Option (3-4/98, p.103) - "...gives us a glimpse of what else this guy might have up his sleeve, and it sounds like there's plenty."
Billboard (p.52) - "The set was Rahman's first non-cinema album project, and his Bollywood musical background is quite evident."
Personnel: Ar Rahman (vocals, programming); Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn (vocals); Dominic Miller, Mahesh Tinaikar (acoustic guitar); Mark Jaimes (guitar); Janardhan (sitar); Ganesh (violin); Srinivasalu (santoor); Appa Rao (shehnai); Sara Prosser (oboe); Chris "Snake" Davis (sax); Peter Lockett, Sivamani, Laxmi Narayan, Neelakantan, Veda (percussion); Yak Bondy (programming); Rita Campbell, Deepika Thathal, Joy Rose, Chris Ballin, Sophia Jones, Anuradha, Sujata, Kalyani Menon, Seema, Katy Stephenson, Emma Bigwood, Genna Austreng, Brittaney Love, Georgina Gill, Sujata, Kanchana (background vocals).
Producers: Ar Rahman, Kanika Myer Bharat, G. Bharat.
Engineers: Paul Wright, Sivakumar, H. Shridhar.
Personnel: A.R. Rahman (programming); Yak Bondy (programming).
Liner Note Author: A.R. Rahman.
"Vande Mataram" became a Sanskit rallying cry for freedom in the early 1900s, as Indians protested against the partitioning of Bengal and its use as the title for the first international release by Ar Rahman, one of India's most popular contemporary recordings artists, is appropriate. Vande Mataram was released to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of India's independence from colonial Britain and it also was designed to introduce the western world, particularly the United States, the wonders of modern Indian music and culture. Rahman is a clever, skilled composer and for this record, he blends Indian music with worldbeat, new age and light dance music, creating an accessible amalgam that nevertheless sounds exotic. He's also enlisted Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, David Byrne, Zakir Hussain, Talvin Singh, L. Shankar and Apache Indian as guest artists, which gives Vande Mataram a richer scope and a broader appeal. The end result is a vibrant, exciting album that has the potential to reach beyond the traditional world music fan. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine