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Poorna – Music Review

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My music review of Poorna –

 http://www.bbc.com/hindi/entertainment-39457479 

What a delightful album!

Review – CokeStudio Season 8 Episode 5 #CokeStudio8

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Hina ki Khushbu – is a song that all of us came across when we were big enough to know Noor Jehan. For most of us in India, we heard a version of it when Kumar Sanu sang this song in a Hindi film. The Song here is arranged rather well and you get the nostalgic 90s Pop feel from the sound of the proceedings. Samra Khan’s voice is strong and gayaki steady. Asim Azhar on the other hand sounds promising but I couldn’t help feeling the presence of auto-tuner in his voice and quite prominently. Also, it was quite uninspiring to hear ‘kinna sona’ because it lacked the oomph, which is why the song feels long and labored.  In fact this debut reminded me of Uzair jaiswal who was not exactly hitting all the right notes but was singing with such honesty that his songs on CokeStudio still remain my favourites till today. See them here and here  to know what I mean. There is a wonderful presence of Sitar by Shehroze hussain but even then the song is just not what you expect from CokeStudio Pakistan. An experiment that went southwards if you ask me.

Khalis Makhan rubs nostalgia in less than 40 seconds into the song. The gayaki is understated in parts and takes parvaaz in bits, keeping the heartfelt tune steady. Bakshi brothers are accompanied wonderfully well by Sajid ali, Tafu sahab and Arsalaan on Rubaab, Flute and Harmonium respectively. Not sure if this is limited to 90s kids like yours truly, but I am sure you have heard this tune somewhere else in your childhood and that makes the song special for me. There are a lot of variations in the song and as I said, all subtle and quite hummable. There is a certain pain in during disda nahi..Remarkable song!

Kinaray – I am not a fan of MH Band but I can safely conclude that with this song, MH Band has given us one of the most unorthodox sounds of this season. It is calming to hear the backups accompany the wonderfully talented Sharmishta Chatterjee and deliver us a soothing composition that is not even 4:30 mins. The tune is perfect and singing is top class! My pick of the episode, without a doubt! For all of us who know that this track by CokeStudio is a tribute to this composition, the only grouse is – it is less than 5 mins! Lastly, for some reason my YouTube comment was deleted by the admin at CokeStudio, so allow me to link you to the composition which serves as the inspiration of this song. It is by Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty and you can hear it here

Rangeela –  Ali Azmat was the reason enough to wait for the episode and in this song even though I was a tad bit suspicious of the sound (because it sounded too fine and pre-recorded to my untrained ears), Ali Azmat shines. The treatment is a bit filmy and lacks depth that Ali Azmat is known to decipher and display in his songs. The song is good but I have heard Ali Azmat Sing better songs.

Overall, not an impressive episode by any standards but the two songs which work, work like magic!

Picks – Kinaray and Khalis Makhan

Review – CokeStudio Season 8, Episode 4 #CokeStudio8

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Episode 1 review here, Episode 2 here, Episode 3 here

Rabba Ho – Trust Strings of season 8 to have a million variation in a song that is less than 7 mins. So far it has worked and this song here is no different. Mulazim Hussain reminds me of Sonu nigam and with all the positive vibes (not comparing so cynics, calm your tits please!). The rhythm structure is beautiful especially the way the stanzas are done. Don’t you just love Mulazim when he adds a bit extra ‘hoo’ (with a smile) after that longish alaap of ‘rabbbbbbbbbaaaaaaaaa’? The string section is top class and kudos to Shehroze Hussain on Sitar. Tanveer Tafu can basically play anything. I wonder how much time Tafu sahab takes at the ATM machine. He must get busy playing a tune on the damn ATM card itself! A song that is penned beautifully, composed tactfully and delivered passionately…mashallah!

Khari Neem – We saw what Strings can do with a perfectly simple vintage song when they turned this song by its head and gave us an impressive result here. This time, they got Siege to go crazy along with the entire houseband when they presented their tribute to this song. Fit to say they pretty much brought the house down. This sort of singing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, to me the song is a perfect blend of passion and rhythm. Flashes of brilliance from everyone else in the studio makes up for such a happy song! Those claps, the string section, percussion, everything and everyone top class! The last minute and a half of the song just elevates the proceedings and leaves you there…awestruck! Siege, Please sing one more song for us this season, will you?

Piya Dekhan Ko – True to the expectations which creep up at the slightest promise of two good artists performing together, you will see loads of musical dialogue between Ustad Hamid and Nafees and it is beautiful! The arrangement minimal, the feel just right and the presentation filled with old world charm of raga based compositions, this could be the simplest song of the season yet it will not fail you. A song perfect for light listening as well as dancing. Yes! Dancing!

Ae Dil – Beautiful keyboard starts the song and then it occurs to you that Ali Zafar is singing in English. I am not a fan of english efforts on the Studio. Sara Haider (Who we remember over emoting and jumping in Season 7) sings well and even though the  composition is good, the ‘take it away’ from Ali Zafar kills the song because the song is not a ‘take it away’ genre if you know what I mean. The guitar is amazing but it tries too hard to hold the song which is good in pieces (read – Sara’s portions). Ali Zafar is good but somehow we expect much more from him and you do feel that the english part actually compromises the feel of the song from the beginning itself which jeopardizes the continuity in one’s mind. It is not a bad song, just that it sounds broken, especially with the ‘original song’ kept in context in the beginning of the video. Great chemistry between Sara and Ali.

Overall a decent episode where you can listen to 3 out 4 songs on the loop and to be honest, the 4th song isn’t all that bad, just that it is good in portions.

Thumbs up to the producers, this season is turning out to be a revelation!

In Search…Of Jagjit Singh

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Whenever I travel for work, I cannot NOT listen to GhazalJit Singh. While listening to one of the albums today, I wondered why some of the best albums of Jagjit Singh aren’t present in most of the playlists (which normally start with ‘Tumko dekha to ya khayal aaya’ and stop at ‘Hoshwalon ko khabar kya’ or at max ‘Koi fariyaad’).

Allow me to write a bit about the album that was released when I was in class 12 (1997) and was a companion in tackling many issues (including solving those tough mock CBSE Accounting papers)

  • Apne hothon par sajana chahta hu, aa tujhe main gungunana chahta hu – Penned by Qateel Shifai, the simplicity of singing and easy composition ensured that a noob of class 12th understood everything without having to consult any intellectual on the meaning of a Ghazal. Santoor was prominent throughout this entire album and this ghazal was no different. Towards the end you can hear Jagjit Singh humming and that was back then (and till now) so soothing. A quiet Ghazal about love and nothing else. If only such gems were released in the days of Youtube, twitter…
  • Dosti Jab kisise ki jaaye, Dushmano ki bhi raai li jaaye – Penned by Rahat Indoree, this ghazal speaks without mincing words about life that continues to bleed. The slow tabla throughout the ghazal with layers of Santoor, violins and other instruments brings in a stillness about things when one wants to sit and take stock of life. I remember going all ‘Waaaaaaaah’ when I heard this antraa for the first time that went ‘बोतलें खोल के तो पी बरसों, आज दिल खोल कर भी पी जाए’. I have lost count on the number of occassions I have used this line and gained appreciation at the expense of Jagjit Singh and Rahat Indoree..
  • Kahin Aisa na ho daaman jala lo, hamarey aansuon par khaak daalo – Penned by Liyaqat ali Azm – A ghazal with such a beautiful style of request and persuasion that will make you wonder if such arguments (To win back the beloved) exist today?  मनाना ही ज़रूरी है तो फिर तुम, हमें सबसे खफा हो कर मना लो….(उस अंदाज़ पे गौर करियेगा जिसमें जगजीत सिंह ‘हमारे’ कहते हैं…4:59 mins के समय)
  • Ya to mit jaaiy Ya mita dijiye, kijiye jab bhi sauda, khara kijiye – Penned by Wajida Tabassum, this is a ghazal for the hopeless romantic (No wonder Sitar makes the first appearance in this album via this ghazal). Good amount of keyboards were used by Jagjit singh to compliment the feel of the ghazal that remains top class throughout the ghazal. अब जफा कीजिए या वफ़ा कीजिए, आखिरी वक्त है, बस दुआ कीजिए…)
  • Kaise Kaise haadsey sehtey rahey, fir bhi hum jeetey rahey hanstey rahey – If she made us fall in love with ‘Ya to mit jaiye’, Wajida Tabassum makes our heart ache with this soulful ghazal. Pain was jagjit singh’s middle name so he is quite easily at his best, composition wise, arrangement wise and singing wise. The deliberate high pitch in the mukhda of the ghazal constructs a feel of pain just so beautifully…वक्त तो गुज़रा मगर कुछ इस तरह, हम चरागों की तरह जलते रहे…
  • Khaamoshi khud apni sada ho aisa bhi ho sakta hai, sannata hee goonj raha ho aisa bhi ho sakta hai – Penned by Zaqa Siddiqui, this ghazal makes up for the ‘sadness’ in the album. Composed in low notes especially in the Mukhda of the ghazal, this is not an easy ghazal to sing. A ghazal filled with insight and self reflection.
  • Bebasi Jurm hai hauslaa jurm hai, zindagi teri ek-ek adaa Jurm hai –  Ayaz Jhansvi pens this ghazal with good amount of ‘शिकायत’ quotient and Jagjit Singh sang it with consummate ease. Poetry at it’s fluid best, composition at it’s melodious best, there is hardly a thing that is wrong with this ghazal. याद रखना तुझे मेरा इक जुर्म था, भूल जाना तुझे दूसरा जुर्म है…
  • Jab kisi se koi gila rakhnaa, saamne apne aaina rakhnaNida fazli gives the voice of Jagjit singh the right amount of pathos with an insightful ghazal. Asking us to look at our reality before finding faults with others, the ghazal is slow, melancholic and thought provoking without getting preachy or loud. मिलना जुलना जहाँ ज़रूरी हो, मिलने जुलने का हौसला रखना….

Jagjit singh is rightly credited with taking ghazals to the masses. Prior to his arrival on the scene, this genre was reserved mostly for some singers who took pride in using tough words and putting their Epiglottis out for display. This album is as simple as it can get. Listen to it once and I will leave you to make your opinion on the same. What most of the people forgot when they talked about Jagjit Singh was his ability and willingness to find new poets and showcase their work. Have a look at the lyricists of this album and you will know what is the point I am trying to make.

Don’t miss this album if you are a ghazal listener.

If you feel there is something wrong with the album it is purely because of the overexcited writing in this post and the fault is mine.

Meanwhile, ये रहा मेरा कसेट

GhazalJit Singh

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