We continue our “Rewind 2012” series with a music post this time. To read our previous post in the series, click here (Coming of age for desi indies – Miss Lovely and Ship Of Theseus), here (So what happened to Agent Vinod? Part 2. Now read the script), here (What kind of bird are YOU?) and here (A for Allah duhayee hai, B for Bakchodi, C for Chutiyapa).
And if you are regular reader of the blog, you probably know that if it’s music, it’s over to Rohit. The only rule we followed here is “NO BOLLYWOOD” because there is nothing left to explore there as we have heard everything possible that Bollywood had to offer in terms of music. So over to Rohit and see if you have heard these gems. If not, do check out all the audio/video links and let us know what gem you discovered this year.
So its another ‘top this’ ‘2012 that’ post. Yes, you are right. This year though, we have tried to move out of our shell and yet stay there. Confused? So were we, so we decided to look around for music that hasn’t been tweeted much, shared much and made much noise on the otherwise ‘forever active’ social networks/forums.
1. Faran Ensemble, the band – is a 3 player group who got together and are exploring music via some of the best teachers around the world. With a distinct Arabic sound, the group plays mostly instrumental music. We are putting a link to one of their music presentations titled ‘Dune’ (click on the link, go to youtube page and click “show more” under “About” section)
Faran, is a dry desert wadi, which fills with water and life only in rainy winters; and in the hot season, otherwise silent. It crosses Israel on its way from Sinai, ignoring all borders. More on the group on the link. Explore and you shall not be disappointed. For their FB page, click here.
2. Safar, the band – Their single ‘Khoye hain’ came out earlier this year. Granted, the video was a little too cute but the song is light and easy on ears. We would ideally like to listen more from them. Their webpage has been surprisingly static since months (this in spite of the fact that they have got over 90,000 youtube hits since April 2012 which is a big deal!). Click on the play button and check out the song/video. You can visit their home page here. Go check!
3. Thumri Funk, the album – Pandit Ajay Pohankar and Abhijit Pohankar might not have given us the ‘pia bavri’ again but with this album, they gave a contemporary touch to Thumris. A delightfully innovative album to bring thumris to the masses. The album sadly wasn’t publicised much (but can be bought for a mere INR 63 from Flipkart, you can play the sample audio tracks also), features good tracks all around, our special picks remain – Ab ke sawan ghar aaja (that’s a mix of 2 thumris in one), Ras ke bhare torey nain, Yaad pia ki aaye and Balamwa tum kya jaano.
4. Tera Bayaan Ghalib, the album – Taking the trademarked and owned style of recitation along with some intelligent use of ghazals/songs, Gulzar saab presented this gem to us. Those familiar with his book (Mirza Ghalib by Gulzar) and the T.V. Serial would quickly identify with the text of this presentation (in which Gulzar saab recites some letters posing as Ghalib) and for the others, it’s a fantastic peep into the life and times of Ghalib and India. The album is put here only because of the fact that this genre has been revived by Gulzar sahab this year and we are hoping some more albums like these are on their way to our iPods/Music players.
5. Chakwal Group, Pakistan – Gifted to us by Coke Studio Pakistan (Season 5) and hailing from Chakwal, Pakistan, this is typically a 16 member group that stands and sings to a single dhol almost every time. Powerful poetry and excellent rendition is their trademark. Be it collaborating with the wonderful Meesha shafi or Bohemia, he group stood it’s ground effortlessly. A treat to hear 16 men singing and emoting so well without missing out a single beat. (Hear the Kandyaari Dhol Geet and you will know what we mean) Thank God for music, really! Can’t wait to hear more from them in the coming years.
6. Mauje Naina, the song – performed by Bianca Gomes, Shadab and Altamash and was featured in the BIG BANG season 2 Episode 1 of the cokestudio India version that was orchestrated by Clinton Cerejo. The song deserves a mention because it marries the mood so dangerously! A song about a man who is pulled by the dark yet tempting persona of the ‘other lady’. For us, this was the song of the year for Coke Studio India (Yes, including Amit trivedi’s excellent episode, but then no points to Amit Trivedi because his second name is excellence anyway!). What mood! A song that scares you, literally.
7. Neray Aah, the song – Performed by the wonderful Rachel Viccaji & Farhad Humayun, this song (Via CokeStudio Pakistan, Season 5) is a case study on how to ‘reinvent’ a filmy song to the fusion/new age setting. The original song is here that was launched in 1998 and this version by Rachel and Farhad is embed here – Do we remember any filmy songs being ‘adapted’ by Coke Studio India so well? We give up. Oh wait! We remember the near disgusting ‘Jugni ji’ that Cocktail ‘borrowed’ from Coke Studio (Without Meesha Shafi) and how bad it fell on our ears. Case. Study. This. Discovery? HELL YEAH!
8. Somrass, the album – Remember Pankaj Awasthi? Remember khuda ka wasta? Remember ‘Tera hee karam’? Blessed with a powerful voice, Pankaj doesn’t stop at that. Experimenting with jazz, electronica, Sant Kabir, poetry recitation, old Hindu mantras and so much more, he gives us arguably the BEST Indi-pop album of the year. Surprisingly, Times Music decided to leave the music album on Flipkart and may be a music shop or two. Do check it out!
9. Thagni, the album – Launched by SaReGaMa, Shreyas and Abhas gave a beautiful twist to age old poems/bhajans by Sant Kabir and Kamali. The album takes a fresh look at bhajans like ‘Udd jayega hans akela’, ‘jheeni re’ and ‘Moko kahan dhundhey re bandey’ among others. Superlative strings and percussions coupled with soothing singing style of the duo, this album, we feel needs to be heard and publicised. Not surprisingly, the album hasn’t been publicised much. Flipkart Link.
10. Reidi Gul, the song – showcased first by Ufone (Pakistan) in their reality show, Yasir & Jawad Khan were eventually asked to make a music video of this beautiful pashto poem by Abdul Ghani Khan saab. The tune is typically pashto but the affectionate style of singing and a clever tune of the song stays with you for a long time. We discovered it earlier this year, hence this features in the list. Here is the entire episode (11 minutes, including the song) We hope Yasir and Jawad come back with many more gems!