We’re suckers for a good cover and the team of Gagan ‘GP’ Behl and Manraj Patar having been kicking around the YouTube stratosphere for a short while offering their versions of popular songs that have included Sahotas ‘Teri Meri Gal Ban Gayee‘ and the monumental Panjabi MC track with Surinder Shinda ‘Mirza‘.
This time they’ve combined the well known lyrics from Babe Bulleh Shah’s ‘Kade Aa Mil Yaar Pyaara Aa‘ (Wadali Brothers favourite) alongside Gurdas Maan’s ‘Sajna Veh Sajna‘ and utilised quite an enchanting composition provided by Patar’s vocal teacher and singer Dev Dildar. Nice use of the harmonium and acoustic makes this a winner but the verse by Patar really shows his skills which seem to be bettering with each new offering.
If you’re wondering where you’ve heard the name Patar before, Manraj is the youngest son of one of the greatest poets of our generation, one of the truest assets of the Panjabi Language; Dr Surjit Patar. Having penned great poems such as Hawa Vich Likhe Harf, Hanere Vich Sulagdi Varnmala and Kuj Keha Tan Hanera Jarega Kive, words often fail when describing talents such as the supreme Surjit. Hopefully the light from his father will be continued by Manraj for years to come.
You can download the song for free by clicking here.
Half a year on since young producer Manni Sandhu unleashed his debut album My Time, this stonking Garage of our favourite track off the album Sona (feat Bakshi Billa) dropped into cyberspace a few hours ago. Slapping on an additional 30 beats per minute to the original tempo, Manni opts for the shuffling hi-hats and kick drums from UK Garage for this free downloadable mix. Incorporating sounds from Brandy’s Sittin on Top of the World and the familiar UK Garage xylophone, this remix sits really nicely at a tempo that we actually are liking and only adds to the success of the original.
After being left in anticipation for what’s to come following Thursday’s Peekaboo performance, the moment arrived when Karsh Kale delivered his offerings for Coke Studio. My word, we are still struggling to pick up our jaws up off of the floor.
For those that are hearing the name Karsh Kale for the first time, the musician, producer and composer was raised in West Bromwich, England and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. With six solo albums under his discography, he can be best known for one of the seven members of Tabla Beat Science who contributed to quite possibly, one of the greatest Asian Fusion Underground albums ever: Tabla Matrix. Himself a percussionist with emphasis on his love for the tabla and electric tabla, Kale has really pioneered the Electronic fusion with South Asian influence so supremely well and spearheaded the Asian Fusion scene for the past decade.
Now into the sixth episode of Coke Studio @ MTV S2, it would take some feat to better such exemplary efforts from the likes of Nitin Sawhney, Ehsaan + Loy, Clinton Cerejo, Amit Trivedi and Hitesh Sonik but we’re fairly sure, this is the pinnacle of the season so far. Implementing his Asian Underground influence within each performance, it was pretty hard not to showcase each and every offering within the episode.
Karsh Kale feat Salim Merchant + Sabir Khan – Kajar Bin Kare
Paying homage to the late, great, supreme sarangi musician and vocalist Ustad Sultan Khan, Karsh Kale delivers something quite unique and impeccable that has simply left us in awe. Originally composed with Ust. Sultan Khan, Salim Merchant and Kale felt that the Coke Studio platform was the perfect method to deliver such a spine tingling performance and fittingly, Ust. Sultan Khan’s son Sabir Khan takes centrestage to deliver such a beautiful, emotional and spellbinding performance via the sarangi. Arranged to perfection, the double-time snares, rousing tabla percussion and breathtaking strings really lift this emotional number to a place that leaves one almost speechless. One of, if not, the best performance ever seen on Coke Studio by a long shot respectably leaving something behind that Ust. Sultan Khan would be proud of.
Karsh Kale feat Shilpa Rao + Warren Mendosa – Hallelujah
Mixing elements of personal experiences into the Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah, Karsh takes the helm to vocal the arrangement alongside songstress Shilpa Rao who infuses elements of Jhoola, a childhood song of hers to enhance this relatable song about pain and glory of love. Keeping the composition the same as previously heard, the track is based on Warren Mendosa’s Ode to A Sunny Day arrangement which seems to fit so well with lyrics of Hallelujah and with Mendosa delivering a splendid guitar solo, the performance is just short of breathtaking.
Karsh Kale feat Shruti Pathak, Benny Dayal + Mandeep Sethi – Glorious
Having showcased their efforts previously in the episode, Karsh enlists the talents of Benny Dayal and Mandeep Sethi once again to perform alongside multi-lingual sweet vocalist Shruti Pathak. Based on an 88 BPM drum and bass groove, the often key changing performance features sweeping flute and melodic piano pieces, we were often asking ourselves the need for incorporating Sethi on such a moving, emotional arrangement.
Karsh Kale feat Shilpa Rao, Shruti Pathak, Monali Thakur + Apeksha Dandekar – Shedding Skin
You would think trying to arrange four great female vocalists would be a feat for anybody but Kale makes lighwork of it. Incorporating the sounds of the dholak, Shredding Light is a song that talks about the transformation of a young female’s life and the smooth transitional arrangement applied seems to gel this performance so elegantly well. Focusing again around the flute, Mendosa’s raw electric guitar is fluttered throughout with the four vocalists providing angelic, stellar performances.
Karsh Kale feat Monali Thakur – Dil Cheez
It’s amazing how emotive the sarangi can be and Kale utilises it to perfect effect to reconstruct the classic Dil Cheez from the 1981 film Umrao Jaan. A fitting reinterpretation of the Asha Bhosle original with vocalist Monali Thakur executing her versatility by switching from Hindi to English so easily well. Karsh Kale provides an easy-to-listen-to arrangement with the sound of his tabla accompanying with Ravi Chary’s enchanting sitar.
Karsh Kale Feat. Apeksha Dandekar, Benny Dayal + Mandeep Sethi – Peekaboo (Coke Studio @ MTV India Session)
Since we found out that the Karsh Kale Collectiv were set to appear on the ever improving second season of Coke Studio @ MTV our eyes have been glued onto YouTube for a preview of what’s to come but we’ve been spoiled already since Peekaboo surfaced a few hours ago. Featuring the uber-talents including London songstress Apeksha Dandekar, vocalist Benny Dayal and Californian rapper Mandeep Sethi, Karsh Kale smothers an emotive, smooth and slick directed composition on a Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan classic, Naina More Taras Rahe (here sung in Raag Sindh Bhairavi). Standing in the shadow of the original, Kale adopts the sitar and flute to emulate the emotions of separation and longing written within the lyrics and flips the direction 360 degrees mixing up the second half of the arrangement including a signature Sethi rap, notable vocals (in English) from Benny Dayal and quite strikingly, an excellent performance by Apeksha Dandekar.
We’ll be reviewing the upcoming episode when it comes online so be sure to check back regularly…
Synonymous with Bollywood OST excellence, two thirds of Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy join Coke Studio to infuse some of their jazz, rock, blues influences onto a track that collates Panjabi verses from Waris Shah and Baba Ghulam Farid masterpieces. Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa have been the spearhead composers behind some of the most influential albums that have appeared throughout the past two decades which began from their first significant break in 2001 with Dil Chahta Hai. Album successes such as Kal Ho Naa Ho, Bunty Aur Babli (Kajra Re) and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna in the early 2000′s really propelled the trio into the spotlight beginning arguably the best periods of their career. Picking up accolades throughout the past five years, their fusion of Western bar blues and synth sounds with Indian classical styles such as Sufi and Hindustani was likened by masses, and this Coke Studio session picks up right from where they left off!
Subhan Allah (Glorious is God) begins with vocalist, now turned actor, Jasbir Jassi providing quite a scintillating shehr that really surprised us showcasing the control and unique tone in his skill set. We actually can’t express our praise enough for the vocal from Jassi. With backing provided from a choir of seven strong, the performance leads into the main section which is sandwiched with riffs galore and more snare and cymbal than in a Neil Peart tribute band! Superb vocals and percussion aside, there was an element of over-production within the performance which felt almost rigid at times, leaving the arrangement almost a bit too constrained. Perhaps thinking of their typical Bollywood audience, sticking to their guns was perhaps the duo’s safest option but loosening the shackles could have made this performance great to really great.
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.
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
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.