Posts Tagged ‘Coke Studio’
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.
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..
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…
Whilst the marker is poised to cross off the 12th month of 2011 and before the festive christmas songs send our brains to musical numbness, we thought it would be great to highlight some of the jewels from the Panjabi and Hindi music world that have surfaced this year. Successful as the year has been, the whittling down process to reach a list of the top 30 involved a lot of head-scratching and gruelling grunts to create a selection of our favourites which was eventually (mutually) agreed upon. The criteria for our final selection included evaluating the lyrical content, the innovation from the production/artist, the impact the track had on the consumer/public and of course, most importantly, whether the track brought us a ridiculous amount of enjoyment!
Comb through our selection below and drop us any comments (positive and of course negative) with your thoughts on our choices. Enjoy!
Number 30 (Released January 2011)
Nachhatar Gill - Akhiyaan Ch Paani
Vocals: Nachhatar Gill
Music: Gurmit Singh
Songwriter: S.M. Saadiq
With the album labelled as ‘The Return of the Superstar‘ Akhiyaan Ch Paani enters our selection at number 30. Set alight by Gurmit Singh, the two applied a melting composition and a created a melody which strung the chords of any listener who appreciates a sad song. With lyricist S.M. Saadiq penning down the story of a person who makes a sacrifice for their loved one, Nachhatar delivers another run-of-the-mill faultless vocal to manufacture a deep alluring number.
Click here to purchase Akhiyaan Ch Paani from the album Akhiyaan
Number 29 (Released May 2011)
Bups Saggu + Miss Pooja - Photo Rakh Ke
Vocals: Miss Pooja
Music: Bups Saggu
Songwriter: Tari Banwalipuria
There can be no argument about the breath of fresh air and zest injected into the scene by Bups Saggu upon the release of his debut solo offering Redefined. As it swiftly turned out, Photo Rakh Ke proved to be an overnight success and can only be considered a winning comeback for Miss Pooja. Her measured yet charming vocals gel wonderfully with the unique, refreshing composition strung together by Saggu and is elevated by the entrancing melody at the heart of this sprightly single.
Click here to purchase Photo Rakh Ke from the album Redefined
Number 28 (Released July 2011)
Mukhtar Sahota + Harbhajan Shera - Khazana
Vocals: Harbhajan Shera
Music: Mukhtar Sahota
Songwriter: Yaadwinder Pamma
Production extraordinaire and all-round musical mastermind Muktar Sahota together with Harbhajan Shera flipped the script with their collaborative effort Khazana back in July. Whilst the album has not received the widespread attention and coverage it so richly deserves, we firmly believe that it is an outstanding advert for implementing varied, opulent sounds from around the world with the traditional!
The title-track itself cherishes and celebrates Panjabi culture as Shera’s silky vocals stir up all the senses associated with Panjab and evoke wonderful memories. Khazana has that much-admired Sahotas reggae-tip about it and Mukhtar has done a terrific job to mirror the desi lyrics with the sarangi-riffs and algozey.
Click here to purchase Khazana from the album Khazana
Number 27 (Released February 2011)
The Dhol Foundation + Saini Surinder - Desi Peeni
Vocals: Saini Surinder
Music: Johnny Kalsi
Songwriter: Saini Surinder
The fourth studio album the from The Dhol Foundation, Drum Struck provided us with the first real showing of 2011 from a vocalist who has fast become a favourite of ours and gone from strength to strength following his involvement on two tracks (the other being Naa Karde) for TDF’s album.
Desi Peeni is definitely a track for the lads as Saini Surinder delivers a razor-sharp performance over the percussive goodness arranged by Johnny Kalsi & Co. In addition to the obvious desi drum-factor, TDF’s records tend to have a live feel to them and Desi Peeni is no different with the drum kit coming into its own and the gorgeous guitar taking the edge off the thunderous beats.
Click here to purchase Desi Peeni from the album Drum Struck
Number 26 (Released October 2011)
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan + Anupama Raag - Nazar Se Nazar Mile
Vocals: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Anupama Raag
Music: Sajid, Wajid
Songwriter: Javed Akhtar
The formidable brother duo of Sajid and Wajid Ali create a soft dream of a track to fall into. Featuring for the first time in our Top 30 list, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan delivers a beautiful well-controlled vocal which is transporting him further into the playback singer starlight. Accompanied by Anupama Raag, the dholki, strings and acoustic guitar combo shouldn’t go down together if viewing on a piece of paper but surprisingly works a gem on this number. Minus what I thought was unnecessary A-ha’s, this track was a strong contender for one of the records of the year.
Click here to purchase Nazar Se Nazar Mile from the album Miley Na Miley Hum
Number 25 (Released January 2011)
Kulvinder Johal + Kaos Productions - Gubindhi (Remix)
Vocals: Kulvinder Johal
Music: Kaos Productions
Songwriter: Manjit Singh Samra
Released in the early weeks of 2011, we were never going to easily forget one of the biggest earthquaking remixes that have been registered on the Richter scale. With Kaos Productions attaching the deep drum-n-bass banger with dynamite, the duo expertly brought the original track (coincidentally produced by themselves) into a whole new dimension giving the track a real earthy and raw sound. To top it off, the track included a bit of dub to satisfy the many amongst us who appreciate a good reggae bassline. In at 25, the Gubindhi Remix was one of the best remixes of the year!
Click here to purchase the Gubindhi Remix
Number 24 (Released July 2011)
D-Sarb - Sahan
Songwriter: Gill Ahmedpurwala
D-Sarb enjoyed a spectacular start to what we foresee will be a long and successful tenure in the industry with the release of the first of three EP instalments, Music ‘N’ Me Volume 1. Working in tandem with D-Boy, D-Sarb received an overwhelming response to his debut and the touching ballad Sahan in particular struck a chord with a huge audience; blown away by the home-grown phenomenon’s self-assured, vocal maturity and sheer ability to pull off an epic!
Click here to purchase Sahan from the album Music ‘N’ Me Volume 1 – EP
Number 23 (Released August 2011)
Gupsy Aujla + Saini Surinder - Bhangra
Vocals: Saini Surinder
Music: Gupsy Aujla
Songwriter: Saini Surinder
In at 23 it’s that brilliant, blossoming vocalist Saini Surinder who once again graces our countdown with a quite scintillating effort alongside one of the UK’s finest producers Gupsy Aujla. Right from the get-go this barnstormer of a track grips and enthuses as Gupsy’s furious dhol intro backs the flawless shehr from Saini. With its clean lyrics, tremendous production-values and an outstanding singing performance it’s incredibly difficult to resist the urge to play Bhangra over and over!
Click here to purchase Bhangra
Number 22 (Released January 2011)
Diljit + Honey Singh - Lak Twenty Eight Kudi Da
Music: Honey Singh
Songwriter: Anand Raj Anand
In at number 22 is the ever popular Lak Twenty Eight Kudi Da. With the music provided by the musical outcast Honey Singh, Diljit combined Honey’s talents aswell as Anand Raj Anand to create a track which took India by storm. Whilst the track is merited on its success throughout the year, the lyrical content is what let’s it slip down the rankings.
Click here to purchase Lak 28 Kudi Da
Number 21 (Released January 2011)
Sukhraj + Saint Soldier - Farmer Suicide
Vocals: Sukhraj + Saint Soldier
Music: Mani D
Songwriter: Sukhraj + Saint Soldier
Totally in contrast to the song above this one, Farmer Suicide was a song that opened eyes all over the globe, via good lyrics and music. Highlighting the current plight of farmers in Punjab, Saint Soldier and Sukhraj delivered lyrics that really struck an emotional nerve which was collated and executed perfectly by producer Mani D. Complemented with an excellent visual to the track, Farmer Suicide was an exceptional attempt at delivering a required message through the power of music.
Click here to purchase Farmer Suicide
Number 20 (Released May 2011)
G-Company + Ashok Gill - Nachna Nai Onda
Vocals: Ashok Gill
Songwriter: Jagga Singh Gill
Newcomer G-Company teamed up with seasoned vocalist and voice behind the smasher Moorni to give us a high-octane, dancefloor banger in Nachna Nai Onda. With its polished folk beats reminiscent of the likes of Tru-Skool and Panjabi MC, Gee’s dynamic debut effort deserves major praise to stand up to such legends. Whilst we would have liked more expansive lyricism, the celebratory premise of the track lends itself to familiar pursuits we suppose. On the music front, besides the dominant percussion, G-Company’s exploits on keys and tumbi do not go unnoticed on this definite floor-filler!
Click here to purchase Nachna Nai Onda from the album Folklore
Number 19 (Released October 2011)
Dalvinder Singh + Tarli Digital - Ishq
Vocals: Dalvinder Singh
Music: Tarli Digital
Songwriter: Dev Raj Jassal
Long-time collaborators Dalvinder Singh and Tarli Digital returned not too long ago with a gem of a single which was perhaps one of the few released this year that adopted a fresh new approach and it’s fair to say it worked a treat! Released on the independent label Sweet Peach Music and taken from Dalvinder’s forthcoming album Born To Singh, Ishq is a delicate blend of acoustic and jazz elements steered by soulful vocals that go hand-in-hand with the effortless, smooth vibe nurtured by the piano arpeggios, guitar riffs and mandolin. All in all this is a genuinely refreshing listen and fitting tribute to Ishq’s lyricist, the legendary late Dev Raj Jassal.
Click here to purchase Ishq
Number 18 (Released October 2011)
Lakhwinder Wadali - Sanwal Rangiye
Vocals: Lakhwinder Wadali
Music: Jatinder Jeetu
Songwriter: Wadali Brothers
Since Ravi Bal unearthed the brilliant Lakhwinder Wadali almost 8 years ago, the appreciators of great Sufi, Panjabi and classical music have been in awe to this day. When the extraordinary Naina De Buhe album dropped a few months ago, the track Sanwal Rangiye wasn’t one that created initial excitement. Now with time passing and the album receiving so many repeated playings, the record has grown on us extremely which is why it enters our collection at Number 18. A simply superb track.
Click here to purchase Sanwal Rangiye from the album Naina De Buhe (The Soulful Strings)
Number 17 (Released October 2011)
Saini Surinder - Thor
Vocals: Saini Surinder
Music: Angel (E3UK)
Songwriter: Saini Surinder
For the third time in our Top 30, we feature once again the excellent vocalist who goes by the name of Saini Surinder. This time teaming up with record label E3UK, Thor was featured on Simply Bhangra Volume 1 and further highlighted the excellent singing ability of the young songster. Expressing via an effortless shehr (intro), Saini continues to deliver onto a soft yet thumping number filled with continuous light dhol along with a few simplistic but effective harmonium and mandolin pieces.
Click here to purchase Thor from the album Simply Bhangra Volume 1
Number 16 (Released January 2011)
Aman Hayer, Angrej Ali, Benny Dhaliwal + Dev Dhillon - Ajj Nachna
Vocals: Aman Hayer + Angrej Ali + Benny Dhaliwal + Dev Dhillon
Music: Aman Hayer
Songwriter: Satti Khokhewalia
Up next is one of the early highlights of this calendar year, released all the way back in January and turned out to be a very solid entertainer! Serving as a prelude to Aman Hayer’s The Entourage, Ajj Nachna brought together the behemoth voice of Angrej Ali, rising talent Benny Dhaliwal, the hugely underrated vocal prowess of Dev Dhillon and The Entourage’s ring leader Aman Hayer. The track has an undeniable addictiveness to it with the keys and synths coupled with a fine, upbeat hook to form a compelling groove.
Click here to purchase Ajj Nachna from the album Ajj Nachna
Number 15 (Released August 2011)
Feroz Khan - Heeriye
Vocals: Feroz Khan
Music: Jaidev Kumar
Heeriye gave us lucky listeners the opportunity to witness the incredibly gifted Feroz Khan and Jaidev Kumar combine to brilliant effect. Whilst the Pata Nahi Rabb Kehdeyan Rangan Ch Raazi OST was packed with quality of the highest order, Feroz Khan blew us away with his effortless execution on this romantic number. Just sit back and revel in this piece of impassioned, musical delight as Khan goes about his business alongside similarly stellar production from Jaidev Kumar!
Click here to purchase the album Pata Nahi Rabb Kehdeyan Rangan Ch Raazi OST
Number 14 (Released February 2011)
Satinder Sartaaj - Cheerey Waleea
Vocals: Satinder Sartaaj
Music: Jatinder Shah
Songwriter: Satinder Sartaaj
Taken from one of the albums of the year, Cheerey Wala Sartaaj, Master Sartaaj pens another mellifluous and harmonious melody and composition which combined so perfectly with the music from the architect behind the mixing desk, Jatinder Shah. The euphonic elements of the track really set the premise for the rest of the album creating a buzz throughout homes who appreciated the delightful and beautiful poetry from the 21st century modern day Panjabi/Sufi hero, Satinder Sartaaj.
Click here to purchase Cheerey Waalea from the album Cheerey Wala Sartaaj
Number 13 (Released February 2011)
DJ Vix + Bhinda Jatt + Surinder Shinda - Glassy Nachdi
Vocals: Bhinda Jatt + Surinder Shinda
Music: DJ Vix
Songwriter: Kala Nizampuri
Entering at Number 13 is another track from the start of the year which features DJ Vix, Surinder Shinda and the return of the California King, Bhinda Jatt. As we had predicted at the start of the year, it would take some pretty good going to beat this from forcing it out of our 2011 favourites. With lyrics written by Kala Nizampuri, the content was centred obviously around the nucleus of alcohol but what forced it up the charts was the unlikeliest collaboration of Shinda and Bhinda, with the hekh’s of the both artists setting the standard for what was to be the start of a great production by DJ Vix.
Click here to purchase Glassy Nachdi
Number 12 (Released September 2011)
Jazzy B + Kuldeep Manak + Yudhveer Manak + Sukshinder Shinda - Hukam
Vocals: Jazzy B + Kuldeep Manak + Yudhveer Manak
Music: Sukshinder Shinda
Songwriter: Jandu Littranwala
Earlier this year we witnessed a collaboration of unparalleled magnitude as Jazzy B lined up alongside the legendary late Great Ustaad Kuldeep Manak Ji, his son Yudhveer Manak and ever present as ever, the musical-mastermind Sukshinder Shinda on production. While the recent news of the Kaliyan da Badshah’s unfortunate passing was heart-breaking to say the least, the great man did not leave without a fond farewell with his contribution, perhaps fittingly so on his student, Jazzy B’s folk-heavy album Maharajas.
Hukam resurrects and centres on the folk epic of the warrior Dulla Bhatti’s quest to avenge his father and grandfather’s death at the hands of Mughal emperor Akbar. Despite not being at 100%, nothing can stop Manak Saab as he imperiously delivers another commendable performance. Jazzy B is emphatic in his role as the main protagonist and Yudhveer does a fine job as Dulla’s right-hand man, Mehru Posti on this rip-roaring Shinda composition.
Click here to purchase Hukam from the album Maharajas
Number 11 (Released November 2011)
Jr Dread + Amrita Virk - Jogi
Vocals: Amrita Virk
Music: Jr Dread
Nowadays we’re seldom treated to a Bhangra brew quite like Jogi. Jr Dread backs up Amrita Virk’s hellacious vocals with suitably raw, verging on, if not anthemic production and exercises his passion for dark, experimental sounds to devastating effect. With that said, this jaw-dropper of a track has generated a rather strong fan-following and it is by no means a surprise to find Jogi featuring prominently in the charts following its release well over a month ago! Jr Dread has completely revamped a folk composition and given it a new lease of life with an utterly demonic bassline and shown musical flair, drawing upon genres such as Drum and Bass, ragga and hip hop to give this banger oodles of oomph!
Click here to purchase Jogi
Number 10 (Released May 2011)
Dipps Bhamrah + KS Bhamrah - Mr Makhna
Vocals: KS Bhamrah
Music: Dipps Bhamrah
Songwriter: KS Bhamrah
In at ten is the collaboration between Dipps Bhamrah and his father, one of UK Bhangra’s longest servant, the legend that is Kulwant Bhamrah. The song itself was featured originally on Dipps’ own album Take One way back in 2002 which in our opinion, lacked any punch or conviction when compared against this revitalised 2011 release. With Jeeti providing DAW assistance and working his magic behind the mixing desk, the track was brought to life via the excellent talents by one of the finest percussionists from our industry, Mr Sunil Kalyan. The different elements blended together created a fun, sing-a-long, colourful Panjabi Bhangra track collaborating the best from the UK scene, typifying what our scene is capable of.
Click here to purchase Mr Makhna
Number 9 (Released June 2011)
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan + Tarli Digital - Tasveer
Vocals: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
Music: Tarli Digital
Songwriter: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
It comes as no surprise that the great Rahat Fateh Ali Khan features once again in our Top 30 capping off one of the most accomplishing and successful years as a recording artist. Carrying the torch passed on from his uncle, the late great Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahat has gracefully grasped the popularity set by his great elder and created a base for himself which has excelled him as one of the finest singers of our time.
Capping off almost a decade in the production world, Tarli Digital set alight Tasveer on the disc RFAK Sessions, a production worthy of more praise than it actually received. Written against the classic by Ustaad Nusrat Ji Tumhein Dillagi Bhool Jaani Padegi, the track collaborated perfectly soft hi-hat and snare percussion along with some perfect complimentary grand piano chords/pieces. What conquered the the track was of course the electric guitar which provided some scintillating solos equalling the standard set by Rahat’s faultless vocals, crowning off an excellent production.
Click here to purchase Tasveer from the album The RFAK Session (Remix)
Number 8 (Released July 2011)
Attaullah Khan Essakhelvi - Ni Oothaan Waale (Coke Studio)
Vocals: Attaullah Khan Essakhelvi
Music: Rohail Hyatt
Songwriter: Bari Nizami
Now for something a tad out of left-field but nevertheless an overwhelmingly stunning showcase of live music courtesy of the critically acclaimed Coke Studio. On the off-chance that you haven’t come across this fascinating live performance venture that celebrates the musical diversity and heritage of Pakistan, allow Attaullah Khan’s Ni Oothaan Waale to kick-start your CS experience!
With Rohail Hyatt pulling the strings on production, Khan’s distinguished, rustic voice is aligned wonderfully with the live elements; intelligently meshing the folk poetry with contemporary undercurrents whilst preserving the cautionary tale of the precariousness of love. There is so much going for this collective effort, from the hip, electric-edged guitar riffs, the die-downs to the rippling background female harmonies and inspired violin in the breakdown… Absolutely awe-inspiring!
Click here to purchase Ni Oothaan Waale from the album Coke Studio Sessions (Season 4)
Number 7 (Released September 2011)
Saini Surinder + Kaos Productions - Mundra
Vocals: Saini Surinder
Music: Kaos Productions
Songwriter: Raja Gulabgaria
Having both made their presence known in our countdown (one of which with multiple hits to their name), Saini Surinder and Kaos Productions felt it necessary to further stamp their mark on 2011 by laying down the gauntlet with Mundra. We’ll get to it straight away, Kaos Productions know how to make a mean, good ol’ fashioned reggae bassline and their percussion is nigh on immaculate – an unbelievable richness to it! Throw in our dear Saini Surinder equipped with great lyrics into this concoction and we have one heck of a single on our hands. If the reggae-dub somehow doesn’t get you buzzing, we’re adamant ingredients such as the dramatic sarangi pieces, algozey-induced tempo switch-up and synth chords/keys will!
While being staggered at the sheer quality Saini Surinder has been able to consistently serve up, we’re perhaps instinctively protective of the singer’s sheer talent and just hope he continues to work alongside producers that are capable of doing justice to his phenomenal vocals. Props to E3UK Records for snapping him up and making the music a foremost priority. Back to Mundra and though the song itself is off the hook, many were left somewhat underwhelmed at the half-baked, concept video that unlike the audio, failed to hit the sweet-spot. Definitely one of the contenders for Bhangra track of the year… Crank. It. Up!
Click here to purchase Mundra
Number 6 (Released May 2011)
Garry Sandhu + DJ Dips - Tohar
Vocals: Garry Sandhu
Music: DJ Dips
Songwriter: Garry Sandhu
Hitting our top 30 at number 6 features one of the popular and talked about artists of 2011, Mr Garry Sandhu. Whilst not possessing the greatest of vocal chords, Mr Sandhu has capitalised his position since he first appeared in August of 2010. Offering credit where its due, the controversy regarding his residency a couple months ago hopefully should not taint his success over the past year. The song which we’ve chosen surfaced 6 months ago and was featured alongside producer DJ Dips.
With simplistic and understandable lyrics, the success of the track created shudders around dance floors around the UK as the clean and uncomplicated production proved to be quite a profitable combination. Without over-exhausting the UK, it would be interesting to see where Garry’s avenue lead to next year, and one of the big questions would be, could Garry Sandhu ever make it in his home shores of Panjab?
Click here to purchase Tohar
Number 5 (Released June 2011)
JK + Tru Skool - JK Boliyan
Music: Tru Skool
If we had allowed for more than one track to feature from one single album release, the final standings would have been dominated by a certain young talent who hails from the city of Derby. Since his hehk first emerged in January 2009, Jatinder JK Kumar has procrastinated over delivering his British and European fans an album they could delectate their ear drums with. 18 months later and alongside VIP Records, JK released a stonker of an album in Gabhru Panjab Dha.
Filled with the rawest of percussion alongside traditional mandolin and tumbi pieces, JK Boliyan showcased perfectly what UK born talent can achieve and whilst some will say his ranges and tones are similar to a certain Jazzy B, to not give credit where it’s due to a talent who has been nurtured and has learned the ropes properly would be blasphemous. This track screams live Boliyan straight from the get-go which has been perfectly executed by the producing talent and musician, Tru Skool, a simply superb attempt at creating traditional Panjabi folk boli straight from the English Midlands.
Click here to purchase JK Boliyan from the album Gabru Panjab Dha
Number 4 (Released November 2011)
Amrinder Gill + Dr. Zeus - Judaa
Vocals: Amrinder Gill
Music: Dr. Zeus
Songwriter: Raj Kakra
Well, what can we say about Amrinder Gill’s work with Dr. Zeus that hasn’t already been said? Simply put, there aren’t enough superlatives to describe this grand collaboration! The singer’s bold decision to ally himself with Zeus, another UK-based producer following his successful 3-album stint with Sukshinder Shinda was initially met with raised eyebrows but my word did the pair reap the rewards with the downright enthralling album Judaa.
Again with the wealth of quality on show from start to finish, we found it terribly difficult to restrict our selection to just one song from the release; however the title-track Judaa’s heart-wrenching lyrics, penned by legendary writer Raj Kakra tipped the scales in its favour. With Zeus employing an electronic/synth style for the most part, Amrinder’s melancholy vocals sit harmoniously above the delicate arrangement which, if our Bollywood memory serves correctly takes a cue from Dil to Pagal’s Are Re Are for its string pieces, adding to the nostalgic, conflict-riddled aura implied by the stormy backdrop.
Click here to purchase Judaa from the album Judaa
Number 3 (Released July 2011)
Kailash Kher + Shazia Manzoor + Ravi Bal – Sohniye Yaadan
Vocals: Kailash Kher + Shazia Manzoor
Music: Ravi Bal
Songwriter: Satti Khokhewalia
When the soundtrack to the Lollywood (Pakistani film industry) movie Love Mein Ghum surfaced this past summer and boasted a goliath line-up with the likes of Ali Zafar, Shazia Manzoor, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Kailash Kher and Ravi Bal to name a few, we had to take full notice! Our intrigue with what this star-studded cohort had up their sleeves was unequivocally answered with much aplomb on the epic Sohniye Yaadan.
Master-crafted by none other than music supremo Ravi Bal, this colossal ballad crooned by playback singer-extraordinaire Kailash Kher and further ameliorated by Shazia Manzoor’s guest vocals is by far and away one of the most goosebump-inducing tracks of the year! Kher is at his earthy, heartfelt best on a track that seems has been conceived and executed to the exact specification of the singers involved; a testament to Bal and his meticulous work ethos. The subdued percussion is set amongst spellbinding flute pieces, desolate chords and punctuated by astounding electric guitar implementation… Flawless!
Click here to purchase Sohniye Yaadan from the album Love Mein Ghum
Number 2 (Released July 2011)
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan + Shreya Ghoshal - Teri Meri
Vocals: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan + Shreya Ghoshal
Music: Himesh Reshammiya + Pritam Chakraborthy
Songwriter: Shabbir Ahmed + Neelesh Mishra
Since we first heard Teri Meri off the Bodyguard we knew that this was going to be an instant hit. Those intrinsic horns began what was to be the biggest track to fall from a Bollywood OST this year. What was so special about this was the beautiful blend of simplistic beat production which allowed the two greats, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shreya Ghoshal to take the centrestage.
This heart-melting number starts slow and soft with lush yet quirky violin and bagpipe-esque orchestration in the background. Reshammiya’s subtle, detached music ebbs and flows dreamily for the two standout vocalists to triumphantly outpour with emotion. While Shreya sings at low pitch, Rahat juxtaposes her magnificently, reinforcing the sense of distance with high pitch and brings moving Sufi alaaps to the table in his trademark, transcending rendition. Though Khan has the major role in this poignant ballad, Ghoshal produces a silky, virtuous performance that is every much as influential on this haunting but undoubtedly idyllic experience. In at Number 2, it’s the spellbinding Teri Meri from the OST, Bodyguard.
Click here to purchase Teri Meri from the OST Bodyguard
Number 1 (Released November 2011)
Gurbhej Brar + Tru Skool - Chak Dhen Geh
Vocals: Gurbhej Brar
Music: Tru Skool
Songwriter: Surjit Sandhu
Well we’ve finally reached our number 1 for the year, the whittling down from over 140 tracks from 2011 was tricky to say the least. Juggling to and fro, the order of our top 30 was chucked more up and down than an elevator but we we’re convinced that as soon as this track had dropped that it was in the running to be the track of the year. The anticipation from the promo’s alone caused hysteria from the four corners of the Bhangra internet fraternity and with VIP Records providing the catalyst and platform for the release itself, we knew what was about to happen.
As we’ve long become accustomed to, Tru Skool is a catalyst for explosive consequences and the fittingly titled Chak Dhen Geh categorically propels the roof from the moment Gurbhej Brar unloads! There is little subtlety about the manner in which the menacing Brar vocally steamrollers over this hair-raising anthem and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Conversely, what makes this the brilliant track we so fervently admire is Tru Skool’s intricate nuances and slick integration of assorted sounds such as the funky James Brown additions, brass samples and that ridiculous, whiplash-inducing bassline. Another key component contributing to the track’s unyielding success is how Brar and Tru Skool combine to leave no stone unturned and fully commit towards creating that all important heated crescendo so as to ensure the chorus-drop and hook deliver maximum mayhem!
Click here to purchase Chak Dhen Geh
Dilruba – Kailash Kher
Piya Ghar Aavenge – Kailash Kher
Been meaning to post a couple of the live performances which have included the mindblowing vocals of Sunidhi Chauhan, Shankar Madhevan and the Wadali Brothers as well as many more. Taken from the albums Yatra and Kailaasa, Kailash Kher performed Dilruba + Piya Ghar Aavenge on the most recent episodes of Coke Studio @ MTV with the musical assistance of producer and composer, Lesle Lewis. Seeing a lot of YouTube comments flooded with the comparison between this Coke Studio and the one created by extraodinaire Rohail Hyatt in Pakistan. To be quite honest, the music will and should always come first regardless of people thinking its too commercial or it lacks a certain ‘sufiness’. Heck, even if we had anything remotely similar to this in the UK, I’d want to visit the recordings every week. I’m going to keep this simple, I think the opportunities should be taken advantage of and I reckon we should appreciate the form this beautiful music is being presented to us.
Fareed Ayaz + Abu Muhammad – Kangna // Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi – Ni Oothaan Waale (Coke Studio Live Performance)
Fareed Ayaz + Abu Muhammad – Kangna
Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi – Ni Oothaan Waale
What Coke Studio has done for Pakistani live music has been nothing short of superb. Now within its fourth season, capitalising on the successes of the previous three seasons Rohail Hyatt and the rest of his superb production team continue to explore the diverse range of language, music and poetry that exists within Pakistan.
This performance will definitely not be the last I will post of the Coke Studio so let these video’s of Fareed Ayaz, Abu Muhammad and Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi be an introduction to CS if you have never experienced such great production before.