Album Review: Kaya Project – Transforming Sorrow [Self-released; February 2024]

Words by Tatiana Narishkina


Kaya Project is a duo comprising musicians Sebastian James Taylor and Natasha Chamberlain, who have been blending oriental motifs with reggae rhythms for 20 years. Kaya Project’s music is light and sophisticated, evoking ‘Rastafarian vibrations’ as described by the musicians themselves and is reminiscent of the hot southern sun. Though based in England, their music is soulful and bright, conjuring dreams of warmth and summer—a contrast to the typically colder British climate.

The album Transforming Sorrow, released in February 2024, features not only Seb Taylor but also a host of musicians including Bika Blasko, Kartik Raghunathan, Fatima Gozlan, Pooja Tiwari, Natasha Taylor, Sabiha Khan, Deepak Pandit, Jaice Singer Du Mars, and Lorenzo Mantovani. Some recorded their parts not only in the UK but also in India and Portugal. As a result, the album’s 13 compositions are enriched by a variety of instruments such as guitar, bass, percussion, zither, flutes, darbuka, violin, nai flute, silver classical flute, sarangi, guzheng, kalimba, and both female and male vocals.

The album comprises seven main tracks – seven sketches, each distinct in theme and timbral colour. This variety draws listeners into the album, allowing them to enjoy the music from the first note to the last. The opening track “Transforming Sorrow” is airy and contemplative; “Kaya Kaya” evokes the expanses of Jamaica and hippie festivals; “Sanctity Ferme” transports listeners to Asia; “On Cliffe Bridge (Ambient Version)” journeys through the rugged landscapes of Wales; “Summoning, Pt. 1,” featuring singer Bika Blasko, melds cosmic and oriental elements; “This Too Shall Pass (Zheng 24)” evokes melancholy and plunges the listener into a lonely rainy evening; and “On Cliffe Bridge” feels like a guitar improvisation on a warm sultry afternoon.

The remaining six tracks are bonus tracks and mix versions of the main themes.

Additionally, the visual component is crafted by Suzybee, a visual artist whose passion for music and dance has cultivated a unique style among VJs. Suzybee manually draws her own animations, which she then mixes with effects in the Resolume VJ software, synchronises via MIDI, and improvises at concerts. Most of her imagery is inspired by natural shapes and a love for the planet and ecology.

In conclusion, Transforming Sorrow is an excellent release that listeners will want to return to again and again. And if that’s not enough, the final 13th track, “Bonus Kaya Project DJ Set @ BOOM 2023 (Final Section),” lasts an impressive 50 minutes.


Transforming Sorrow by Seb Taylor's Kaya Project was released on February 2024.
You can listen tot he album and get your copy HERE