Music review of Mary Kom and Finding fanny

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The reviews for both the films are now live on the BBC website

Listen to the wonderful music album and then listen to the music review of Mary Kom here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/hindi/multimedia/2014/08/140822_music_review_marykom_sb.shtml

50% out of tune and 50% just about hitting the mark I feel the music of finding fanny is and  here is the music review of of the same – http://www.bbc.co.uk/hindi/multimedia/2014/08/140829_music_review_new_sb.shtml

Feedback, brutal feedback welcome

Oh Soundcloud! Hey Soundcloud!

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From converting simple button pusher into an almostareview sorts, Internet has helped us in more ways than one.

Off late there have been too many links of superb musical experiments that have been passed along to everyone around me. This is my effort to put on record, which ones are my favorite.

1. Where it all started – I am too backward when it comes to exploring things and sounds on internet. Thanks to Amit who sent me this song. It’s a simple take on an old classic and somehow there is a lot of emotion in this one. Check it out here if you wish to. To me, this is the attempt that pushed me into buying a guitar for myself. My favorite part? The humming towards the end and a superb guitar throughout! Thank you Amit!

2. There are attempts and then there are full ballistic super professional presentation! Our man @krishashok is all about good stuff and -this track is just like that! The background, arrangement and superb singing by @rvijaynarain I cannot get enough of this track.

3. It’s time for some goodness from Pakistan. Meet Shahi Hasan. Every track on this channel is quite good but it will take some getting for me to move beyond Tajdar-e-haram full version. Check it out and preferably on a good music system or a good pair of headphones.

4. Some channels haven’t been very active since sometime but their existing uploads have given us a good reason to cheer and wait for more. Saad follows is one of the many channels that fall under this category. Do check it out

5. Last but not the least, have you checked out Meera’s channel? Go hear the Sooha Saha done by her. Lyrics Nazis might not like it much. Hear it and tell me if you also don’t feel like picking up the microphone/voice recorder and give singing a try.

As you can see, I am totally poor at soundcloud’s treasure hunting. If you have some links, pass on may be?

 

 

BBC music reviews

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It’s been a while since I have put anything on this blog.

To those 2 people who read my posts here, happy to inform that I have been asked by BBC guys to do some audio music reviews for them. Have pasted the links below for some review which I have already done for them. Will keep updating the blog with BBC links (as long as BBC guys are able to tolerate me) :)

Ek villain – Music review http://www.bbc.co.uk/hindi/multimedia/2014/06/140606_music_review_sb.shtml
Humpty Sharma http://www.bbc.co.uk/hindi/multimedia/2014/06/140627_musicreview_vm.shtml
Hate Story 2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/hindi/multimedia/2014/07/140704_music_review_hate_story2_sb.shtml
Amit Sahni ki list http://m.bbc.co.uk/hindi/entertainment/2014/07/140711_bbcmusicreview_vm
Kick http://www.bbc.co.uk/hindi/multimedia/2014/07/140718_music_review_sb.shtml
Its entertainment http://m.bbc.co.uk/hindi/multimedia/2014/07/140725_music_review_sb
Dawat e ishq http://www.bbc.co.uk/hindi/multimedia/2014/08/140801_music_review_dawat_ssm.shtml
Raja Natwarlal http://www.bbc.co.uk/hindi/multimedia/2014/08/140808_music_review_raja_natwarlal_ssm.shtml
Singham returns http://www.bbc.co.uk/hindi/multimedia/2014/08/140814_bbc_music_review_singham_returns_ssm.shtml
BBC Azaadi – 2014 :) (a short feature on things from which Hindi film music still needs freedom) https://t.co/VSIB5eHb9Z

Kahun aur Kya – Ghazal album review

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Universal music

INR 150 on iTunes

Released – November 2013

Penned by Ameeta Parsuram ‘Meeta’

Vocals by Ustad Shafqat ali khan and Meeta

The album starts with the ghazal that lends its name to the album Kahu aur kya is a delicately composed and sung by Shafqat ali khan. The excellent tabla and sitar for most part keep the tempo stable and it’s a listeners delight to hear this old form of ghazal gayaki that is long gone. Shafqat ali has a Mehdi hassan style of rendition and that is again quite refreshing. Wafaa ki shaan is my personal favorite from the album for the simple reason that the poetry is quite nicely weaved in the music arrangement. Flute and sarangi is top class and takes you back to the good old days when ghazal represented more, much more than a music album. If my memory serves me right, Meeta has used her takhallus for the first time in this ghazal.

Koi dharkan has Meeta bringing in the ghazal and Shafqat delivering yet another ghazal that is composed with so much old world charm that it shows. Meeta, which is now her style I reckon brings in all the antraas. Owing to the pace of the ghazal it doesn’t sound invasive but too much of this might put off the listener. Not in this case though. Mere mehboob is a nazm that Meeta has already sung in Irshaad sometime back. This time music arrangement is slightly more intimate and the rendition a tad slow. I would still root for the irshaad version though. There is a lot more emotion in this nevertheless.

Zindagi apna safar features rich music arrangement of traditional instruments like Sarod and Sarangi. This might take a bit of time to grow because the composition is not uniform and to give the benefit of doubt to us listeners, we haven’t heard something like this since last few years. Definitely worth a listen. Main behr-e-ishq  starts with Sarangi that will break your heart, it’s so beautiful. This is how a nazm is ideally done. Just by the sarangi and powerful words. It reminded me for some reason of the old Bahadur shah zafar’s nazm that was sung brilliantly by Mohd. Rafi and was featured in Lal qilla na kisi ki aankh ka noor hu. I would have liked this nazm to be longer. In Wahi ishq hai Shafqat ali goes on high notes comfortably and then scales down. Yet again, along with his mellifluous singing what will arrest your attention is the superlative music setting. It is beyond beautiful! Be it the Guitar that surprises us or the excellent tabla or the evergreen Sarangi, all of it comes together with such ease that it might fool you into believing this ghazal to be an easy ghazal to sing.

Thanks to the ever so declining numbers of ghazal albums, most of the people who buy music are oblivious of ghazals but this could be a good beginning if you like ghazals. It will involve time because a ghazal always needs space, to grow.

Go and buy this album to hear how old world charm sounds like, you shall not be disappointed.

You can listen to the album here

Ishq Lamhe Feat. Ustad Rashid Khan – Music review

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Ghazal as a genre has been on a decline since last few years. Blame it on high decibel promotions that other ‘non ghazal’ albums get or the general lack of interest from the music companies, but it is not far from reality to assume that ghazal albums are way too few.

I dug up some old releases and came across this album that tries hard to keep the genre alive

Ghazals are penned by  Ameeta Parsuram “Meeta”

INR 150 on iTunes

Vocals are by none other than Ustad Rashid Khan, his daughter (who makes a debut) Suha khan and Ameeta Parsuram “Meeta”

The entire album has an element of stillness which is well paced out musically and lyrically. Take for example Mujhe irshaad sung by Ustad Rashid Khan, the excellent music arrangement and well spaced out treatment ensures that it becomes easier to listen to Ustad Rashid Khan when he is not taking long taans. Poetry is top class and even though the ghazal is nearly 10 minutes long, you do not feel the weight of the duration and that is a big plus, given that so many ‘items’ camouflaging as ‘ghazals’ these days make you wish they get over with as soon as possible. Pyaar karu ya na karu is a nazm/recitation in the voice of Meeta and is actually a rejoinder to one of her nazms which was featured in the album Irshaad. You can read about it here.

It’s a breath of fresh air (albeit the lyrics are too painful) to hear real poetry that conveys pathos the way only a nazm can convey.  Haan wohi lamhe introduces Suha Khan and you will be pardoned to think that she starts the ghazal in a very shreya ghosal-ish fashion. The music arrangement is contemporary yet spaced out, which is a relief. The tune is easy on the ears and you are sure to like this debut by Suha. Kambhakht dil ne is sung by Ustad Rashid Khan. The use of Sarangi all throughout the album is top class but it is sweeter in this ghazal. The wordplay again is delicious. I would have liked a bit more emotion from Ustad ji because to me he sounded slightly flat in this one. Nevertheless, this is a brilliant ghazal.

Talaash starts with delicious mix of flute, violin and guitar only to be complemented by Meeta’s voice and Suha Khan takes it on from there. Fluid tune and simple singing has kept this ghazal quite hummable and that is just about it. Dastak and Jawab-e-dastak are both nazms which are voiced by Meeta and it’s quite an interesting experiment to feature two tracks that complement each other. Although I must add that the recitation and it’s tone is quite similar to the ones featured in Irshaad. That said, the words hit you hard with their weight and it’s a pleasure to hear such Nazms. Ye kya sochna has brilliant Sarod and violin starting it and Ustad Rashid Khan lending his voice. He sounds much more comfortable in this ghazal and the feel of the ghazal is intact, undiluted. The ghazal touches upon the loss of a beloved and how everything feels incomplete as a result of that. Labon pe ishq concludes the album. Meeta brings in the ghazal and Ustad ji tries his best to accommodate ghazal gayaki to his already perfect self. The only thing off-putting to me was the music arrangement which came off as cluttered to me at times. The lead up to the first line of antra is done by Meeta.

All and all a must have album not only to listen to Ustad Rashid khan singing ghazals but for the simple reason that this one tries to stay close to the genre of Ghazal that is fast dying. You need an example of that? This album was released in April, 2013.

You can listen to the album here

 

Music review – AB – An album by Abhijeet

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AB
Lyrics – Sameer, Abhijeet
Music – Abhijeet
Times Music
INR 96 on iTunes
 

The album starts with Koi raja na thee rani with mellifluous singing by Abhijeet, exactly the way we remember him. The song has a quaint charm of the times gone by, when we used to look at the inlay cards of the cassettes to find out the song from Abhijeet just so that we can hear them and then sing them to impress girls in our college. Composition wise, the music setting doesn’t intrude with Abhijeet’s singing and am sure that is intentional. Not that it’s bad in anyway.

We then come across Bujhe Bujhe, the only song that is penned by Abhijeet in the album. Although the singing is as you would expect it to be, at times you can feel that the arrangement is cluttered a bit.

Yet another song that will remind us of 90s, Gul chand sitare is pleasant to the ears and has the trademark Abhijeet singing. Lyrics by Sameer are quite venomous for the lover who has probably ditched her lover. The music arrangement could have been better here.

Pankhuri ki palki has good amount of guitars to keep company to Abhijeet who sings well but the lyrics have a major 90s block and the song fails to register. Just a song that would play as you would complete whatever you are doing without taking much notice of the same. The song is not intrusive, mind you and that is largely due to hummable tune and Abhijeet’s singing.

Reh jaate hain has about 9 minutes long and is paced very well. The song is filled with emotions and is not your typical ‘romantic’ song which we come to expect from Abhijeet. It’s a song from a loving parent to her/his offspring and is done beautifully! It is that song in the car which, when it plays will have everyone quiet and may be sobbing as they remember their parents but noone will change the song.

Zara Zara is a peppy offering that I felt was quite plain and didn’t affect me at all. May be it was put to smoothen out the heaviness after the ‘reh jaate hain’ song. In spite of a relatively better arrangement than most of the songs of this album, the song just didn’t register. The lyrics are

The song Na lafzon ki zabaani starts with the trademark ‘hey hey hey’ from Abhijeet. The whistle that follows is a tad embarrassing and should have been performed better. The lyrics are trademark 90s and the setting is sober. The only thing that will stay with you is that it reminds you of a good old hindi film song.

I don’t know about you but I am terribly nostalgic about 1990s and this album took me back to those good days of audio cassettes, ‘mix tapes’, dubbing etc.

Had Abhijeet tried anything else, I would have said ‘Perhaps he should have stuck to his Bollywood soothing style’. In this case, I am actually thankful that he stuck to what he is best at. The album has a soothing undertone mostly and I would recommend it as a ‘buy’ simply because of the era it took me back to. If you are not a 90s kid, even then listen to it to find out how the songs used to sound when dubstep and cheap remix templates weren’t used to compose songs. It was released on 9th May 2014.

You might not want to listen to this simple album daily, but you will not be disappointed to have this in your car as and when you go for long drives.

Abhijeet, Sing more!

You can listen to the album online here

Music of Ankhon Dekhi

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Ankhon Dekhi
Lyrics – Varun Grover
Music – Sagar Desai
Times Music
INR 72, iTunes
 

The album starts with aaj laagi laagi nai dhoop and the song arrests you thanks to the beautiful Sarangi. Kailash kher can sing songs like this one even when he is fast asleep and dreaming french dreams, so that is nothing new that he effortlessly cruises through this song as well. The song has a hummable feel to it.  Next up is Aayi bahar and again what strikes in this peppy song is the brilliant use of khartaals in the beginning and the superlative Sarangi in this song that has a nomadic feel to it. Kailash kher lends his voice to this song and sings it well. My second pick of the album Kaise sukh soyein is composed with so much love that it shows.  Sung superbly by Ronkini Gupta, this one is or keeps! Yaad saari features Kailash kher (again!) along with some good backup vocals. The atmosphere is insightful and even though the song fades out way too soon, the catch is in the lyrics….yaad meri galtiyon si khaley re khaley…Very nice! Hakka bakka has a brass band start and it adds to the comical treatment throughout. It’s good to hear Shaan after long especially when he goes off-key in between (intentionally). You won’t hear this song in discos but be rest assured, it will add to the pace and feel of the film. Mansheel Gujral sings Dheeme re which is best song from the album. Heart breaking lyrics treated to some exquisite music arrangement. I found the feel of babul morai in the lyrics but that could be just me. Find it yourself.

With projects like Ankhon dekhi, you can be rest assured that the music of the film adds to the storyline and takes it further (in most cases) rather than presenting audience an ‘item’ to ogle and forget later. Sagar desai has presented a decent album to us that is hummable and won’t jar the pace of the film.

I have few issues with the album

1. Kailash kher, SO much of Kailash kher makes the album very ‘Saiyyan-Allah ke bande’ predicatable

2. Why no song by Namit das? Mr. Kapoor reply! :)

My picks – Dheeme re, kaise sukh hoyein and aaj laagi laagi nai dhoop

Ankhon dekhi

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