Posts Tagged ‘Shye Ben Tzur’

A good music album is a blessing.

When we discovered the Israeli Qawwal Shyz Ben Tzur’s designs on Indian music scene sometime back, we couldn’t wait for more. However, we had to wait till 14 Nov 2015 for his new album.

Any fusion attempt involving Rajasthan runs the risk of ‘kesariya-oing/mharo dholna-oing‘ the sound and playing it safe. This album doesn’t fall in that trap. What you will come across is an innovative brass married to part funk and part pop sound, sprinkled with superlative lyrics. Take for example Junun, the song. The groove is familiar yet the entry of brass band is almost shocking. The singing in this song is slightly predictable. Yet, chances are you won’t be able to remind yourself of a similar song in a long time, watch out for the  faint harmonium/organ on the left channel throughout the song! The brass version of the song is just a smart example of how you can mold the sound of any song with local flavor and ‘there are birds in the eho chamber’ was recorded when the brass version of Junun was being recorded with birds chirping. Great touch, that!

Roked, is a dance beat prayer to God almighty which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, yet it presents an alternative way to ascend in God. When Hu starts, you would be excused to think that a song of Kabir is about to start. However, what you get is an insightful offering about life in Hebrew. If language isn’t a barrier for you in relishing good music, you might even find yourself swaying like a dervish. The entire band is in top form in this song, yet – not a single loud note. Isn’t it fascinating to actually come across the varied sounds of far off lands and to see how they pay a tribute to the infinite, the creator? Hu is a drug. Simple!

In Chala vahi des, you will be amazed at the percussion with the ever so beautiful manjira and harmonium mesmerizing you. Razia Sultan &  Afshana Khan are a delight, and my favorite part remains the effortless bringing in of ‘meera ke prabhu girdhar nagar‘. I cried when I heard this portion for the first time. This is why the creator has given us all humans faculties to hear. The infectious composition is impossible to unlike. Similarly in Kalandar, you would have made peace by the 5th minute of the composition, it’s a beautiful instrumental piece that requires nothing else. Wait for those simple 4 lines which will take your breath away before the flute reminds you to keep dancing, because after all you are a kalandar. Aren’t you?

A repetitive chanting like Eloha might weigh on the senses due to its psychedelic presentation with nearly silent musical arrangement. Julus (जुलूस) stays true to its title. This piece is all brass and the tune would remind you of your favorite roadside dance moment with the brass bands which are popular with marriage/Happy procession parties. Allah Elohim is a message of piece and reminds us that Hindu-Muslim look best when they stay peaceful and love each other. With excellent guitars in the background and splendid brass Razia and  Shye Ben Tzur would surely make you sway. Ahuvi is a song of longing and the Sarangi by Asin Khan and Khamaicha by Dara Khan would make you forget that most of the song is in Hebrew, and then the last 1:20 mins of the song will pierce your heart. Hear it to know what I mean. Azov has a simple message of ‘let go’, and this flute dominated piece ends fairly quickly.

The element of finality in Mode, which is ‘thanks’ to the creator for giving us everything is infectious, thanks to the neat gayaki and yet again, the language won’t matter here.

I have to thank my mother for introducing me to ‘Chala vaahi des’ – the Lata Mangeshkar album, when I was in class 6th, which had the sounds of birds and animals in the background in most of the songs. No wonder this album uses real bird and their chirps to create a similar sense of calm that just adds to the beauty of the end product.

Barring few sparks of brilliance, the current music scene leaves a lot to be desired, and that is insulting to a country as culturally rich and varied as ours. With this album, we come across yet another good attempt at fusing languages with familiar music arrangement and treatment so sensitive, it would melt your heart.

This is an album which is produced with a lot of heart work and hard work and it dazzles!  Thank you The Rajasthan Express, Shye Ben Tzur and Jonny Greenwood!

Good music is a blessing, it is the reason to live. If you don’t trust me, consult this album 🙂


(P.S. – There is a delightfully decorated digital booklet along with the music @iTunes which is beautiful and has translation for all the songs. Grab it!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here –

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

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

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

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

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