Archive for the ‘Music Recco’ Category

There was a lot of buzz this year about Coke Studio 10, much before even the first teaser came out, and till then that was my only grouse. I will save my angry rants about the season as a whole here, and leave you with our favourite picks from 28 songs that were aired this season in 7 episodes. Click on the playlist embedded below to play the songs as you read the post.

You can read our Coke Studio Season 8 round up here and  Season 9 roundup here.

Ranjish hi sahi – Ali Sethi should sing all the old classics that we have come to love and live with. Even though this rendition was hurried at some places for ghazal purists, the velvet-ness of Ali’s vocals rubbed on the listener and reminded us of well paced out ghazals where lyrics and not hashtags were celebrated. That Ali Sethi is probably the best contemporary singer from across the border these days isn’t ‘overdoing’ it. It’s just a fact. Jaffer Zaidi is probably the only musician who is keeping Coke Studio Pakistan’s legacy of good music with subtle presentation and production alive post-season 6.

Cha rahi kali ghata – A beautiful song composed by Sahir Ali Bagga that gave us a flavour of old times when a raga based song would be melodiously rattled by a contemporary tune in between and touch our hearts. Hina Nasrullah and Amanat Ali were top class, and the moment that took my  breath away was at 4:04 mins when Amanat got into the skin of ghazal gayaki…what a beautiful beautiful song! Thanks to good people in Youtube comment section, I have come across some real good work by Hina Nasrullah. Do google her.

Faasle – A simple heartbreaking duet that played within its zone and didn’t let too many instruments get in the way of expressing hurt. Kaavish and Quratulain Balouch gave us too many reasons to play this on repeat. Jaffer Zaidi has a voice that is a balm on the senses and when he wished well to his beloved with devastatingly helpless yet beautiful words (penned by him incidentally), it was a delight. Quratulain Balouch, who finally got  a lot of real estate this season to display her brilliance, was equally melancholic and melodious. Easily, the most underrated and under appreciated song of this season. Watch how they ended this song…jaa haha hu main…jaa rahi hu main...c’est magnifique!

Tinak din na – I am penning this post on 22 September and I still cannot understand what did Waqar ehsin  bring to the song. Ali Hamza got the solid anchor role whereas Ali Sethi glided the way only he can. Waqar was more a spanner in the works than anything else. Perhaps Ali Noor would have been a better choice. Watch Waqar lose the sense of tune at  4:11 in the song. Still, the sheer energy of Ali Hamza and Ali Sethi is enough to hear this song on repeat. I have never disliked them but there was absolutely no need for the backup vocals in the song as well. A good song that is good in spite of the back up vocals, pointless detours in the composition in between and Waqar.

Laal Meri pat A song that took me back to Rohail Hyatt days barely a second in the song. Akbar Ali (with his alaaps to die for) and the voice of God Arieb Azhar introduced the song. Quratulain Balouch’s voice provided the perfect rooting to the song. This is what old Coke Studio Pakistan fanatics would call psychedelic-meets-traditional, a brilliant brilliant song. I love the way Strings structured the song with terrific humnavas. Leaving the predictable, famous hook of the song and creating a new high point is a job that is too difficult and risky when you are tackling a generation defining song. They got it right, alright!

Naina moray –  Years ago, I came across this timeless composition for the first time in the voice of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali khan sahab. Akbar ali is the discovery of the season for me and unsurprisingly here as well he shapes the entire song around his powerful gayaki. Yes, there is a terrific Zaki with axe in the song as well. I am somehow getting a bit tired of excessive murki filled gayaki of Javed Bashir though. It kills the mood and creates unnecessary intensity in song that don’t need it. Still, a powerful song.

Ghoom taanaSalman ahmed along with kick-ass Irteassh and talented Momina re-created the magic of this song and it sounded pretty good. Unlike the horrible Sayonee this season, Salman got the singer selection right this time round and apart from the ‘rattle and creaking’ production sound that is signature Strings, the song stood tall and made a smashing statement of hope. We could do with hope in these times.

Katay na katay – Ali Hamza gave us this cracker of the song with loads of help from Aima Baig, Rachel Viccaji and Humera arshad. I loved the energy and the melody this fusion oozed. Let’s try and think one Indian song we heard in unplugged, Coke Studio@MTV, blah-blu studios etc that comes close to the experiment of  3 super talented girls bringing the house down like this? Lastly, the tarana by Ali Hamza towards the end…stunning!

Tera naam – There is a saying in Pakistan music circle that loosely goes like – ‘Whatever you think is possible in music, Sajjad ali has already sung it’. With this song, Sajjad quietly re-affirms that position. In Coke Studio itself, barring few songs which I haven’t mentioned here, we have seen Sajjad ali give us a magnificent rang lagaa soulful Tum naraaz hoa tongue in cheek kir kir kiran insanely enjoyable suth  gana and all that was remaining was a beautiful love song…and here it is! The tune, the presentation, the sound and those lovely humnavas, everything just perfect.

That’s it for season 10 of Coke Studio Pakistan. If you want to read episode by episode review, you can click the link on the contributor’s name below. Do share with us your favourites.

– Rohit

So the film releases on 4th August and there is still no clarity on how many songs are there, and when will they release, just like what happened with Aye Dil Hai Mushkil music last year. My review went live on the day the film released if I am right. One of the things (call it old world ridiculousness) that I personally believe is that the music review shouldn’t go online on the day the film releases. That is the reason I pushed the editors of fightclub to make this review go live. I have also been off all social media platforms so I may have missed the tweets or systematic leaking of info about songs. After I posted the review, a kind soul pointed out that there are few more songs in the album for sure. But nobody knows when it will be out. As and when, and if at all they release, I will update the post accordingly.

One of the things you have to do when you review film music is to review almost every film album, and when you summarize the year, you get a real picture of the music scene – which is presently a device for caller tunes, among other things. Singers are called hot and auto-tune equipment is probably going to be credited as a valid artist sooner than all of us expect. It has become a routine to hear the ‘once-popular’ songs remixed and served usually to us in disgusting and shrill avatar. Not every routine is good. This particular routine reminds me of the uncle who used to punch me on my back really hard. It was as if he liked to hear me yelp – every time he used to come home. Every. Time.

Since last 3 years that I have been reviewing music for BBC, I have never witnessed such scarcity of fresh, not-a-remix-of-an-old-song, foot tapping madcap craziness in Hindi film albums. Radha arrives and breaks this unfortunate spell. Shahid Mallaya and Sunidhi Chauhan – a delicious combination on their good days make it impossible for us to not break into a dance (in metro, washrooms, during meetings, at dinner table, on dining table, during a corporate/personal dinner/lunch, to name few of real life situations where all this has already happened with the writer). Irshad Kamil, when not under pressure to invite bulla to come to his house and give him a hug kass ke, kicks ass with his pen (what a site to imagine, right?). Say what you will about the man, Pritam doesn’t try to turn the sound of a film album based on the compulsions of his ‘unused tunes’ folder. You hear radha and you couldn’t care less who has composed the music, because you are busy with the song and when that happens, music director has already won. There are way too many high points in one song here. Be it the moment you hear both singers together go ‘main bani teri/tu bani meri radha’, or that magnificent change of scale towards the end, this is way too much crazy tapped in one song. A monsoon shower of a song. Hello Pritam! Mwaaah! (This is a chumma).

There is a remix of Radha by DJ Shilpi Sharma and it even has variation in lyrics and structure (like almost all the remixes in the  album). Oh and by the way, do hear the Arabic, Telugu and Tamil versions of this as well to know exactly why Sunidhi Chauhan is a Goddess. No One can match her. Period.

Beech beech mein has a uniform disco mood that doesn’t bother me much and that’s my only problem with an otherwise decent song. I might not forward the song when it comes on screen but I won’t go looking for it. May be because it is a bit too decently arranged and composed. On the other hand, the remix of this by Lady Bee is the one that does it for me. Loved it!

Safar is a song that has a ‘Gulzar-Vishal-sque-evening-song-meets-raabta-night-in-motel vibe’. A disheveled character, walking, with no aim, no destination, and one who is not particularly remorseful for that. In my books, this would be one of the best songs by Arijit ever. Pay attention to a ghazal like repeat of ‘Jaana-maaine…’ in between, a first for me in a film song. It seems like Pritam saves his best songs for Arijit. Yet again, Irshad Kamil shines using simple words but what a context! Beautiful!

Butterfly is a regular Punjabi song and for some reason, Nooran sisters sound too hurried and excessive-soulful-per-square-feet. I missed Sonu Nigam in the song, I don’t know why. Aaman Trikha, Dev Negi and Sunidhi Chauhan are good. I LOVE the double flute in the song. Is it a good song? May be. Will I listen to this again? Nope!

There is a charm in Hawayein that we all like in a film song, be it Arijit Singh who suddenly becomes very present in the song or those blessed aching words by Irshad Kamil.  There is a drama loving, bollywood romantic in everyone. Karan Johar and his team brought that part out in the open with channa mereya, and with Hawayein, Team Imtiaz makes that part of us weep inconsolably. I doubt if visuals can match the beautiful sadness of this lovely composition. The tune is almost instructive in what to expect – Bring on the slow motions and quietly reach out for those tissues people, all while humming – hawaayein hawaayein…Yes, we are all mad. Also, Arijit singh, never stop please. There is a film version of hawayeiṅ and it sounds more spaced out and intimate – arrangement wise but it gets in Arijit’s way. He is more devastating in the first version and that’s why  my heart beats for the previous version more rhythmically. 

ParindaPradeep Sran is a star to put it mildly and Pritam-Irshad Kamil have given a perfect platform to Sran where he could soar, and soar he does. I am still confused who is a winner in the song. Jeene na ab degi, mahi di laparawahi. That fantastic drum set and guitar combo is breathtaking. A song for broken hearts with tonnes of Pizzaz. The search version of this song has Tochi Raina crooning in his familiar zone effortlessly and may be that’s why he ticks the ‘heard before’ box but I would pick Pradeep Sran’s earthy voice over Tochi’s voice for this song. That said, Nikhil D’Souza’s portion is plain superb! 

Gharkhali hai jo tere bina, main wo ghar hu tera ghoomey phire tu chaahe sab sheher, tu hai mera. Nikita gandhi gives this song so much pain, its infectious and will make you sad. It will mock the void in your soul and some of you would be amazed thinking how did the metaphor of your life get into a song? I love how Nikita is prominent yet always in background even when she is the only one singing. Imtiaz loves Mohit and we don’t dislike him either but here, the song belongs to Nikita. Hear her ‘intercept’ Mohit right before the song ends (at 3:12 mins), as if opening her hitherto unopened wounds, as if to make a point. It would take a long long time for to recover from this song. Art imitates life, did someone just say that?

Yaadoṅ meiṅJonita Gandhi is powerful and arrests your attention with her range barely seconds into the song. Mohammed  irfan attempts a pitch which is clearly new for him and even though I feel he is the most undervalued singer we have today, he seems more at ease on low notes which isn’t a crime. This is an intense song that gets ‘intensity’ right, perhaps that’s why I wont play it again. Mad props to Pritam for structuring the song the way he has. 

RaulaPagḍi ka rang bhi pink ho gaya. Diljit Dosanjh and Neeti mohan go through some interesting lyrics without much to take home to. The tune lacks sincerity and verve that you expect from an Imtiaz Ali brand punjabi song. It makes AṚ Rahman’s embarrassing Punjabi effort in highway sound like gold and that’s just awful. 

Jee ve SohaneyaNooran sisters scare me off late. You can almost imagine high notes and uncalled for aggression in simple songs. Thankfully, barring some mid antra alaaps, Nooran sisters don’t bother your senses much by clouding lyrics with excessive vocal circus. A song that aimed for Lambi Judai pathos, but doesn’t get close enough. Still, a good effort.

PhurrCringeworthy lyrics sung by a somewhat studio-sque Mohit Chauhan aside, the vibe of phurr is pretty dubstep-ey and breezy. The song is clearly a way to place the song in the minds of Amreekan/bidesi junta so that they can throng theatres. It ends too soon and to me, it sounds more like a strategic afterthought than anything else. There is a lot of forced pizaaaz with Bollywood tukbandi which doesn’t work whenever you hear Mohit’s part.  Being touted as the first song in hindi cinema to be put behind a paywall, I would buy the rest of the album twice than buying this once,  but then, we did buy the entire album all songs as ‘singles’ so that’s that! The film version sounds much better than the music video version because Tushar Joshi gets a larger play at things and honestly does a kickass job at it. 

In spite of having few ‘normal’ songs in Raula, jee ve sohneya, butterfly and beech beech mein, the album is a cracker because of the goodness of all the other songs including remixes! When 99% of film remixes these days are just ‘play-the-original-track-with-triple-jhankar-beats-and-add-few-scratches’, there is a clear effort in remixes of JHMS, and a big wolf whistle to Lady Bee and DJ Shilpi for that. Go ladies! I still cannot believe they took so MUCH time to release the songs and as I type this, album is still not available on iTunes. 

There is never a dull moment and the best part is it isn’t overwhelming either. You can stomp your feet and clap your hands in all the songs, with varied pace and trust me, it won’t feel awkward. Albums like JHMS are a ray of hope that all is not lost when a typical commercial film decides to include music for melody and not just for caller tunes and shitty tribute videos. Irshad Kamil, Pritam and the entire team is on fire, and this man Arijit Singh is raising the bar, one good song at a time. Dear Arijit, you are allowed a million ‘mohabbat barsa dena‘ for songs like Safar and Hawayeiṅ

In the world of mainstream Hindi films of 2017 so far, JHMS has a sound and rhythm that is like a distinctive click of a top class stiletto on a eerily quiet subway. Imtiaz Ali knows what he is doing with music, and there cannot be a more solid testimonial to this fact than this wonderful, wonderful album. If only this blogpost could scream how much I love this album! 

My picks – Hawayeiṅ, hawayeiṅ, safar, radha, ghar, parinda, all remixes and repeat!

– Rohwit

The list might include some songs that some of us might have heard earlier. Pardon me for my late discovery. As the saying goes, a thing of beauty is joy forever. So here goes the playlist. If you want to read, then scroll down, else just play it and let us know what you think of it.

Dhafer Youssef is a Tunisian composer and after coming across his performance in Bombay (recorded by a dear friend and shared with me), I have been itching to tell the world about him. If you haven’t heard his earthy tunes, I suggest you head straight to his Youtube account. I have included a 4 year old clip in the playlist. Trust me, his work is much wider than what you will see in this playlist.

The sun won’t set (Anoushka Shankar – Norah Jones)Although the entire album (Traces of you) is brilliant, this song somehow did the trick for me. Norah Jones and Anoushka’s Sitar have such a musical symmetry to it. Ravi in Hindi means Sun. The song is an obvious tribute to their father and a classic one at that.

Bajre da sita (Neha Bhasin)Much before we came across her splendid version of jag ghumeya, Neha came out with this beautiful interpretation of a folk song. Easily one of the most promising voices we have today. Hats off to the light arrangement by Sameer Uddin as well.

Ismail Ka Urdu SheherIs a Sci-fi comic conceptualized by Zohaib Kazi. He penned and composed the music for his comic (yes! music for his comic) which was breathtakingly good to put it mildly. You can read our recco post on the same here. The album has artists like Sara Haider, Zoe Viccaji, Jaffer ali Zaidi, Omran shafique, Samra khan and Nida Khurram. Do pick this one up. Easily the find of the year. There is a distinct feeling of a free fall in what Zohaib does, and I love it! (Fun fact – The last song in the playlist is also composed by Zohaib and it came out 4 years ago. check it!).

AsWeKeepSearchingI am late to discover this band and even though we have put the link to their song called ‘tattva‘ (which came out in 2013), I strongly urge you to check their album titled Khwaab. The entire album is here. Search the song titled ‘Other side’ and melt away. We are looking at you people @Aswekeepsearching, give us more!

Ahesta bero (Ahmad Wali) – Essentially a wedding song. The understated singing and the simple 90s like arrangement of the song is heartwarming to say the least. Heart aches if you hear it and think about what has happened in that region.

Sunoh Shilpa Rao – While private albums aren’t topping the agenda of artists these days, it was heartening to see Kailash kher, Kaushiki Chakraborty, Javed Bashir, Monica Dogra (really?) and few others come out with theirs. I loved the mood of this album by Shilpa Rao, and in spite of the fact that my favorite song from the album (Ka karu sajni) doesn’t have a music video right now, the one you will see in the playlist is equally good.

Gerua/Kabira cover medley (Bryden-Parth feat. The choral riff) – Rarely have I come across a remix/re-imagined version of a song that can make the original pale in comparison. The simplicity of this mash-up made me love Gerua and Kabira.

Maya (Bipul Chhetri) – We are so happy we discovered his work sometime back and this year he gave us another stunner of an album. Do check his work out and you can buy his album from oklisten dot com.

Ae ri sakhi morey (Papon) –  In what would be yet another good album this year that was titled The story so far, Papon gave this ethereal tribute to a timeless composition in his own honey dipped style of singing. We loved it, hope you do so too!

Nawazishein  (Shuja Haider) – Discovered this song thanks to this season of Coke Studio Pakistan. Some found it terribly low on energy, some loved the helplessness in the singing. Depends which side of life you are when you play this, but do play this once, for no matter where you are, you might just end up humming Kaneezein hain…

Coke Sudio 9 – This year, Coke Studio Pakistan experimented with multiple composers and giving them company were disco lights that went haywire on their own will. It was a weak season but left us with some gems, like always. We have reviewed the season here and have included 4 best songs of the season in the playlist. Hear the soothing lullaby vocals of Ali, the reincarnation of a timeless classic by Momina and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, The rock solid combo of Saein Zahoor and Sanam Marvi, and the ever so moving Abida Parveen, who, according to me, sang the song of the season. Do check out the full playlist at the link above as well.

Tu mera nahi – Nescafe Basement (Xulfi) – Nescafe basement has been doing some really exciting work off late. Still this gem from season 4 leaves me teary eyed every time I listen to it. Great arrangement, killer flute, lovely execution and so much pain!

Mil ke baithenge + Vanjhali Wala – Angrej (Amrinder Gill) – Yes, I cry when I hear a good song and many a times it has nothing to do with lyrics. Here, however, whatever little I understood, made me waste more and more tissue papers. What a lovely composition. Hear it. Then, when i hear Vanjhali Wala, it makes me smile as it reminded me of a certain Coke studio (Pak) song that we have featured here. Delightful Amrinder!

Swahh bann ke – Punjab 1984 (Diljit Dosanjh) – Diljit Dosanjh has sensibilities that can outrun most thinking actors of today, and a voice that can melt stones. With this song, he politely pointed out that he is just not ‘bruaaaaah’ singer. Quite simply my favourite song from him, so far. Yes, it is a sad song. No, you don’t want to know the meaning of it, trust me on that.

Yad laglaSairat (Ajay Gogavle) – Well, to state the obvious, it doesn’t matter whether you listen to this song on V-Moda headphones or on a bad quality tweeter speaker, you cannot stop yourself from dancing. The sheer force of love and melody when combined sound exactly like this. We loved this album, as you can read here, but this remains the pick for me. Ajay-Atul, you sexy sexy people! :*

And that’s it.

Please let us know your picks and discoveries of the year. In addition to the non-bollywood playlist, we are also putting the ‘dinchak-playlist’ which might make you cringe but well, you might want to dance on it anyway. Wishing you a musical new year from all of us here @moifighclub!

Here goes the dinchak list, that contains my 2 favourite Hindi film themes from this year as well. Have fun!

– @Rohwit

adhm

This year was mostly dull, film songs wise. The clutter was celebrated by digging the same old formula to return a fake spectacle of sanitized arrangement, auto-tune overload, and, in most cases zero relevance to the film which the album represented. My ‘top film songs’ are as under. Yes, it features a song from a Sunny Leone film and another song from a film you might not have heard about. These songs remain in my playlist, till today as we close the year.

I would suggest you click the play button and then keep scrolling down to read the post. The songs will play in the sequence you will read about them.

Dug dugi dug (Jugni) Vishal bhardwaj‘s voice, Clinton‘s free flowing composition and Shellee‘s beautiful poetry, all made up for a fantastic song that lasted the whole year in spite of the fact that the film released in January. The album was quite ok but nothing lasted longer than Vishal’s balm of a voice in this song.

Dil mein hua ghotala (Saala Khadoos) – Now I am mindful that there is an ‘original’ of this song in another language, but I don’t think most songs retain their charm when they are reborn as a Hindi film song. Ok jaanu?  That said, the frisky vocals of Monali and the ‘toom toom’ in the song made it impossible for me to take the song off my playlist. Santosh Narayanan gets full marks for using strings which are intertwined beautifully in the song. Monali Thakur, sing more?

Haminastu (Fitoor) – Rarely have I come across a song so beautiful about Kashmir. Tapas’ superlative string play, Zeb‘s spirited singing and Amit Trivedi‘s talent culminated into a magnificent song that will outlast us all.

Bollywood Diaries* – I wish I could write a recco post about this beauty. Oh wait! I did! You can read me raving about the album here. Vipin Patwa‘s music and Dr. Sagar‘s lyrics were beautiful and devastating in equal measure. Hear Titli (By Papon), my pick of this album. It might have escaped your attention but tell me if it doesn’t affect you as a song, as an album. Highly recommended.

Single chal reya haiMohit chauhan got the bhopali accent right and Krsna‘s composition made the song even more adorable. I do suspect that the lyricist Rajshekhar has paid a tribute to Javed Akhtar by mentioning him, subtly. Anyway, the cute song’s high point is – Tu hai ab tak akeli, humko khal reya hai…ha! what fun!

Le chala (One Night Stand) – Jeet Ganguli can melt us with his romantic tune is old news. For One Night Stand (the film), he teamed up with Jubin Nautiyal for a song that deserved much wider audience than it got. This is one of the better penned songs by Manoj Muntashir and even if you are rolling eyes thinking ‘Sunny Leone’s film? really?’, give this song a listen, you will know what I mean. A romantic song, done right.

Waiting* – Mike Mccleary is much more than someone who makes ‘English-type’ songs. He has a distinctive sound and it is time for the ‘gyaani’ mainstream people to fuse his sound with good lyrics. The effect of that would be something to look forward to, just like it was in this album. My pick is tu hai to main hu, of course.

Mehandi (Dhanak) – While the album didn’t set my playlist on fire, this song from Dhanak rocked and how! Tapas Relia‘s earthy fusion and raw singing by Anwar, Swaroop & Niyaz sounded just too good to miss. Do not miss the khadtal all throughout! This is just a glimpse of what we can achieve in bollywood music if our neeyat is at right place.

Udta Punjab* – This album by Amit Trivedi didn’t soar exactly but gave us the delightful Kanika Kapoor in memorable da da dasse, Splendid re-imagination of ik kudi, and my favorite title song of the year – Udta Punjab. Disclaimer – Now the lyricist is somewhat related to our blog, but trust me when I say this – Haven’t heard such wildness in a song this year. Andar da kutta, rifle dikha ke mushayre lutiye forever! Also, fuck disclaimers! Amit trivedi and Vishal dadlani should be fined for sounding this good with a song that has Bakaiti written all over it.

Jag Ghoomeya  (Sultan) – Salman, err! Sultan had some decent tunes to its credit but Neha Bhasin’s affectionately sung version stole my heart and hid it somewhere in those strings that accompany her throughout the song. A song for bonfires and those mushy evenings. Kudos to Vishal-Shekhar and Irshad Kamil as well.

Chu liya (Hai Apna Dil Toh Awara) – We don’t come across such simply composed songs anymore. So kudos to Ajay Singha for creating this song. Papon and Neha Rajpal sound like fragile lovers. (Fun fact – The central riff of this song is pretty similar to Bipul Chettri‘s asaan from the album that we featured here 2 years ago. Still it is a damn good song.)

Mirzya* – If only music could save the fate of a film! I was quick to pronounce Mirzya as the album of the year in my post here and it pretty much remained so till someone else invaded the playlist. More on that later. Mirzya, if not the best, can be surely called as the most experimental album of the year. We have included the title song of the film in the playlist but the entire album remains our favorite.

Dariya (Baar Baar Dekho) – Granted that the song is a case study in excessive auto-tuning, still, I love the way Arko has retained the emotion so well in lyrics and the way he has sang this. Hopelessly in love, flowing like a dariya.

Besabriyan (MSDhoni – The Untold Story) – Amaal- Armaan Malik are good guys but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find out which song of theirs belongs to which album. Still, this gem from ‘Dhoni’ makes me soar the way Udaan‘s music did. Yes, big statement, but Manoj Muntashir has penned a beauty and full marks to Amaal and Armaan for such a fabulous effort.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil* – For me, the album of the year. For me, the album that should get Amitabh Bhattacharya and Pritam all the awards. The way songs came together and helped the narrative was unparalleled this year. Channa mereya is where I have been living since I heard it for the first time, I don’t think I will ever relocate from there. It has a destructive pleasure that lucky few among us have experienced. Give all the awards to Arijit Singh already!

Haanikaarak bapu (Dangal) – While I love Raftaar‘s Dhaakad a lot, I go crazy at the smart lyrics and crisp presentation of this song. Sarwar Khan & Sartaz Khan Barna are such a treat! Also, Amitabh Bhattacharya should be weighed in gold for every word, and the way he has used them here – haanikarak, baapu, torchar, vaahanchalak, mogambo, khalnayak…wooot! Total riot.

This does it! Yes, this year had Mr. Rahman coming out with an inconsequential album that neither sounded true to its time nor the present. This year also had Neerja which fit the film well but sadly didn’t stay in my playlist beyond the film’s release and stay in theaters. We had almost Sanam Re which was almost instructive in telling us not to expect much from the songs as it is. Then we had embarrassing attempts like Zubaan, Terra Surrooor, Fever and so on.

That said, we have a ‘Dhinchak Bollywood’ playlist as well that we will share in our post about the non-film songs of the year. Till then, share your favorites and let us know what you think of this playlist.

Rohwit

(* signifies that I liked the entire album but in the interest of keeping the post shorter than an Ashutosh Gowarikar film, I had to pick one song)

Best Of Coke Studio-9 : Round-Up + Playlist

Posted: September 28, 2016 by moifightclub in music, Music Recco, Music review
Tags: ,

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Coke Studio 9 has come to an end. The experiment of bringing six music directors (while Strings remained Producers) was presented a bit differently than the Indian version. Here, we bombard a music director’s entire set at one go. Pakistan version composed an episode with a single song from every composer. In the order in which the songs appeared, here goes the list of my favourite tracks from this season.

Scroll down to the end of the post for the youtube playlist. So this is the way we do it – start the playlist, listen to the songs and then start reading the post.

Jaanay na tu – To me, this remains one of the best songs I came across this year and not just in Coke Studio. There is not a single fault a nit picker like me could find. The sincerity of Ali Khan is matched by a tune that changes towards the end and with such subtlety that you would probably not notice it at all. It infects you nevertheless. I loved the texture of Ali’s voice and the range that he explored. Not every song needs to bring the house down, some can lull you to sleep with a smile on your lips. This one, does just that.

Aafreen aafreen – Re-imagining classics is something that CS-Pakistan does rather well. So when they picked up this song and turned the tune by its head, it didn’t please a lot of people.I have a theory that if you cannot play and manipulate ‘classics’, then they would never be explored by the current generation who is rightfully bent on better acoustics and ‘clear’ sound. So when Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Momina sat down with a soothing guitar by the side and an ethereal tune for company, it sounded good. The ganpati pandal right next to my apartment was playing this non-stop. Now, ask yourself, would they have played the original (which remains a classic and my absolute favorite) with such fervour? Oh, and too much respect for Javed Akhtar sahab. You listen to this alone and you blush, what a feat to achieve, sir. Thank you, for the song!

Maula-e-kullThe powerful voice of Abida Parveen is best left with minimal arrangement so that we can all connect with ourselves in her characteristic long taans and powerful rendition. That is exactly what Shani Arshad cleverly did here. With a running time of approx. 10 minutes, you are guaranteed to be transported in the space where only the supreme devotion exists, i swear I was in that space. I strongly urge you to explore this and wait till the song changes its pace, it will sit in you ‘run’ playlist, I bet. My pick of the season.

Khaki Banda –  This power packed song by Umair and Ahmed Jehanzeb pretty much did its job well. The lyrics were sharp, piercing and a commentary on the state of us humans that hasn’t changed since ages. Just listen to Ahmed towards the end (karda phirey part) and then quietly go and listen to this song which he sang long time back that pretty much besotted all of us. The man has got range and sur.

Dilruba na raziWhat’s a Coke Studio season without a good Pashtu fused song? While I did have issues with the arrangement, Zeb’s beautiful singing and Faakhir’s energy ensured I start swaying even though I was frowning. What can you do when Ustad Tanweer is hell bent on getting us all dance-y? Super effort!

Ala baali – Fantastic percussions are a given with CS-Pakistan. This season, however, it was a task to keep the sound from overpowering the vocals. Nirmal Roy and Jabar Abbas were clearly audible and were amazing to say the least. Doesn’t Jabbar sound like a soothing Sukhwinder? That ‘habibi’ vibe was tantalising and the Bulleh shah part grows on you as well, a pretty pretty song!

Aaya lariye – Granted that this song is quite distracting with lighting all over the place. Still, I picked this one up because it touches an oft ignored genre. Rufi was superlative and Meesha was naughty, and God those ‘jijja’ calls were infectious! The brass band (from M-Audio keyboard) played a key part in lending a celebratory character to the song.

Shamaan pai gaiyaan/kee dam da bharosa – Kashif, who is the runner up of Pakistani Idol  2013, has a voice that is soothing, and thankfully the song he was given exploits this trait very well. When he goes ‘haar ke baye gaiyyan’, he means it because it pinches your heart as well. That said, Rachel enters like a diva with a call that is measured, painful and malicious. Don’t miss the way Rachel swoops in at 5:24 in the song along with the electrical guitar and changes the mood of the song. Pain, Malice and Melody…perfectly mixed.

Main rastaThe only song of Noori in the list and the one that wasn’t trying too hard to be everything to everyone. I absolutely loved the funk of the song and the way entire house came around was a treat to see and hear. Junaid has a natural ‘chest’ voice and he uses it well and Momina, well she was quite good here as well.

Lagi bina/Chal mele nu chaliyeThere are artists that made us Indians sit up and take notice of Coke Studio Pakistan. Saein Zahoor and Sanam Marvi top that list. This soulful song saw both of them collaborate and boy did it work! We hear songs where they say Bulleh Shah danced, I think Bulleh Shah danced because he heard Zahoor sing. Do check this one out!

Nawazishein/Tera wo pyarWhen Shuja Haider fused his two songs (which you can hear here and here) asking Asim and Momina to do the honors, we got a soulful romantic song that might be accused of being too mushy, but hey! If we can hear a ‘typical one sided lover song from Bhatts’ filmed on Ranbir Kapoor and go all weak in the knees, this one deserves a listen and a repeat one at that. The string section of this song is where magic happens in addition to pretty much everything that contributed to the song.

Tu Kuja mann kujaIn this remarkable song, we saw Rafaqat Ali Khan sahab with Shiraz Uppal and lovely humnawas sway us the way only pure devotion can. I think this was Shiraz’s best composition of the season.

Nimma nimmaSabir Zafar’s words are matched by the vulnerable vocals of Shani Arshad, who has also composed this song. With Coke Studio-Pakistan, touching varied genres are a given and this one is a call to mother and a very melodious one at that.

Rang – Amjad Sabri’s last outing that was complimented exquisitely by Rahat Fateh ali khan and humnawas. The highlight would always remain the ‘allah’ call by Sabri that used to be a Sabri signature in their days.

Observations  – Somehow, I got a feeling that everyone was trying too hard to give it all. Hire an exotic instrument, get a good singer, and let us all do this together. The cohesive sound was totally missing from this season and after a stellar season 8, it hurt a lot. That and those distracting lights. If you hire a group of chimpanzees and give them laser pointers, they would do a better job than what studio did this time round. It *is* important because Coke Studio is as much a video property as audio. So spare me ‘focus-on-music’ argument. Look at how the studio evolved from season 1 (where one could see cameraman running all over) and you would understand how the visual theatrics were never a part of the studio’s presentation. Subtlety has been forcefully evicted. Noori was probably overwhelmed by the opportunity and wanted to reinforce their presence in almost every song that was given to them. It was quite distracting and put me off. I loved paar channa de but the way Noori made a mess of the song towards the end put me off and it remained a song that you would love humming, but would just like to see it getting over when you hear the Coke Studio Version. Ali Sethi was given just one song, that is wrong on so many levels!

Applause – The biggest plus was the new backup vocalists and we saw them being put to good use. In fact, one of the reasons of picking nimma nimma was the way Shahab Hussain participated in the song, enveloping the feel so well. Hussain was one of the backup vocalists of the season. Also, I absolutely loved the house-band and guest musicians. It was so nice to see Amir Azhar make a return after we saw him in this song, years ago in the studio. Javed Iqbal sahib was the ‘head’ of string section, and boy, did he make his presence felt! We also liked the varied genres the studio touched, ranging from a  call to the mother, a lover taunting her innocent better half,  to a marriage dance song done just right. All the singers were top class, to say the least. 

Looking ahead – We don’t know what Rohail Hyatt is doing these days but he really needs to be engaged again because the overall vibe of the season wasn’t promising at all. Granted that Strings were splendid in season 8 but they have managed 3 seasons so far and all we remember is  just one out of that.  The cohesive sound, subtlety and experiments Rohail did are sorely missing.

Let us know your favourites!

– Rohwit 

(ps- you can find individual episode reviews on my blog – Almostareview.wordpress.com)

I heard about the tale of Saheba and Mirza for the first time, in my favorite song from Jab Tak Hai Haan – Heer. Guess who wrote that. Now, If the first name they splash on the screen is Gulzar’s, you know the makers are serious about their sh*t. The music of Mirzya is out and while I try hard to keep myself equanimous, pardon me if my feelings jump out of the keyboard and infect you with some enthusiasm and drunken stupor. Read on!

Mirzya

The album contains 15 songs and some are in the form of less than a minute of powerful recitations – composed and voiced by Daler Mehndi. What is clearly a storytelling technique, in these tracks, not only you understand the character, you get a feel of particular situations as well. Take the Yeh wadiyan for example,  the track is screaming ‘flashback flashback!’ But even then you would want to play it again. We get these lines in the title song as well.  In Mirza se darre and Mera mirza sher, the way Daler Mehndi soars, you will have goosebumps, the fearlessness of youth in two lines. What attitude! In Lahoo luhaan – Daler slightly errs in the beginning but paints the gory detail about a bloody fight that went on till the fighter started losing his ‘havaas’.  Even if Punjabi is not your language, fear not – it will make you soar nevertheless because Mehndi does NOT falter in Puchh na pende or Phaa paye nain fact, in the latter, hear how resigned is Daler when he says – Tu phir na jammi, Mirjiya. You feel the pain, you lose hope along with the singer. He has already won. Now, on to the songs of the album..

  • Mirzya – Sain Zahoor does what Sain Zahoor does. He sweeps you off your feet and S.E.L. bombard you with perhaps the most vibrant track of the album. There is a goosebumps gooseFOREST inducing Akhtar Chanal Zahiri as well and if this wasn’t enough, we get the ever so dependable Nooran Sisters and Daler mehndi jazzing things up and all this under 4 minutes. I kid you not, I couldn’t go beyond this track for a while. A bombastic start to the album!
  • Teen Gawaah Hain – Notwithstanding the earthy beginning of the song where we hear Sain Zahoor calling out, the tune of this love ballad reminded me of ‘mere mann ye bata de tu’ from KANK. Having said that, it’s what young love sounds like. A playful guitar stealing a glance while the constant pace eases your mind, making everything dreamy and slow. In antra, hear how Siddhartha leaves the last word of the first line, making you feel his passion. Listen to his ‘khol’ in the line ‘aasman khol ke dekhne do’ and you will know what I mean. A pretty pretty song! (I kept thinking the back up vocalists will break into ‘love will find a way’)
  • Chakora – God only knows why I wanted to talk to my dealer the moment this song started. It is comforting to see Bollywood waking up to Akhtar Chanal Zahiri, and not only that, using him well! Add some trippy beats to his recital or perhaps overlap him while someone is singing and you would probably want to make love to a joint near you. Mame Khan and Suchismita Das lend the ‘bollywood folk’ feel to the tune in their own cute style. Stunning song!
  • Aave re hichki – The opening 37 odd seconds of Esraj (or sarangi), is a class act by S.E.L., not to say that the song isn’t good otherwise. The song has fuses a bit of dervish-like sound on a simple free flowing tune. A minor grouse – You don’t go ‘hitchhh’ when you get ‘hichki’, you go ‘hikkk’. Clearly, Gulzar sahab wasn’t present in the recording.
  • Hota hai – I am sure it is just me but a ‘tun tuna’ start from Nooran Sisters put me off…and then I heard Sain Zahoor and Akhtar Chanal Zahiri (ACZ) together and it all made sense. The fantastic beat pattern of the song that stops to accommodate Sarangi and meets ACZ’s solid voice is to be heard to be believed. In addition to these powerhouses, I absolutely loved Shankar Mahadevan’s voice towards the end. For the uninitiated, please do check out Sain Zahoor and Akhtar Chanal Zahiri independently as well. They have brought studios down across the border. The brute force in the song makes you want to break the law, do the impossible and be weirdly proud of it all. A fantastic song by all means and well, I changed my mind. The ‘tun tuna’ is not all that bad afteral…..TRAAA!
  • Ek nadi thee – Thank God someone gave K. Mohan a tune that is not very ‘K Mohan’ if you know what I mean. All his songs have been sounding similar to me lately. This one is a glorious exception. Intimate claps and a bonfire like improv singing (of course with sexy strings) has made this quite a different song from the usual ‘unplugged and reprise’ like songs we come across.
  • Doli re doli – Who in their right mind would do a babul song with a slow jazz like treatment? S.E.L. did it here and boy, does it sound delicious. It has me conflicted whether I am supposed to be sad or happy, and I love the song for that. Clearly an example of what S.E.L. can achieve if the makers are willing to let them be.
  • Kaaga – It is a fine feeling when you see the artists you have been rooting for since long, go ‘mainstream’. I shrieked like a teenager when I heard Sain Zahoor and Akhtar Chanal Zahiri and here in kaaga, we hear the flawless Kaushiki Chakraborty with breathtaking strings and brass! The sound towards the end of the track can be so easily mistaken for a ‘superhero climax theme’. That said, I wish there is a longer version of this song hiding somewhere because it would be soul satisfying, just like this one is.
  • Mirziya theme – I might not reach out to the theme to play it again and again but I blame songs of the album for that. You are too consumed by the time you reach this track. It fills the album well, is no ‘Udaan theme’ by any measure, but is still good. Sarangi and flute. Enough said.

Most of the film music albums this year have been remarkably impervious to the flow of creativity and freshness. If this album makes you want to stop everyone, and make them listen to this, don’t worry, You are not acting strange. Mirzya’s music is *the* real thing and not an oddity in template infested bollywood that requires quotes around it as if it was a strange thing. I don’t know how the film would be, I don’t care how the film would be. I am just celebrating what would easily be the film music album of the year. This is what fundamentally good things sound like. Hear Hear!!

I wish there was an option to buy an album twice on iTunes!

Rohwit

(PS – To give credit where it’s due, I absolutely love T-series for including the artist credits in the jukebox link. You can access it here)

Ever since the Sairat jukebox has hit YouTube, music aficionados can’t seem to rave enough about the duo for an outstanding soundtrack. And both of them truly deserve all the praise that they are getting. What marks Ajay-Atul (henceforth, A-A) distinct from rest of the Marathi composers is their ability to bring fresh sounds in Marathi music consistently.

Sairat seems to have taken them to new heights of popularity, noticeably among the non-Marathi crowd. This post is my tribute to both of them, whose music I have followed since 2002, even before they made it big in Marathi.

A-A became a household name with their song  Man Udhaan Varyache, from the film ‘Aga Bai Arrechya!’ The entire soundtrack was topnotch and something that Marathi music hadn’t heard before. Man Udhaan was the Roja moment for Marathi music scene. Since then, they have produced some amazing soundtracks in Marathi (and I am a bit put off by their Hindi songs). This is my list of must listen Ajay Atul songs that will give listeners an idea of the range of genres and styles that A-A have worked with. The songs are listed in no particular order.

(all songs hyperlinked. click on the titles, will open in new window)

Ajat Atul

Kunjavanachi Sundar Rani (Aga Bai Arrechya, 2004) – This song is a historic tribute to Marathi film music, that traces its evolution from the early B&W days to 90s. The first section is a tribute to early days of Prabhat films. The second section moves to the next phase in Black and White era of Marathi films, which distinctly reminds of the era made popular by actors like the iconic Jayshree Gadkar. The third is perhaps a tribute to the then neo-color era that had a lot of OP Nayyar-ish sound. Next the song moves into the Dada Kondake era, where double meaning songs and comedy ruled the Marathi cinema industry. The last section is a definite reminder of the era of Marathi cinema that was ruled by Laxmikant Berde and Ashok Saraf.

Khel Mandala (Natrang – 2010) – Listen to this for Ajay’s soul stirring voice. Actually, the entire Natrang OST was a musical masterpiece and a must listen for those who want to get glimpse of Tamasha styled Marathi music. This music was so famous once upon a time that in 80s and 90s, doing Tamasha based films had become a genre. Ajay, in an interview, recounted that during his struggle days, he used to sing as a chorus in Tamshas, also doing the high pitched voices for the effeminate male characters called the Nachyas. The protagonist of Natrang, Guna Kagalkar, was one such famous Nachya.

Lallati Bhandaar (Jogwa – 2010) – Again, playing in their familiar terrain of folk, Lallati Bhandaar was an iconic song, drawing influences from the Jogtin community, or the group of females in service of God in areas of Karnataka Maharashtra border. The other song from this was Jiv Rangala (sung by Hariharan and Shreya Ghoshal) and won A-A a national award.

Navari Ali (Tujhya Majhya Sausarala Ani Kay Hava – 2008) – Navari Ali is a wedding song that borrows influences from Gujarati folk repertoire. A-A used claps and an instrument called Daaka to give a unique texture for the rhythm used in this song. Also, do checkout Chang Bhala and Swarg Ha Nava from the same film.

Chimb Bhijlele (Bandh Premache – 2007) – A sweet romantic song sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Priti Kamath.

Ghe Sawarun (Ringa Ringa – 2010) – This another soul stirring song, sung by Sukhwinder Singh and reminds of the Punjabi folk song genre made popular by singers such as Surinder Kaur.

Cycle Ekki (Shock – 2006) – A perfect dance number by A-A from a telugu film Shock. The film was produced by RGV. RGV has been a great admirer of A-A and had said that though he is an atheist, listening to A-A’s album Vishwa Vinayakam made him feel like a devotee to almighty.

Malhar Vaari (Aga Bai Arechya – 2004) – Malhar Vaari is song based on the Gondhal singing tradition in Maharashtra. The Gondhal troupes are invited to perform during auspicious occasions like wedding.

Morya Morya (Uladhaal – 2008) – Perhaps the most famous song from Uladhaal and from overall Ajay-Atul repertoire, Morya Morya was the timely reminder that Ajay-Atul would rule the Marathi music scene with their eclectic sounds. This song was such an adrenaline booster! Also, listen to De Na Paisa, sung by Kunal Ganjawala, which is quite a departure from A-A’s usual style.

Kalabha (Vishwa Vinayaka – 2001) – People going crazy over the western symphonies that A-A have used must listen to the entire Vishwa Vinayaka soundtrack. This was A-A’s first commercial album and one which slowly surged to popularity. Their much loved song, Shree Ganeshay Dheemahi, which was later used in Viruddh was originally from this album.

Sajavun Sanj Ashi (Aata Ga Baya – 2001) – An acapella from Ajay Atul sung by Hariharan and Mahalaxmi Iyer.

Mauli Mauli (Lai Bhari – 2014) – The only song that stood apart in this otherwise mediocre album. If one has seen the ‘vaari’ or been a part of it, one can instantly relate to this song. Also, though it is the usual bhakti music genre, the rhythm pattern that Ajay Atul used in this song was quite a departure from the stereotypical bhakti songs in Marathi.

– Kaustubh Naik