I have always liked Hans raj Hans (referred to HRH hereafter) because he is soothing and even when he takes his long taans, he doesn’t make a big deal of it and there is a unique control that he quietly displays in his singing. Never known to indulge in useless vocal acrobats, It breaks my heart to not come across his work in these times when everyone is busy lusting for likes and video views with song and singing quality being hung out to dry.
In what appears to be a live recording, the duma dum mast kalandar is powerful yet soothing – a pedigree that Hans raj hans possesses. No one is going crazy and there is no ‘forced soulfulness’ in the song. That HRH is a gifted live singer is not a revelation anymore but in this song he takes it a notch higher. His singing is brilliant and the accompanying artists are also spot on. Heer is arranged and presented more like a studio song and with a beautiful flute for company, HRH’s singing evokes a deep sense of loss that heer is generally known for. Again, there is a lot of pain but if you don’t know punjabi, you would be tricked into believing that this is actually a simple song with no sadness. This is because HRH doesn’t cry out loud to get your attention. It’s this simplicity that really breaks linguistic barrier and will touch a chord with everyone.
A hugely popular composition Nit khair is sung and presented in what appears to be a live setting. The opening lines and the way they are recited by HRH reinforces the faith that there are still some singers who can touch your heart without indulging into full fledged ‘singing’. This one is paced more like a film song and doesn’t do a bad job at making you sway. In fact, you can actually dance to the song. It is just that good. Saif ul maluk – A heartfelt ode to the beautiful lake in Pakistan, this composition has a light arrangement and free flowing vocals of HRH. Even if you don’t understand punjabi, you will still marvel at the nuanced and pucca singing of HRH. Suno Maharaja is a superbly sung song which is not in punjabi. It is also the only song in the album in which HRH pauses and recites some lines, something live singers take a lot of pleasure in. I am never high on ‘devotional’ songs but this one is a rare exception to that rule. Simply beautiful!
The lyrics are largely traditional so it’s a given that they fit right in with the earthy compositions of the album. What stands out (at the risk of repeating myself) is the singing by Hans Raj Hans and that should be the reason enough for those who love ‘khalis’ things to pick up this album.
Thumbs up to Hans Raj Hans and here’s hoping he gives us more to relish!
(Image courtesy – Internet)