Archive for July, 2012
Spoiled for the last few weeks, Coke Studio turn West towards the United Kingdom and choose Rochester born Nitin Sawhney to beacon this week’s live performances. Providing 6 composition’s which include for the majority London singer Nicki Wells, Mercury Prize nominee Sawhney uses his own personal life experiences to influence the music drawn into this episode.
Whilst the episode did not provide us with waves of amazement, Vachan is a stormy, rock number that really develops into its own with vocalist Mahesh Vinayakram given full freedom to apply his own learned South Indian Karnatik vocal style. Beginning with a myriad of rhythmic variations and the rare morsing instrument, Sawhney utilises the electric guitar to elevate the strong, improvised vocals by Vinayakram accompanied with backing vocals by Nicki Wells and Samidha Joglekar. With controlled percussion, the performance really accelerates into 4th gear midway through and is let to volcanically explode providing a real sense of deep colour and structure to the whole arrangement.
From the instant we first laid ears on the initial promo for Time Naal, we had a strong inkling this may be a chart-topper in the making and despite competition from other corners, this colourful Manak-E and Kaos Productions joint venture has indeed taken an early lead ahead of its rivals this week. However, we anticipate this single will be more than just a one-week wonder and has the legs to go the distance and dominate dancefloors.
Partnering up with Kaos Productions for the first time since joining VIP Records, the stalwart veteran of the scene takes centre stage on this exceptionally no-nonsense, full-on family entertainer of a track that promises to resonate with the masses. With Manak-E adopting a paternal persona, Time Naal revolves about a father’s strict, bordering on an iron fist approach to parenthood and dealing with his ever-so disobedient, unable to keep track of time offspring!
Alongside Manak-E on this uncompromising, take no prisoners mission is the similarly formidable production outfit Kaos Productions, who have seen a meteoric rise through their impressive grind on Saini Surinder’s Mundra, Jasjot Singh Ghuman’s Yellow Brick Road EP and more recently the unstoppable Gurbhej Brar and his album Panjabi Touch.
Here, the clever ticking of a clock acts as useful extension of the theme and the producers even work in the ominous, clattering sound of a father’s “helping-hand” to great percussive effect! The groovy chord riff, purposeful harmonium pieces and synths brimming with grandeur cap a thoroughly solid production that, admittedly, is less folk than we’re used to from Kaos Productions and instead geared towards crowd-appeal, but the team pull off the transition with remarkable ease and leave us with an unforgettable hookline.
Sticking with the song’s universal concept, VIP Records kept us waiting on the much anticipated Guvy Heer-directed visuals too! Well, here they are and we must say they tie-in cohesively with Manak-E emphatically whipping his three sons into shape. Please support the artists by purchasing Time Naal from iTunes now.
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When it comes to the rapidly evolving landscape of fusion dubstep and the experimental electronic genre in the Asian scene, it’s difficult to look past these 2 artists, namely Sound Shikari (formally known as G Productions) and G-Ta for some of the most encouraging interpretations of such progressive production. Both have seen their hair-raising work receive airplay on the BBC Asian Network and we’re still reeling from G-Ta’s collaboration alongside Tigerstyle on the Kudi EP, which also happens to appears here in a VIP variety.
Having gone for the quite simply inspired, filmy-even, title Dishkyan for this collaborative offering, our intrigue only grew as we braced ourselves for a dubstep duel that would, without doubt, be packing substantial heat!
In essence, Dishkyan is an 11-track album that equally showcases the Middle-eastern based producers’ fine work thus far with one previously unheard joint remix that serves as a tribute to the late Kuldeep Manak ji. Sticking with the exclusive, Jhang Diya Kuriya is one to be filed under ‘Dubstep’ and features a set of pristine vocals accompanied by restrained percussion and radiating string pieces which delicately wrap it all together.
So, if you’ve been tracking the madcap pair’s movements closely over the last twelve months, the majority of the album will have already stamped its mark with tracks like the tremendous, snare-soaked Akhiya Dub (Surinder Kaur) and hypnotic Naina Lagey (Dubstep Remix) included. Nevertheless, we welcome the move to join forces and make their bone-shaking material freely accessible, which should do no harm in enhancing the profiles of these eye-catching experimentalists.
With speaker-wrecking dub rhythms at every turn, audacious bass drops and insane bass wobble galore, both Sound Shikari and G-Ta bombard us with knockout showings throughout but at the same time display sophistication amid the mayhem through their intricate, made-to-measure sampling such as is the case on Eyes Lit (Dilber Dubstep) and Kehna Hai Kya (Dubstep Remix). Add into the mix the somewhat muted, soulful snarler Rii with its devotional overtones, G-Ta’s impeccable reworking of Badmarsh & Shri’s Appa and even an enthralling dose of drum and bass courtesy of Sound Shikari’s Ishq Nachaya (Remix), and you have an album that will keep listeners at the edge of their seats and have us immediately craving for more.
Have a listen right now and be sure to grab the complete free download by clicking here!
Follow me on Twitter @HarkBhambra
Satyamev Jayate (English: Truth Alone Prevails) is a show that was premiered in May of this year and is anchored by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan. Highlighting issues such as honor killings, dowry, female foeticides and child sexual abuse, the format has been widely appreciated and has received merit and praise for putting these often neglected issues to the forefront. The emotional, hard-hitting nature of the talk show really strikes a chord with the viewers and the effort from producer Khan must be commended for providing a window of truth for the youth of India.
The most recent episode Every Drop Counts discussed the importance of water in our lives and how likely the occurrence of water supply running out will be. With every day passing, this is becoming an eventuality with ‘water-wars’ already existing throughout the world.
Accompanied with each show is a freely downloadable song which relates to the topic of the show, this week sung by the excellent Sukhwinder Singh. Jal Na Jaye Jal was written by Munna Dhiman who expertly crafts deep, emotional lyrics for the track which was composed by Ram Sampath who incorporates the sounds of the saxophone, clarinet and the Carnatic mridangam so seamlessly well.
Nirmohiya – Devendra Pal Singh + Harshdeep Kaur
Almost unsuprisingly, Coke Studio delivers another peach of a collection of live performances for Episode 3 which was lead this week by Amit Trivedi, an upcoming composer and musician who’s most recent successes included the Dev.D soundtrack, which won Trivedi numerous accolades in 2009.
What we’re finding with each different composer each week is the variance of structure with every ensemble they bring, some with particular focus on percussion and beat section, some centre around the strings and groove builders etc. Trivedi this week opts to really focus on bringing elements into a live performance which we wouldn’t normally hear, good example being Nirmohiya which brings forward the excellent clarinetist sensation Shankar Tucker. Adding that extra bit of sweetness to the the smooth hot jazz, swing-like composition, Indian Idol finalist Devendra Pal Singh partners perfectly with another rising sensation of our time, Harshdeep Kaur who deliver the song that details endurance, anticipation and love written so elegantly by Amitabh Bhattacharya.
Chaudhary is another song about a person’s wanting for love delivered in a composition that utilise elements from Rajasthani folk music with a unique spin. A fusion of the traditional khartal, dholak, guitars and the sarangi taking centre stage, Mame Khan who resides within the Manganiar community delivers this sweet powerful but restrained Hindi/Marwari track with the perfect amount of emotion.
Chaudhary – Mame Khan
We were honoured to be given the opportunity to get an exclusive first listen of Tarli Digital’s soon to be released, this Thursday 19th July to be precise, fourth-studio album #DigiTaal. We were eager to witness first-hand what Tarli had up his sleeve and how he had constructed this 12-track album that somewhat surprisingly is rumoured to be his last. So let us get straight into the action!
Track 1 – The DigiTaal Intro (feat. Hollywood Harv)
As a fan of his work providing much humour over the years on numerous releases and with him lending his comedic brilliance on Tarli’s previous album Project Rehab on Kholo Kholo Dat, it was only apt the one and only Hollywood Harv return on the latest release. With algozey, dhad, dhol and sarangi as well as an ample slice of bass you can’t really go wrong and Tarli goes all out folk on this intro as Harv traces the “musical genius/mad-man’s” footsteps and colourfully outlines #DigiTaal’s premise.
Track 2 – Mittran Da Naa Karde (feat. Dalvinder Singh & The Dhol Foundation), Lyrics: Happy Bains (UK)
Released two weeks before the album, Mittran De Naa Karde or MDNK for short has been doing the rounds on our TV screens and on the airwaves and in the main has received widespread credit for its lively characteristics stemming from the incredible catchy lyrics written by Happy Bains, the string pieces and the TDF percussive backbone. As we’ve noted before, having worked with each other for a decade, Dalvinder and Tarli have realised what works and MDNK hits the sweet-spot for both.
Track 3 – Kudi Sapni Vargi (feat. Nishawn Bhullar), Lyrics: Balraj Bhullar (India)
After the buzz created prior to this track it would be a shame to let that momentum fizzle out but Tarli presses on with yet another raucous track alongside the “Folkstar” Nishawn Bhullar and a track we’ve eagerly anticipated since Tarli lifted the lid on the line-up! With 2 solo albums under his belt already, Bhullar is no spring-chicken and shows on Kudi Sapni Vargi why he is highly regarded. The brilliant composition carved by Tarli is eaten up by the quick-on-the-draw singer as the staccato chords coupled with the cheeky flute and deadly bassline inflict substantial damage. Though we’ve all heard tracks of this lyrical nature before, Kudi Sapni Vargi ticks all the right boxes and we consider this track to be a contender to receive the video treatment.
Following from the ingenuity left behind by Clinton Cerejo from last weekend’s episode, Coke Studio @ MTV India employed the skills of trusty Hitesh Sonik, producer, musician and husband to the excellent Sunidhi Chauhan.
The song that whispered loud snare beats through our weak ear drums this weekend was delivered by the hottest sounding pair to come out of Punjab, Sultana and Jyoti Nooran. Grand-daughters of the acclaimed Sufi folk singer Bibi Nooran, the sisters tasked themselves to sing the popular Allah Hoo Da Awaza which was also sung by their Grandmother decades ago. Recently featured on the experimental and quite far-out but iconic Tung Tung Da Sound Karda, Jyoti sets the precedent on this live performance delivering an excellent shehr with her quite unique lower tone later accompanied by her sister Sultana who harmonise together so entrancingly well.
On a rock tip, the performance pivots around the drums performed by Darshan Doshi and filled in with some quite exquisite violin by Balabhaskar and flute by Paras Nath. Dramatic and so expressive, the composition matches the deep lyrics detailing the true love for the Almighty – expertly crafted and delivered by Hitesh Sonik. With this epsiode stepping it up a further notch, we’re excited what the rest of the season will hold..
Marcus James is the evidently talented producer who’s been behind the production desk manufacturing Shide Boss’ most recent tracks including It’s Alright, Rainbow and Ni Sohniye. Set to release later this month, James presents a fresh new and exciting sound which collaborates the efforts of fluttering British Panjabi/Hindi vocalist Biti along with another glistening female songstress, Reesha. Giving plenty of time to develop, the teasing bass drop and hypnotising synth’s really build into quite an exquisite number which urges you to instantly hit the replay button.
Were excited with what the Karman Entertainment label are releasing and with the impressive Fire-Tiger EP that dropped earlier this year, I confidently can say that it’s a bold start from this fresh experimental collective.
Conceived from the Brazilian Estúdio Coca-Cola, South Asia adopted Coke Studio as their own with Pakistan formulating their unique format headed by the supreme Rohail Hyatt and more recently MTV India from their studios in Mumbai.
Now entering their second season, MTV India ditched the services of Lesle Lewis, much to our enjoyment, and employed a more youthful spearhead in playback singer Clinton Cerejo. With episode 1 airing earlier today, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with the scores and arrangements from Cerejo and he instantly gives us the feeling that this season will eclipse the one preceding this – and probably do this very easily following the disappointing first season from Lewis.
Our ears have magnetised towards the arrangement of Chadd De as the favourite of the episode which features the uber-talented vocalist Master Saleem. What really launches this high is the emphasis around the beautiful cello, accompanied with a full string section the flowing composition by Cerejo that allows Saleem the freedom to unleash his vocal prowess throughout the ten minute gem of a performance.
It also doesn’t take a detective to realise that the presentations are performed and arranged as a production rather than our preferred live one take, one shot performance but to avoid sounding picky, keep delivering arrangements like these and we’ll not flutter another word about it!
We also have presented the performance by Sonu Kakkar and Vishal Dadlani, quite a neat little number which focuses around the Madari himself. Keep locked onto the blog as I’m sure Coke Studio India will be a regular occurrence if they continue like this…
With his future in the business very much up in the air, fan-favourite Garry Sandhu is reunited with the producer responsible for Sandhu’s biggest hit thus far Tohar and joins forces with classy songstress Sudesh Kumari to pay homage to the folk duet legends Amar Singh Chamkila and Amarjot with their rendition of Ik Gal.
Again, like with his recent collaborative effort Brick alongside GV, Ik Gal has received overwhelming support from Garry’s loyal fanbase that has catapulted this desi tete-a-tete into the dizzy heights of the mainstream downloads chart!
Sandhu gives it a real go vocally to emulate the Chamkila swagger, adding that mischief and forthrightness whereas Kumari, as ever, is the harmonising factor and eloquently conveys her pent up frustration in her role as the voice of reason. On the musical front, DJ Dips has kept the composition traditional and opts for a barebones folk production with tumbi, banjo and dhol doing the major legwork to perhaps retain the original’s uncut, folk authenticity.
Ik Gal is now available to purchase via the iTunes link below.