It’s that time of the year again. And in our Rewind series, we look back at the best of the year. This post is all about the musical discoveries we made this year. And mostly non-bollywood. 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 14 music gems of 2014, in no particular order.

  1. Omar Faruk Tekbilek – We fully subscribe to the maxim that if you want to travel places without travelling, do try and get hold of the music of that place first. Music would give you good insights about a place by the instruments used, texture of the sound, use/absence of electronic instruments etc. So when someone gifted me the entire collection of Omar, who is from Iran, and I played it, cliched as it might sound,  I was transported to the deserts of the country. We suggest you get hold of his work and let us know if you also feel we should dig deeper into the sound of that region. Meanwhile, explore whirling dervishes here

  1. Sanjay Mishra – It’s surprising how much I have heard Sanjay’s work since last few years, and even then it didn’t occur to me that I must tell you about this man. A fabulous musician with top class sensibilities about the sound quality. Allow us to suggest ‘For Julia’ to get started. Would you believe that when i wrote this post last year, Sanjay Mishra’s Chateau Benares was playing in the background and still, i forgot to feature him in that list. This is what his music does, melts in the background and doesn’t intrude. Be it for a lazy afternoon or a dreamy evening, Sanjay Mishra just fits in! Thank you sir!

  1. Nescafe Basement – Post Rohail Hyatt’s Coke Studio, there were serious attempts at replicating the setting (And the colors!) along with music on other platforms. Some were outright ridiculous and some embarrassing. What set Nescafe basement apart was its choice of  music. Add to it the fact that the songs didn’t embarrass the listener and you have a winner! Varun Grover pointed us to Lari adda a year ago which was quite nice but we discovered Ankhiyan udeek diyaan this year from them and it is brilliant! Do check it out!

  1. Jaag Musafir – Rohail Hyatt – I am not based in Pakistan nor do I claim to have any information about the music scene there. I stumbled upon this song on youtube and then searched a bit more to find this complete album, supposedly from Rohail Hyatt. The sound has Rohail Hyatt written all over it. Do listen to all the tracks if you haven’t already and be prepared to get zoned out completely! Our top find of the year, This!

  1. Bombay Dub Orchestra – The song Mumtaaz dragged us to explore Bombay Dub Orchestra. To some of us, Mumtaaz might sound a tad filmy but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Flute and subdued vocals can weave magic isn’t it?  What is Bombay dub orchestra?

To quote from their website

“Bombay Dub Orchestra was formed almost ten years ago following a trip to Bombay, India, by Garry Hughes and Andrew T. Mackay. They’d gone to record with the city’s strings orchestra a few years earlier and decided to take advantage of the relationships they’d built up with musicians in India to create their own project. It took another three years to talk about the idea and a further three years to write, record and release their debut self-titled album.” The sound is unique and their ‘stuff’ is quite addictive. We hope to hear more from them.

  1. Bent Notes of The Bauls – When the genius of Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Jerry Douglas come together, we sit and listen. This was released in 2013 and thanks to a famous lyricist who shared it with me this year, this folder has never been deleted since.  Each and every track from this album is a gem but somehow, this particular track reminds me of my childhood morning and all good things that are attached to it. (Raga purists, please excuse me if this isn’t a ‘morning raga’, I honestly don’t care)

  1. Susheela Raman – Queen between – Looks like 2014 was a good year for ‘everything Queen’. Susheela Raman really put her heart and soul into creating something which is different and not just for the heck of it. Susheela decided to collaborate with  Pakistan’s amazing Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwal and Rajasthan Maestros Kutle Khan and Nathoo Solanki, as well as her longstanding accomplices French Cellist Vincent Segal and Producer/Guitarist Sam Mills. What came out was a sound that was unique and enjoyable. Give this a try, and recollect if something like this was attempted anytime in the recent past.

  1. Abdullah Qureshi’s medley – You can check this out here – Pakistan is brimming with musical talent and range, this isn’t news anymore. While it is easy for anyone to hold guitar and pay ‘tribute’ to any song in their own way, Abdullah chose all the popular songs in this piece and boy did he do a good job! In spite of my generously lacking abilities to ‘gauge the correctness of a song, cross referencing it with ragas and western symphonies with a middle eastern bias thrown in’, I couldn’t for the life of me find a single instance where Qureshi went wrong in this song. Check it out!

  1. Paban Das Baul – I wanted to write and introduce you to the music of honey gatherers, which for some reason doesnt show up as ‘play enabled’ in youtube, but you can hear it here. Again, recommended by a close friend earlier this year,  it’s a pity it took me (not fightclub, but me personally) such a long time to discover his genius. Give this also a try

  1. Sher Khan – Pathans are cute and to further this point in a unique style, Ahmed Siddiq gave us a song that made us strum the air guitar and laugh in equal measure.  Check it out here – how cool is the guitar!

  1. Rudoh – With so much of Ghazal-sque, sufi and fusion coming out of Pakistan, it took us a lot of ‘hits’ to Rudoh’s (Real name – Humayun) soundcloud page to convince ourselves of his sound. Rudoh is contributing to the electro scene in Pakistan and while I am not the greatest admirer of the sound, I have been stuck on Highlands) for a fairly long time. Interesting sound, interesting times! Here.

  1. Asrar – Call it a sheer coincidence or God’s way of ensuring we didn’t judge a good artist just because he was subdued owing to a below par platform, much before Asrar made an underwhelming appearance on this year’s overproduced and nearly cacophonous Season of Coke Studio Pakistan, we heard a lot of his songs, and boy, were they good! Allow us to share just 3 out of the many songs of his

    1. Check out Allah he de ga (our absolute favorite!)

    2. Then check out Waris Shah

    3. And Boond boond and then one bonus…

    4.  And last – Jahan daikhoon

It really takes special talent to screw up such a good artist and in spite of the underwhelming presentation of Asrar in Coke Studio Pakistan this year, we hope he gets noticed (Bhatts, you listening?) a lot and we hear more from him.  (Don’t judge his songs by the quality of the videos)

  1. Sulk Station – As conceded above, I am terribly late at discovering some really cool ‘stuff’ (but then none of you recommended it either, so part blame on you too!). Sulk Station is band from Bangalore formed by Tanvi Rao and Rahul Giri,  whose sound is essentially electronic/trip-hop (to quote their website). In spite of not being too big a fan of ‘electronic’, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Bindiya and Take me home – seriously, good sound!

  1. Yaar Anmulle – Just look at the number of plays since the time it was uploaded in 2010 on youtube!  This is what I call a Punjabi ‘purani jeans’. Essentially a ‘boy song’ but the  insanely enjoyable video and super lyrics  make it a riot for anyone who likes to swing to old memories. Trust me, you don’t have to be a Punjabi to understand the song. I can say that because I am not a Punjabi! Just see the video once and you will know what I mean!  Sharry Mann, you da man!

So what sounds did you discover this year? Let us know in the comments section and enlighten our soul.


  1. Akshay says:

    I think one of my greatest discoveries this year was Humera Channa. What an absolutely lovely voice! Eagerly waiting for more music from her.

  2. hadi says:

    amazing music …all of it ..loved every track ..btw ..What Colour Is Your Raindrop by
    Tajdar Junaid features in any of your previous lists ??yadon ki pari is my personal favorite , thanks for this🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    May be you should try Maati Bani. They are producing good music in collaboration with artists from other countries

    • Rohwit says:

      I have just liked one of their song titled balmaa and nothing else. I don’t speak for the blog but I find the excessive need to prove some point in their stuff.

  4. Duke says:

    talal qureshi(much better than rudoh), Jimmy Khan though he is still a 1hitWonder.. but Yaar Anmulle?? Rohit sir speed records Youtube stream should be required listening for u this year so that u dont “discover classics” next year.. also this was the best rap i heard all this year

  5. Check out ‘Boom Boom’ from Nescafe Basement. Joy!
    Thank you for link to the Rohail Hyatt tracks!

  6. Brilliant list !!! You are a genius

  7. […] jalebi (Phantom) – Asrar is amazing as we have already mentioned so earlier and this year he took the ‘dhaasu‘ film dance song to another level with this beater […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s