marco Sabiu—piano, keyboards, programming, string arrangements
Mark Shulman—acoustic guitar
Jon Themis—guitar
Tubbs—bass
Gavyn Wright—conducting

Produced by:

Marco Sabiu

Comments:

Tanita Tikaram, the woman with the most perfect voice, has been re-made and re-defined by her new record company, Mother Records. Her latest CD Cappuccino Songs was released in Europe about July of 1998. Mother records seems to be doing a good job in European promotion of this CD and I see their goal as presenting Tanita as more up beat, poppy, and sexy, and less melancholy and dark. I think they have done a commendable job, but am happy that the essential Tanita comes shining through despite the honest attempt to fix something that ain't broke. Cappuccino Songs is an outstanding collection of songs of the same quality as Ancient Heart, which rocketed the young 18-year-old into world wide prominence. Tanita now has 6 albums to her credit, and despite sales figures, they are all equally magnificent, and to me, I could not rate them in any kind of order, as I think Tanita is only capable of perfection. With a voice like hers, what else is possible? (jsutton@hrmusic.com)

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