Archive for the ‘songs & videos’ Category

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)

I started stopping everyone I know (and didn’t know) to make them listen to Coke Studio Pakistan about six years ago. One of the many things that stands out is the excellent house-band that the studio has.

This post is just a small thank you from someone who admires Coke Studio Pakistan’s magicians. I hardly see ‘filmwalas or musicians’ discuss about Coke Studio Pakistan but that can never negate the fact that Coke Studio Pakistan is undoubtedly the biggest music brand to come out of the subcontinent in as far as I can remember. Melody, continuously. So let us  quickly say thank you to those who stood out this season.

Tanveer Tafu:tanveer-tafu

  • Be it his jaw dropping guitar in Sakal bann.
  • Be it his mandolin play in Rung Jindri (Where he affords himself a sway and rockstar swag as a bonus!)
  • Be it his Banjio in Umran lagiyaan (Yes it is called Banjio! I didn’t know it)
  • Be it his mandolin play that elevates Khari neem higher than the empire state building
  • Be it his Turkish Saaz play in Ajj din vehre which is brief yet quite soothing.
  • Be it Khalis Makhan in which his Rhubab was jumping and making moves like a kid negotiating stairs playfully
  • Be it Tajdar-e-haram in which the Rhubab lent depth to the song that pauses everything else in your mind.
  • Be it the nostalgia inducing Rhuaab in Hare hare baans.

No Matter what Tafu sahab holds, it starts playing and playing rather well!

 

Sajid AliSajid-Ali

  • He touched a chord with his splendid participation in Phool banro, which to my mind remains the song of the season in the 7th Season of Coke Studio.
  • be it in Khalis Makhan where the flute was accompanying Bakshi brothers all throughout and taking us back to those childhood days when life was a bit more than ‘likes’, ‘selfies’, ‘lol’. XboX etc.
  • Or take his example in the fabulous Umraan laggyan. Towards the end, song reaches crescendo thanks to the lovely flute that makes you visualize a lover (who was waiting forever on her toes) running towards the door where her lover is approaching. Someone said flute is next to voice, I think they can use examples like this song to further their point.
  • Or be it the fabulous ‘Ve Baneya‘ in which not only the flute furthers the song and stays largely in the background otherwise and sings along Mulazim especially when he goes ‘Haye Jaau Kahan
  • Or be it the heartbreaking and beautiful ‘Ajj din vehre‘ in which Sajid along with the brilliant Arsalan give the song the right feel.
  • I could go on and on about his participation in the Khari neem because of which the song sounds breezier, or I could remind us of rockstar, in which the flute added to the swag of the song, and you can almost picture a narcissistic  rockstar making a slow entry to the scene. But i won’t.

 

Arsalan Ali Arsalan-Ali

The magician on Harmonium! It was his groove that started the season and he pretty much rocked throughout. Be it Aankharli Pharookai, Tajdar-e-haram, or the ‘lahori’ touch he adds when the harmonium plays along with Ali Zafar in rockstar, and lest we forget, its quiet accompaniment throughout but especially during ‘Umraan lagiyaan paban pa’ in the fabulous Umran lagiyan. It is safe to conclude that with Arsalan’s Harmonium, the sound of the studio gets an earthy touch.

Coke-Studio-Season-4-House-Band-Jaffer-Zaidi-6Jaffer Ali Zaidi

Do we remember the subtle beginning of Rang jindri where the calm keyboards set up the stage for something as simple as ektaaaara to give you goosebumps with a simple riff? Sheer beauty! Even towards the end, the lasting notes on keyboard welcome the descending fading notes of Chimtaaa which make it surreal. Jaffer is always there, like Oxygen. It doesn’t matter if we notice him or not, but his keyboard play is always necessary. Listen to sohini dharti again and catch the keyboard play again, you will know what I mean.

19Aahad Nayani

I remember getting all angry with his excessive antics in Season 7. Of course we weren’t used to seeing excessive display of any emotion by drummers in the Studio (Give me Gumby any day!). That aside, Aahad really acted like a metronome to almost all the songs where he was present. His perfect outing in Sakal bann, Khari neem, rockstar just added so much to these songs, not to mention that delightful acknowledgement and pointer towards Nabeel at the end of ‘Bewajah

Babar Ali KhannaBabar-Ali-Khanna-Laili-Jaan-1

  • Though subtle, Babar was superb in rung jindri especially where his dholak brings in antras.
  • To me, Babar was top of his game in Fizza Javed’s parts of ‘Ve baneya‘. There is just so much emotion in both the Antaras of hers, and dholak’s variation just amplifies that emotion. Rare for a dholak to have so much airtime and boy did it work!
  • Of course we can never forget the way Babar’s tabla in sakal bann (especially during ‘bhaant bhaant ke phool mangaye) and Piya dekhan ko. Both these songs can make wonderful Indian dance songs with a lot of ‘bhaav‘, largely thanks to Babar.
  • And the way babar added a desi touch in rockstar and umran lagiyaan when the tempo of the song changes, speaks volumes of his talent and the faith producers have in him.

 

Omran-ShafiqueOmran Shafique

Smiling as usual and swaying to music (with a pout or two) was brilliant but I missed seeing an out and out Sunn ve balori like song where he soared like no other and stole the show from a very very able Meesha Shafi, or for that matter the powerful rendition in the ever so strong Jawad Ahmad’s Mitti da pahalwan.

Kamran ‘Mannu’ Zafar

My first favorite musician from CokeStudio Pakistan. His brilliance is that you will hardly see any emotion but the bass line that every song enjoys in the studio, is his doing. You will love the way he started ‘rockstar’, you might even like the depth he lends when Jaffer ali zaidi says ‘nyun‘ for the first time in Nyun la leya ve. This blogpost would run out of space If I try to enumerate his contribution over the years. Thank you, Kamran

kamran

Strings section

Javed Iqbal sahab, Islamuddin meer Sahab, Saeed Ahmed Sahab and Mansoor Ahmed Sahab were there, quietly running the riot of colors on all of us as we sat, bewildered and smitten at the same time.

String section

  • How can we ever forget the transformation of an old classic which was largely due to the extremely hot and sensual strings section? Yes, I am referring to the superb ‘Khari neem‘. Mai Bhagi sang the song first  and I am sure wherever she is, she would have smiled and probably given a bit of shoulder dance on this version and the string section is to be applauded for a large part of that.
  • Don’t forget the superb flow of the string section in Rung jindri. Strings are quite prominent anyway but watch out especially in the second line of mukhda, and second part of antra, the way strings flow, they are nothing short of melodious miracle hidden in a song and it hits you when you least expect.
  • Not to forget the radical change in the string pattern in the first stanza of Rabba ho which to me is the highlight of the song.
  • Not only from this season, but Javed Iqbal sahab has mesmerized everyone in countless songs…be it Husn-e-haqiqi where the violin was continuously giving Arieb Azhar good company, or Senraa bayaria where your violin pierced the soul at 4:08 minutes, or for that matter, the powerful beginning you gave in Neray aah and Na raindee hai. I could go on and on, Sir, but I would summarize it with a big Thank you!

Back up vocals

Be it the hamnawas in Tajdar-e-haram or the magnificent boys aiding the house backups in Rang jindri, I cannot write enough praises for the backups in the season. They were subtle and stuck to the brief, which, to an outsider like me, looks like was, “it’s the music and not heroics stupid!” A special mention of the house-band’s back ups excellent strategy of enforcing ‘saa’ ‘tarse’ part of ‘Piya dekhan ko’. Ustad Hamid clearly didn’t have a clear pronunciation of ‘tarse,’ and that could have made the sound a bit dated. Very smart! It starts from 1:33 min on wards in the song, do hear it to know what I mean. Of course, it was just phenomenal to see them getting a significant part in Rockstar in which they complimented Ali all throughout, adding the required charm and craziness of ‘fans’

Other partners in crime

The strength of Coke Studio Pakistan is their brilliant house-band without a doubt. They have all been splendid all throughout and may be because it is fresh in the memory, but I absolutely relished the way Imran Akhoond, Haider Ali and Kamran played around in the mid section of ‘Armaan’ song.

Sikandar Mufti

Coke-Studio-Season-4-House-Band-Sikandar-Mufti-4

Last but certainly not the least. There is always at least one guy in a group who is a friend of everyone and is always seen smiling. Sikandar Mufti reminds me of that guy. One more thing – Sikandar rules the percussion! Apart from his incomparable talent, it is hard to not smile every time the camera pans on to him. It looks like he is the happiest when an experiment goes well in the studio. You can see him gesticulating (remember the start of Zu sta pa sha?)  and not being loud at that…all this with a smile! Thank you, Sikandar. And not just for this season, for all the seasons of which you have been a fabulous part of!

Every single one of you have given us all a benchmark to measure the various aspects of Coke Studio Pakistan. There is a some movement on this side of the border as well, and you guys are the textbook reference for those who want to know how it’s done.

So, here’s a toast to everyone for making the experience breathtaking, heartbreaking, melodious, sensual, insightful, reflective, and all good things that come to our mind when we play ‘my-favorite-wala-song-from-Coke-Studio-Pakistan’

Love from India.

Rohwit

You can find more about all artists here

Masaan Music

Neeraj Ghaywan‘s FIPRESCI winner at Cannes 2015, MASAAN releases in India on 24th July. Here, film’s screenplay writer and lyricist Varun Grover talks about the music of the film.

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Masaan  is the most difficult music album I have worked on till now. It has just 3 songs, out of which one (‘Bhor‘) is written by Sanjeev Sharma, and still the amount of distress and self-doubt I went through figuring out the lyrics for the other two was more than me and Sneha Khanwalkar felt on the mammoth ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ album.

Prime reason was the burden of being the writer of the film as well and hence this feeling that lyrics in this film should be ‘extra-special’. As I said elsewhere, “Jab halwaayi ke ghar mein hi shaadi ho toh mithaayi se expectations unreal ho jaati hain aur halwaayi ki zindagi haraam ho jaati hai.’

This self-doubt also made the choice of a music director for the film difficult and after meeting some really worthy composers, we decided to request Indian Ocean to come on board.

1. Tu Kisi Rail Si

As I was low on confidence and the film has an element of poetry (Shweta Tripathi’s character is a shaayari-fan), we thought of using some existing Hindi poetry for the love song. One poem by Uday Prakash saab (Kuchh bann jaate hainI loved in particular and we shared it with Indian Ocean who gave us strange looks as it’s in Mukd Chhand and nearly impossible to compose.

Then suddenly, these lines by Dushyant Kumar saab came back to me and I knew we have a starting point. I had heard these lines first many years ago at an informal kavi sammelan at a friend’s wedding in Lucknow. (Haan ji, Lucknow mein shaadiyon mein bhi kavi-sammelan hota hai.)

I wrote the rest of the lyrics, taking the first two lines from Dushyant Kumar’s ghazal ‘Main jise oadhta bichhaata hoon‘. After many tunes by Indian Ocean, we finally arrived at a consensus on one based on the footage, tempo, tone, and rhythm of the song. Since the footage was already shot and it had to be a celebratory number, these criteria were necessary to be fullilled.

We also got to meet Dushyant saab’s wife (Rajeshwari ji) and his son Aalok Tyagi ji who by a huge stroke of luck happened to live right across our editing studio in Versova! They gave us permissions and blessings for the song.

Dushyant Kumar ji

Swanand Kirkire recorded it in his grainy voice and we had our song ready.

Lyrics: 

Mukhda
Tu kisi rail si guzarti hai
Main kisi pull sa thartharaata hoon
Tu bhaley ratti bhar na sunti hai,
Main tera naam budbudaata hoon.
Kisi lambe safar ki raaton mein,

tujhe alaav sa jalaata hoon.

Antara

Kaath ke taaley hain,
aankh pe daale hain,
unmein ishaaron ki chaabiyaan laga.
Raat jo baaqi hai,
shaam se taaki hai,
neeyat mein thodi kharaabiyaan laga.
Main hoon paani ke bulbuley jaisa,

tujhko sochoon toh, phoot jaata hoon.

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2. Mann Kasturi Re

If the first song killed us, the second one did it twice over. This song is supposed to be the soul of the film, the theme that connects all the stories and characters which meant ‘Anthem jaisa kuchh chaahiye‘. Another problem was that the reference track on the footage was ‘Aik Alif‘ from Coke Studio Pakistan and it was too overwhelming a track to compete with.
For this one too, my first instinct was to run away and leave the job to some great. So we chose Nazir Akbarabaadi’s ‘Banjaranama‘ and Indian Ocean did a fantastic job of composing it into a stunning anthem. The only problem – the tempo of the footage was on another level. Marta kya na karta, I had to step in and attempt writing new words.

Like it happens most of the times, difficult to tell how/when this phrase ‘Mann Kasturi‘ popped in my head but the rest of the song became easy after that. Kabir and Banaras were constant in my head while writing it.

Lyrics

Mukhda

Mann kasturi re,
jag dasturi re,
baat huyi naa poori re!
Khoje apni gandh naa paave,
chaadar ka paiband naa paave,
bikhre bikhre chhand sa tahale,
dohon mein ye bandh na paave.
Naache ho ke phirki lattu,
khoje apni dhoori re,

Mann kasturi re!

Antara

Umar ki ginti haath naa aayi,
purkhon ne ye baat bataayi,
Ulta kar ke dekh sake toh,
Ambar bhi hai gehri khaayi.
Rekhaaon ke paar nazar ko,
Jisne phenka andhe mann se,
Satrangi bazaar ka khola,
Darwaaza phir bina jatan ke!
Phir toh jhooma baawal ho ke,
Sar pe daal fitoori re

Mann kasturi re!

For lyrics in Devnagari, click here.

Full album here:

600x600

Harpreet’s album has been in the news since 2014 when he released his single ‘Ajnabi’, and if I am right, there was an FB post where crowdfunding as an idea was being tossed around for the completion of the project.

Here’s the good news – the album released last month and we have been tripping on it ever since.

Call it the effect of the much awaited rains in Bombay, but in spite of average lyrics, the song Ajnabi sounds top drawer. Harpreet sounds comfortable, soothing and musical without making a big deal of it. The song ‘Kutte‘ has a ‘bulleya ki jaana main koun’ vibe in the beginning, but the similarity ends when you observe that the tune and words are too direct and aggressive. The superb music arrangement of the song lends a ‘wanderer’ feel perfectly. The song is in Punjabi, but trust me that wont matter one bit. It’s been a while since man with all fallacies have found a expression, and this song is a beautiful exception to that. ‘Man can’t live alone and can’t live with people’…a crisis we are all too familiar with, aren’t we?

Nirala is what takes my breath away every time I hear it. The melodious possibilities are endless when you mix Hindi poetry with contemporary fusion-sque presentation, and boy is this song a case study to that or what! For the want of better expression, this song is about 6 minutes of continuous goosebumps. Harpreet is a joy to listen to…mujhe gagan ka dikha saghan wah chhor…By God, I saw the chhor with Harpreet when I heard this part, so what if I was sitting in the confines of my room. Easily, the best non-filmi song of the year so far.

Even in the song like ‘Maati‘ whose composition is more like a continuous fast pop nazm, he keeps it simple and free flowing without overpowering the composition with too many instruments. The long taans in the beginning of Ajab Jodi, paired with fabulous guitar and percussion might well work better than Kerala ‘stuff’, if you know what I mean. The tune isn’t easy and that is hardly an issue for him who sings it  with an ease that would put most of the auto tune wonders at discomfort. The lyrics are pure and insightful.

We can never have enough of good ‘Heer‘ and this album adds to the glowing collection of ‘Heers’ with its tribute to the same. The composition is the clear winner here. The track is Punjabi and even if it is not your first language, you will love the track, I am quite sure. Sonapani has a lullaby like treatment and is perhaps the easiest composition of the album to hum along.

Pipli is again a Punjabi track but you listen to it once and you will know what I have already mentioned time and again…’language-doesn’t-matter’! Breezy composition and passionate singing make up for any linguistic limitations this song might present itself with.

I would love to hear what you have to say about the album, but personally speaking, all the new talent that comes up these days has just bollywood aspirations, and that leaves us music fanatics to look to our neighbors and get jealous. There are very few bands which try to present themselves as viable alternatives to the ‘drum-dholki-dafli-autotune-infected-Bollywood’ sound company. Harpreet represents a new sound which I hope gets popular and sells!

Art speaks differently to different people. To me, a good music album always makes me want to become a musician and explore the wondrous heritage of music that our country has. Take the old sounds, mix them with new, let nothing be what it has been since ages. Change, because it is wonderful.

We always tag the foreign music with ‘genres’, this album is Indian, and boy, what a genre it would be if paid attention and money.

For once, I wish we would give out ‘star’ rating because this album and the supreme effort would have got 10 stars out of 5. Illogical? Well, which star rating isn’t?

Highly recommended.

You can listen to my review on BBC here.

@Rohwit

Like us, if you have been playing the song Moh Moh Ke Dhaage from Dum Laga Ke Haisha in non-stop loop, and love to sing along, here’s something you will like – the full lyrics of the song which includes 2 unused antaras. The music is by Anu Malik and lyrics are by apna Varun Grover.

Moh Moh Ke Dhaage  
VOCALS : PAPON (Male version) and MONALI THAKUR (Female version)
SONG ARRANGED AND PRODUCED : HITESH MODAK
GUITAR : ADITYA BENIA
FLUTE : NAVEEN KUMAR
SHEHNAI : OMKAR DHUMAL

And here’s Varun Grover’s note about the song – why and how –

शरत कटारिया की लिखी स्क्रिप्ट ही इतनी दमदार थी कि शुरू में ही समझ आ गया था गाने लिखने में बहुत मज़ा आएगा। सबसे ज़्यादा मज़ा वैसे सामूहिक विवाह वाली सिचुएशन पे ‘सुन्दर सुशील’ लिखने में आया जिसमें बचपन से पढ़े हुए ढेर सारे मेट्रिमोनियल इश्तेहारों का ज्ञान काम आया, लेकिन म्युज़िकली देखें तो सबसे भारी सिचुएशन यही वाली थी। प्रेम रूठा हुआ सा है, बिना खाना खाए अपने ससुराल से निकला है नयी दुल्हन को लेकर, और दोनों के बीच तनातनी सी है। ऐसे में, रात को स्कूटर पर जाते-जाते दोनों को पहली बार साथ एक सफर पे जाने का मौका मिल रहा है।  शरत चाहता था यहाँ एक क्लासिकल गीत आये। अनु मालिक साब ने बहुत सी धुनें सुनायीं और हम सबको करीबन सब अच्छी लग रहीं थीं लेकिन एकदम (अनु जी के लफ़्ज़ों में) ‘ठाँ कर के लग जाए’ जैसी नहीं मिल रही थी। फिर एक दिन अनु जी ने ये वाली सुनाई जिसे सुनते ही सब कूद पड़े। गज़ब कम्पोज़ीशन, जो अन्तरे में जा के और निखर जाता है।

गाने में सफर, रात, प्यार और गुस्सा, सब है इसलिए लिखते वक्त ध्यान दिया कि ऐसी उपमाएं हों जो थोड़ी डिस्फ़ंक्शनल हों। उलझे, गिरह, तेरी झूठी बातें वगैरह। और क्यूंकि सफर का फील देना था इसलिए शब्दों को रिपीट किया – मोह-मोह, रोम-रोम, टोह-टोह। रिपीटीशन से एक स्विंग सा आता है गीत में, जैसे स्कूटर के पीछे बैठने से आता है।

मुखड़ा

ये मोह मोह के धागे,
तेरी उँगलियों से जा उलझे,
कोई टोहटोह ना लागे
किस तरह गिरहा ये सुलझे।

है रोम रोम इक तारा,
है रोम रोम इक तारा,
जो बादलों में से गुज़रे।

अन्तरा १

तू होगा ज़रा पागल
तूने मुझको है चुना
कैसे तूने अनकहा,
तूने अनकहा, सब सुना।

तू दिन सा है, मैं रात,
आ ना दोनों,
मिल जाएँ शामों की तरह।

अन्तरा २

के ऐसा बेपरवाह मन पहले तो ना था
चिट्ठियों को जैसे मिल गया,
जैसे इक नया सा पता
के ऐसा बेपरवाह मन पहले तो ना था।

खाली राहें, हम आँख मूंदे जाएँ,
पहुंचें कहीं तो बेवजह।

(मोनाली ठाकुर वाले वर्ज़न में अलग अन्तरा)

अन्तरा ३

के तेरी झूठी बातें मैं सारी मान लूँ,
आँखों से तेरे सच सभी,
सब कुछ अभी जान लूँ।
के तेरी झूठी बातें मैं सारी मान लूँ।

तेज़ है धारा,
बहते से हम आवारा,
आ थम के सांसें लें यहां।

And two unused antaras for Moh Moh Ke Dhaage:

आ ऐसे भर जाएँ रहे खाली ना जगह

घोल दें इक सांस में आ सारा फासला
कि ऐसे भर जाएँ रहे खाली ना जगह
झील किनारे
आजा ना खेल बिछा लें,
और जोड़ें साड़ी कौड़ियाँ।

***********

कि जैसे पानी का इक मीठा सा कुआँ
हाथ जो तू थाम ले, तो छंट चलेगा धुआँ
कि मिला पानी का इक मीठा सा कुआँ।
झूठ कहानी
तेरी है सारी मानी
तू भी इशारा सुन ज़रा।

If you can’t read Hindi, click here to go to Varun’s site to read it in Roman. Also, it has the lyrics of rest of the songs.

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2VR9YJDQ5Q

  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.

Rohit