Home Read Classic Album Review: Joi | We Are Three

Classic Album Review: Joi | We Are Three

A brother pays tribute to his fallen sibling with this triumphant world-beat release.


This album came out back in 2001. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


1999 was the best of times and the worst of times for Anglo-Asian electronica DJ Farook Shamsher.

It was the year he and his brother Haroon finally broke into the mainstream with their unique brand of Indian-influenced world-beat dance music, touring the U.S. and winning awards back home in London following the release of their lauded debut disc One and One is One. Then, in July, Haroon suddenly died of a heart attack at age 34, robbing Farook not only of his musical partner but his closest sibling. Now Shamsher, who has since re-formed Joi with new members, unveils We Are Three, made up of the songs Farook composed and performed. Since these tunes are nearly two years old, it’s no surprise that they bear a distinct similarity to One’s material — hypnotically funky grooves and sweeping synthesizer washes that mingle with tabla rhythms, sitar lines and traditional vocal chants (some recorded by Farook in Bengal just weeks before his death), creating a sonic hybrid that is exotic yet instantly familiar, ancient yet up-to-the-minute, heartbreaking yet uplifting. Joi has created life from loss and triumph from tragedy — I’m pretty sure Farook would approve.