Long back, when MagnaSound records was a music company famous for giving out plastic cases for the audio cassettes and that ‘extra sweet’ recording, came an artist with his debut Album ‘Phir Bhi’. His name is Sudeep banerjee. If you haven’t heard that album, trust me you are missing a lot. After nearly 10 years It was a pleasant surprise to see Sudeep coming out with an album. This time collaborating with Rekha Bharadwaj. Sudeep has done some work in between as well but as I continued to follow ‘alternate sound’ of Indie-music, I miserably failed at keeping pace with him. Here is an album that is worth it’s weight in GOLD. Read on…

1. Wafa Karne se – The ghazal starts on a good bass note with the ‘ever-so-soulful’ Sarangi for company and in comes Sudeep with his easy voice and clear pronunciation of every word. A ghazal depicting sheer helplessness of a partner whose love interest just doesn’t respond to love. Wohi charchay Wohi Kissey Mili rusvayian humko, Unhi kisson se wo mashhoor ho jaye to kya kijiye. The slight yet constant Guitar all throughout the Ghazal with a prominent Sarangi defines this beautiful Ghazal.

2. Aaj Phir dekha kiye  - Starts off like an unconventional ghazal with blues taking over and in comes Rekha bharadwaj accompanied by a set Tabla. The singer smiles at the mirror which looks at her with curiosity. With Rekha Bharadwaj descends a sense of typical ghazal setting descends on the senses and this ghazal just furthers the same feeling. Mere dil ne to hamesha hee pukara tumko, ek dafaa tum bhee pukaro to Mohabbat se mujhe…Simple and a very effective ghazal. You cannot miss the mesmerizing Sitar throughout the ghazal.

3. Subhe Roshan ko – Mild guitar…lot of bass and then Sudeep begin the proceedings in this ghazal. By now it is quite clear that the poetry of this album is quite strong, still I will state the obvious that the poetry in this ghazal is what the ghazals should be made of. Mujhko mat baandh wafadari ki zanjeeron mein, Misley baadal hu Bhatak jaaney ka ilzaam na de. Off late, I don’t recollect a single ghazal album that has made such powerful statement with the first 3 ghazals. Intricate music arrangement, semi-contemporary but retaining the charm of good old days. Rare!

4. Ashna Dil ko – Rekha Bharadwaj comes back to sing a ghazal which has a lot of ‘ghungroo’ in background and a typical ‘Meerasi’ setting. Yet again, the tune of the ghazal will make you feel you have heard it before. Try to find out where have you heard this sort of music and chances are you will lose yourself midway to sway with the beautiful melody of this ghazal. The poetry is quite simple in this ghazal and you can actually guess the second line of the antraa quite easily if you have been a ghazal-holic for long.

5. Ban gaye dil ke fasane – Yet another contemporary start to a ghazal with electric flute in prominence. Sudeep sings this one. Koun thaa mere alaava uska, Usney dhoondhey thay thikaney kya kya. The music setting of this ghazal is relatively lighter than the rest and Sudeep sings confidently without missing melody or the essence of words. Perfectly executed!

6. Kheench liya tujhe – Guitar and Sarangi. Yes! I cannot have enough of Sarangi! Rekha Bharadwaj quickly adapts to the ‘song like’ setting and ‘Ghazal like’ poetry track. How I wish I could find one area to pull down this ghazal but I fail miserably. This track is the one where a lot of variations have been tried instrument wise and it could have all gone awry. Thanks to Rekha Bharadwaj, it doesn’t.

7. Mazaa Na aaye – A mellow start to this track which brings back the ‘cemented’ views on how a conventional ghazal should sound like (Loads of Sarangi again…Yey!!). Nothing spectacular tune wise still the rock solid poetry and effortless singing by Sudeep holds this one tight.

8. Mere Mehboob – Ameeta Parsuram, who has penned all the ghazals,  gets behind the microphone for this EPIC Nazm! Yes, Nazm. Accompanied with a faint Piano, this Nazm has the potential to move you to tears if you hear it just once. Yes. The flow of recitation with heartache in built…Mashallah!!  It will be a pity if this Nazm goes unnoticed. A *sigh* is what this Nazm will leave you with.

9. Mere Mehboob – I was thrilled to see that there is a ghazal version of this nazm above purely on the prospect of tearing this version down and praising the Track number 8 above BUT I was wrong. Sudeep has probably outdone himself with this ghazal. A sense of doom descends tune-wise. A sense of eternal sadness smiles at you when you hear this. Ironical? Well, Love is like that.

Although ‘pain’ finds a lot of tracks in this album, still I am all smiles as I write this over excited write up.

We can never have the supremacy of Jagjit Singh, Mehndi Hassan and other legends. Still it fills the heart with pride to see singer being true to the genre and slowly constructing their own niche.

The Music scene is filled with noise, and in some cases, good old ghazals haven’t been spared as well, Yet we have people like Sudeep who are continuing their journey undeterred. Much respect.

Hoping that such talent and dedication overflows our music scene…forever

5.00/5.00

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