Mr. Matt’s Album of the Week #31

Kula Shaker – “K”

Kula Shaker started down its road to underappreciation in 1988 when Crispian Mills (son of ’60s actress Hayley Mills) met Alonza Bevan at Richmond College in South-West London. The two went on to play together in a band named Objects of Desire.

After Objects of Desire split in 1993, Mills took a backpacking tour of India which would ultimately have a great influence on his personal philosophy and musical tastes.  When he returned to England he and Bevan formed a new band, The Kays.

The band changed their name in 1995, when Mills had an epiphany that the group should take the name “Kula Shaker” in honour of one of the 12 Alvars, the ninth-century Indian emperor and holy man Kulashekhara.  The band also decided to pursue a more spiritual direction in their music (because of Crispian Mills’ own interest in the philosophy of Gaudiya Vaishnavism).  The music of Kula Shaker has obvious Indian influences on many of their songs, including several like “Govinda” and “Radhi Radhi” that are written entirely in Sanskrit.

Kula Shaker’s first album, “K,” saw great domestic success in England, which led Sony Music (UK) to attempt a very expensive publicity campaign in the United States that ultimately failed to impress American audiences.  The financial disaster led Sony executives to release Kula Shaker’s second album, “Peasants, Pigs, and Astronauts” (1999) exclusively in the UK.

The band split less than a year after the release of their sophomore album, but have since reformed with moderate success.

Kula Shaker’s “K” and “Peasants, Pigs, and astronauts” lineup:
Crispian Mills (guitar, vocals)
Alonza Bevin (bass)
Paul Winterhart (drums)
Harry Broadbent (keys/hammond organ)

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