Continuing with our Rewind series which looks back at the best of the year. Our earlier post (20 Things We Learnt At The Movies and 13 Unanswered Questions) is here. This post is all about the musical discoveries we made in 2013. And mostly non-bollywood. We will cover Bollywood in a separate post. If you are regular reader of the blog, you probably know that if it’s music, it’s over to Rohit. The songs may or may not have been released in this year. Hope you have fun going through all the links. Here are the top ten music gems in no particular order.

1. AWAAM – So this is nothing new. A song comes out in Pakistan, and since it doesn’t belong to Atif Aslam or Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, dies its natural death. This one came out in 2012 but we discovered it when one of you left a link somewhere in the social media. Hear it. See it too. The song is called Awaam. Artist – Faris Shafi feat. Mooroo. Apart from taking a not-so-tongue-in-cheek look at the way things are in our neighbouring state, there is a message for everyone. Check it out! Why did we feature it here? Only to neutralize that silly feeling that ‘Pakistan music is all Sufi’.

2. HARAVALI PAKHARE (Balak Palak) – Not all Marathi songs go ‘dhinchak dhichak’ as aptly demonstrated by Shekhar Ravjiani. The sheer simplicity of the composition and easy singing by Shekhar is sure to catch your attention even if you (like me) doesn’t understand the language. Have a listen, you won’t be disappointed. Also, watch the film. You won’t be disappointed there as well.

3. HAMZA EL DIN – “The celebrated Nubian musician whose rich fusion of Arabic and Nubian sounds entranced audiences worldwide and inspired colleagues like the Grateful Dead and Kronos Quartet, died Monday, May 22nd, at a Berkeley hospital from a gall bladder infection. He was 76.” That was 2006. From here. I came across his work thanks to an email from a friend in Africa. Went and searched his album Escalay and was blown away by the sheer tranquility it brings to the soul. You know how much it costs to buy it on iTunes? 9 Indian rupees. Yes. Do give it a listen and thank me later. More about Sir Hamza el din can be found here.

4. GHAZAL, the band – A fantastic band formed by Kurdish-Iranian kamencheh player Kayhan Kalhor, Indian sitarist Shujaat Khan, and Indian tabla player Swapan Chaudhuri blew me over many times round. It was formed in 1997. The attempt was (to quote the band itself) ‘to merge Persian and Hindustani concert music into a new stream of classical balladry and improvisation’. Oh yes, they were also nominated for a Grammy in 2004. iTunes is full of their music and it is best if you do buy it. This is what we stand for in music, in art as a whole. Wander around, meet people, collaborate and then present! Here is the link of one of their finest performance.

5. TASHANGI KO – Many a times I have dismissed Sabri Brothers because they sang some weird song in Pyaar kiya to darna kya. It’s not my fault that I was born late. Late enough to not know THE original Sabri Brothers. While I was busy slapping myself on that fact, Varun and Krish rathore slipped this brilliant piece of work by Sabri brothers. There is Sax, electronic guitar and a tune that can make you an alcoholic and a bad one at that!  Our word – It won’t take long before a film maker laps it up or gets ‘inspired’ from this.

6. SHYE BEN TZUR – Shye Ben Tzur is an Israeli Qawwali singer who composes qawwalis in Hebrew. He was formerly part of the rock band Sword of Damocles, which he founded. After attending a concert in Jerusalem by the Indian classical musicians Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain, he became interested in Indian music, which brought him into contact with qawwali. His album Shoshan features a superb song by Shubha Mudgal amongst other superb songs. Try this one and let us know what you thought?

7. CORNERSHOP – The band was formed in 1991 by Wolverhampton-born Tjinder Singh (singer, songwriter, and guitar), his brother Avtar Singh, David Chambers and Ben Ayres. The band name originated from a stereotype referring to British Asians often owning corner shops. We came across two songs from them and couldn’t stop ourselves from looping them. Hear it here

And here –

My favourite remains the studio version of we’re in yr corner and the last two words that Tjinder gives out right after he says ‘Coca cola’. 🙂

8. ALAA WARDI – While this super talented guy took the music crazy junta by surprise with his cover of Pehla nasha (here), we swayed to the simplicity of this tune right here –

9. SACHAL STUDIOS – While Asia is full of many musical collaborations, this one in particular has a very ‘finished’ feel to it. Right from the hi-tech website from where you can directly buy off the music to the music itself. Everything is in in sync and does what only music can do. For starters, please see this link

10. MASTAAN MASTAAN – The list cannot be complete without a mention of at least one song that we discovered from the movies. This relates to some movie and we need you to explore about the movie, so we are withholding the name. The tune is kashmiri, the music is infectious and the arrangement, very local (read – melodious). If only the film did well and this was promoted better! Sung by Gulzar Ganai, you can listen to the song here (check folk version).

So what have you discovered this year? Let us know in the comments section and enlighten our soul.

  1. All great finds! Have been listening to Mastaan Mastaan since Tahaan released; thought this was a well-known song among music lovers.
    And, yeh 6am jullundhar shere tha na? 7:20am kab hua?
    Also, Tishnagi!!! \m/ FIND OF THE YEAR! Sabri bros, FTW!

  2. Its always great to find new music to play in loop . Thanks @Rohwit for bringing these gems to us. I am grateful.

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