This song is in the key of Sambar Soul. There is no better way to describe Aditi Ramesh’ latest song than that particular line from it. The Mumbai based singer-songwriter stumbled across the song’s idea after she read a comment on one of her live streamed gigs in April. The comment just read “sambar soul”. While reading that comment, Aditi Ramesh had an epiphany. She decided that from now on if people ask her genre, this would be the answer. She not only used that term to describe her music but also went on to write and release a song called “Sambar Soul”, and that’s the song we are reviewing here.
The song’s inspiration came from Aditi Ramesh’ desire to avoid being boxed within certain genres and labels. After the release of her EPs, Autocorrect in 2017 and Leftovers in 2019, her music started being described as “Carnatic-Jazz”. While she loves both Carnatic and Jazz music, she didn’t want to be tied down to those labels. Aditi Ramesh believes that she is still discovering her sound and whatever music style she has made in the past, isn’t going to necessarily be recreated in the future. Aditi Ramesh is an artist who doesn’t like to play it safe and loves experimenting with different sounds.
When you listen to “Sambar Soul”, you will immediately realise that Aditi Ramesh is fully serious about not sticking to genres, labels and boxes. All the Carnatic elements are gone from the work of an artist who was once widely described as “Carnatic-Jazz”. “Sambar Soul” is a fantastic brew of R&B, soul, pop, and jazz with a light garnish of Latin hooks. The song’s lyrical theme revolves around rejecting other people’s standards of happiness, beauty and success. Aditi Ramesh encourages all of her listeners to quit fretting about labels and just “go along with the flow”.
A lot of lines in “Sambar Soul” are cheekily clever. They sound outright nonsensical on the surface. Take the line this song is in the key of sambar soul/ It’s a vegetarian key I’m told. It doesn’t make any sense in literary terms but it flows very well with the song, and that’s the whole point of the song, making light of labels and boxes and just going with the flow. The song also features some Tamil ad-libs in the background which are just reciting the recipe for making sambar.
Aditi Ramesh’ vocal performance throughout the track is quite impressive. She showcases her enviable range and the ability to induce dynamism into her delivery. Our favourite part was her very Tamil pronunciation of the word “spicy”. It added a lot of flair and character to the song (and made us yearn for a tasty and spicy bowl of sambar ourselves).
“Sambar Soul” has been recorded by Aditi Ramesh with guitarist and long time collaborator Mohit Rao. He also handled the production, mixing and mastering duties on the track.
Verdict: Tasty, spicy, good for your soul.