Monsoon was a brave and pioneering attempt to blend traditional music from the Indian sub-continent with '80s British rock. Led by Sheila Chandra, best know for her role in the BBC production Grange Hill, Monsoon originated late in 1980 when keyboard player and producer Steve Coe developed an interest in Indian music through an Asian girlfriend. Hoping to form a band to pursue this direction, he discovered Sheila via some demo tapes which she had forwarded to Hansa Records when she was 14. She joined Monsoon in March 1981, three months before she left school. The Eastern music basis was reinforced by Dari Mankoo and his mastery of sitar and tabla. Rooting for the West was guitarist Martin Smith. The textured combination attracted the attention of would-be record mogul David Claridge, who signed the outfit to his Mobile Suit Corporation after a great many major labels had turned them down. Monsoon's first single, distributed through Rough Trade was 'Ever So Lonely/Sunset Over The Ganges'. Ignored upon original release, it was reissued as a 12 inch disco remix, with the extra tracks 'Shout' and 'Mirror Of Your Mind'. Second time round, 'Ever So Lonely' was heavily supported by John Peel on the BBC. Two subsequent singles 'Shakti' and a cover of The Beatles 'Tomorrow Never Knows', were issued in 7 and 12 inch formats. However, sales and attention were only moderate and the group called it a day at the end of 1982.
Three artists use the name Monsoon:
1. - The world fusion British desi band Monsoon was a pioneering “indi-pop” band featuring vocalist Sheila Chandra. The band was formed in 1981 and combined melodies and instruments from India with British pop of the 80s. Though several groups had played with Indian influences before, most notably The Beatles, Monsoon was the first British group with Indian classical and pop music as their main influences to reach a general audience. Monsoon dissolved though after only one album because they did not like the interference they were getting from their record label. Chandra went on to a successful solo career and Monsoon, though short lived, inspired the Asian Underground movement that started with such artists as Joi, Bally Sagoo and Talvin Singh.
2. - The Belgian band Monsoon was founded by Joël Grignard and Delphine Gardin and counts 6 band members by now. They describe themselves as ’post rock tortured cabaret with cinematic jazz sounds’.
They write on their myspace page that David Lynch is an inpiration for them. Reviews of their cd’s agree by saying Monsoon would fit perfectly in a bar in the world of David Lynch. Monsoon is what one would get by mixing PJ Harvey with Portishead, not only because of the mysterious, yet attractive singer Delphine Gardin, who is often described as a combination of an angel and a witch.
3. - A rapper born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona was named by his producer Lidujoe in 2001.
4. - A experimental/psychedelic duo that include Greg Bry on drums & Revson G-Rice on theremin/effects from Chicago, IL. They have released one EP and three LPs since forming in 2008.
5. - A native of Northern Clarendon in Jamaica, Monsoon born Denton Bedward has been compared to veteran singer-songwriter’s Capelton, Luciano and Tony Rebel. But where he really shines is on stage. After all, with a name like Monsoon, Bedward knows he has to come in like a strong wind, without mashin’ up the place too much. If you ask Monsoon, he’ll tell you his passion to explode musically has always been in his DNA. A stage career was in the making from as early as 5 years old when as a youngster, students would pay to hear him sing and DJ their favorite songs. Monsoon migrated to the United States, where he settled in the Washington, D.C. area. Monsoon is currently recording songs with top producers in Jamaica and is promoting a few singles to include, “Asalaam-Alaikum,”, “Keep On Loving You” and soca favorite “Wine Up On Me” which are being received emphatically in Jamaica, England and Canada. Monsoon, who performed at President Clinton’s inauguration and has opened for international recording artists (including Shaggy, Buju Banton, Capelton, Beres Hammond, Steel Pulse and Third World) is poised and position for his solo career. “I’m anxious to see how far I can go. It would be nice to be recognized as one of Jamaica’s finest reggae artists, but these things take time,” says Monsoon, who during the Summer of 2009, opened for reggae icons Yellow Man, Professor Nuts, Frankie Paul and Leroy Sibbles. After that performance, he got another moniker: a modern-day “Toots” (of the famed Toots and The Maytals). “I don’t even want to embrace that one,” he says. Toots is a legend, an icon. I just want to find my own place. Hopefully I will have a few people come along for the ride.