The Non-Bollywood music post. Here we look at regional languages, foreign languages, desi music movements and much more. Anything that we came across this year (doesn’t have to be released this year) and wasn’t bollywood music-y. Our previous posts like this can be found here for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. In no particular order, here goes 2015 list!
- The year started with a bang with Bickram ghosh and Sonu nigam’s ‘The music room’. The album might not have been everyone’s cup of tea because it presented us with the familiar voice treated in an experimental manner. The music arrangement and presentation was splendid to say the least. In the days when people are making songs for getting Bollywood validation or ‘clicks’, an effort like this actually goes a long way in keeping our faith floating. Do hear Saiyyan bina and walida to know what I mean.
- Orfeo Band, Veera pandi tribute – I feel stupid in pointing out that the music of Thiruda Thiruda is in no need of being pointed out. It was the reason I converted to ARR-ism and continues to be one his best works. Now let us talk about the fabulous Orfeo Quintet. If you haven’t checked them out, now would be the right time to correct that mistake. All 5 musicians are a riot to see together and their Veera pandi Cover from Thiruda Thiruda will blow you away. They have kept the tease and the belligerence of the song intact and don’t blame yourself if this becomes a part of your gym playlist. Possibilities, possibilities…what a time to be alive!
- Ayub Ogada, Kothbiro – I don’t quite remember who recommended me this charming african song from the legendary Singer Ayub Ogada. A simple composition that is so enchanting it can lead an enemy to surrender and say sorry to you. A song I stumbled upon and I thank my music list for that. Don’t miss it!
- Senraan Ra Baairya – Naiharwa Redux – Am sure there is a good chance you have heard the timeless Bhajan of Sant Kabir titled ‘Naiharwa humka na bhaave’. If not then you must. Kumar Gandharva revived this and that lead to a lot of new age artists giving their interpretation to the same. Cut to – CokeStudio Pakistan. Rohail Hyatt took a marwari composition called Senran Baairya and swayed mountains with the free flowing composition which you can experience here. Now, Zoom in to the magician called Krish Ashok. If you don’t know him, trust me it is your loss. Check out his site here. What Krish Ashok did was marry these two songs that would make anyone happy and probably shed a tear or two. Do not miss the song. Oh and before I forget, the song has been effortlessly sung by @rvijaynarain. It can be found here since there is no youtube link.
- Mast hua by Asrar has a familiar tune but easy lyrics and an intimate music setting (including that brilliant harmonium throughout)that makes the song light on the senses and it won’t take more than one ‘play’ for you to have an opinion on the song. Super work! Main to aashiq hu logon mujhe doob ke jaana hai…Sounds familiar?
- Dil Dhadakne ka sabab by Shafqat amanat ali – Too many people have given their signature to this evergreen ghazal by Nasir Kazmi. While the video was a bit too much for me, this unplugged version by Shafqat is not at all bad to be included in your playlist. Give it a chance.
- Harpreet – For me, the most promising and relevant sound of the year came in the form of Harpreet. His album ‘Ajab ishq maati da’ had songs by known poets that were weaved into solid music and fused with energy so infectious, it can turn a normal listener into Harpreet’s brand ambassador. It didn’t come a surprise when YRF decided to pick a song from his album for the promotion of their film Titli. We hope his ‘film’ outings don’t dilute the purity that touched every listener of his album. Do check out ‘Nirala’, a song composed so well it would have made Shri Suryakant tripathi ‘Nirala’ proud. You can hear my review here, and read about this album here.
- Pyar bepanah – Any effort to keep ghazals recurring in our playlists should anyway be rewarded and talked about. Pyar bepanaah was an album that reminded us of the stillness that comes as a given in a typical ghazal. Penned by Meeta and sung by the fabulous Jazim Sharma, crediting this album for keeping ghazal as a genre relevant in 2015 is the easiest thing to do. Must check it out if you haven’t.
- Cokestudio at MTV Season 4 – This season of CokeStudio at MTV was not all that bad. While it came as no surprise that Ram Sampath’s episode was the best out of the lot (yet again!), Sachin Jigar’s Laadki was endearing and thankfully touched a new genre. ila Arun was as usual top class in her appearance in Nimoli. Ki Banu Duniya Da’ – Gurdas Maan feat. Diljit Dosanjh & Jatinder Shah is a song that CokeStudio at MTV should actually be proud of. What energy and singing! We are NOT using Gurdas Mann the way we should and how good is Diljit Doshanjh! Moner Manush by Anupam roy (Feat. Satyaki Banerjee & Babul Supriyo) also remains a favorite and will remain so for a long time thanks to the lavish treatment of the song. Till the last time I checked, the website of cokestudio at mtv wasn’t updated with these new episodes and these ‘episodes’ had a month or more gap between them. MTV is clearly disinterested in the brand and should probably transfer the same to lesser mortals to manage, trust me we would do a better job🙂 That said, thumbs up for this season of CokeStudio at MTV!
- Coke studio pakistan season 8 – Growing up, I had this habit of filling up one side of an audio cassette with just one song if I liked that song because ‘repeat’ wasn’t available as a feature then. If this season would have premiered then, I would have surely wasted a lot of cassettes filling separate ‘sides’ with one song. Everything was precise and praiseworthy – scale of presentation, the variety of genres, the melody…I could go on and on! I have included 3 songs in the playlist, the song of the season ‘Sakal bann’, the second best song of season ‘Rockstar’ and the yearning case study ‘Umran Lagiyaan’. If not already, then do explore the season 8, you have no idea how good it is. You can read our posts on the same here and here. Also, thanks to CokeStudio Pakistan, we came across 2 original songs which are mentioned as under
- Man ahmad em by googoosh – In a not so great tribute to this song, what CokeStudio Pakistan did nicely was to introduce people to the original song. Sung with disarming innocence, the song is infectious and you will find yourself smiling at the simple music video as well. Do check it out.
- Ae dil kisi ki yaad mein by Salim raza – I didn’t across this Pakistani song and when Ali Zafar and Sara haider paid a tribute to this, I couldn’t help but play this one on repeat. Don’t miss the fancy guitar play and the understated elegance of Raza. Beautiful!
- Idhar barq-e-tapaan rakhdi udhar barq-e-tapaan rakhdi – This ghazal by Roshan Ara Begum is going to be a balm for those who haven’t heard this before. Penned by seemaab akbarabadi and sung with her signature poise, this is the most played ghazal this year in yours truly’s playlist. Wohin kaaba sarak aaya, jabin maine jahan rakh di...
- Katiyar kalijaat ghusli – ‘Geet lubhavan yun man bhavan…jaise barse pehla sawan’ – this simple line from one of the songs from this marathi film album sums up the entire experience of coming across and later savouring this milestone of an album. While those words haven’t been invented that could pay right amount of gratitude to new age makers who are taking a risk of showcasing legends like Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki to audience, we tried to put our thoughts on the album here. Read that later but check out this magnificent album as soon as you can.
- Junun, the album – by Shye ben tzur, Jonny Greenwood and The Rajasthan express is a synthesis of myriad sounds, moods and moments. We couldn’t get enough of the album so we are recommending you to get some. You won’t regret swaying to the magnificent chala wahi des, mode or Hu for that matter (to name a few songs). An Album that your collection would be happy to include.
- Inayat by Ananthaal – Ananthaal came as an interesting collaboration between three extremely talented and promising artists – Bianca Gomes, VijayPrakash and Clinton Cerejo. Do hear their album and check out the ‘inayat’ song that we have included in the list. Efforts and coming together of artists like this is what we need to give the film music dominance a run for its money and in the process enriching listeners all over.
- Bass rani by nucleya – You either like nucleya’s sound or you don’t. if you are those experimental sorts, do check this album out. Electronica fused (?) with mischief and sticky loops would give you good company as you workout or when you just want to unwind.
- Baanwarey by medieval punditz is part of their 2015 released album ‘light’ and is done beautifully. Do not miss out the video because I feel it is that rare effort where equal attention was devoted in ensuring that video completes the song and not contradicts or ignores it. Not that Midival Punditz need anyone’s endorsement, but this album is filled with exciting earthy voices like Kutle Khan, Malini Awasthi, Baiju Dharmajan and Papon. An absolute ‘must have’!
- Five (arko) – A fairly new album that got released in November itself and truth be told we are still getting used to the experimental leaps of the album, but absolutely love its sound so far. It is an album by Arko Mukhaerjee and to quote the album ‘ It is about exploring Five folk music forms that has inspired Bengali traditional music over the last five decades, through five musical collaborations and presenting the songs in a modern contemporary organic soundscape of today’.
We hope you liked this longish post and more importantly the album and song recommendations here, Do let us know your favorite/finds. Here is hoping more and more independent voices throng the scene and the ‘legends’ don’t take themselves so seriously that they start taking listeners for granted.
Happy new year everyone!