Thursday, March 14, 2013

New blood in Bollywood

I am very excited about 2 young new (not so new) comers

Amit Trivedi - with "Kai Po Che", "Dev D", "Ek mei aur Ek tu", "Udaan", "Aiyaa" this man has shown that he has vision to create something new and experimental - he is deeply rooted in classical and handles elements of Jazz and rock deftly. Amit, I salute you and am looking forward to years of your music.

Sneha Khanwalkar - Gangs of Wasseypur + Chi Cha Ledar - Nuff said.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Riding with the King

How many times are you truly presented with one and only one opportunity to do or witness something. And how many times have you passed on it only to regret it later. Well regret was not part of my plan this time.

The King was riding into London and I was determined to ride with him. At a golden age of 85, BB and Lucille waltzed into The Royal Albert and blew about 5000 fans away. And accompanying the legend were (legends in their own right) Slash, Ronnie Wood and Mick Hucknall (Simply Red) along with Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi.

BB is old but when he sings its still sweet. He relied a lot on his supporting cast, his very excellent band. They have stood by him through his best years and continue to do so. BB also had a lot of stories to tell. Some funny and some strange and quite honestly I could not hear a lot of it as I was in the choir section. However, his voice is still as glorious as it used to be especially when in harmony with Lucille. BB enthralled the audience with his voice and his guitar for over an hour. He then invited the husband and wife duo of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi who entertained at par with BB.

This is when he unwrapped the big surprise he had promised. Out walked Slash with Ronnie and Mick. What followed was an hour long jam session over some of BB's best hits including Sweet 16 and The thrill is gone. Watching these greats all on one stage was watching greatness unfold minute by minute on stage.

As BB walked off stage, i could only remind myself that this is probably my only change to see the king in flesh and blood. He is frail and needed to be wheeled out and as he waved at us as he walked out, I could only feel an emotion never felt before. That said, the king and I had walked together for over 3 hours.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kaat Kaleja Dilli

Mera kaat kaleja Dilli, mera kaat kaleja dilli le gayi kaat kaleja dilli mui Dilli legayee

I am loving the energy Amit Trivedi has injected into his soundtracks and background scores. By using a grungy guitar riff a la Green Day and Foo Fighters, Amit Trivedi has established himself as the lad to watch out for. Somewhere along the way he also flirts with soundtrack elements heard in Quentin Tarantino or Guy Ritchie films. Amazingly he is doing this with new singers that the industry has only recently seen like Raja Hassan, Shriram Iyer and Tochi Raina.

Rock has just not been something music directors have been comfortable with in Indian Cinema so far. It had been far too harsh a sound for mainstream audiences. It's only with Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Pritam, Salim Suleiman, Vishal Shekhar, Vishal Bahardwaj and Amit Trivedi that we have seen long guitar solos making the core of the track. SEL gave us Rock on! Pritam (though still fairly 80's rockish) has given us some good guitar solos. Vishal (of Pentagram) has rock written all over some of his tracks (e.g. Tashan me). Vishal Bharadwaj gave us Dhan te Nan!

Let the awesomeness continue!

The voice of Band Baaja Baraat's Ainvayi Ainvayi

This catchy made-for-shaadis and baraatis track from BBB has been on air for a while and in spite of a very unique male voice doing the honours, I hadn't been curious enough to find out who has sung it. It was only yesterday that Salim Suleiman (the great composer duo) appeared on a reality show and Salim Merchant sang the song on stage. I am absolutely amazed as this is a pretty fast paced rap-rock-bhangra track that has proven that Salim not only composes fabulous tracks but also has a giant and technically sound voice to go with it! Go brothers!

I also salute the uber awesome Suniddhi Chauhan for nailing the track and establishing once again that this genre is hers and hers only!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Vishal Bharadwaj B sides

More conjecture on Vishal Bharadwaj's genius. I hope he composes more tracks than he currently does.

Dil to Baccha hai ji - Ishqiya
Classic from start to finish. Starts off with the harmonica and an acoustic (spanish guitar probably). The instrumentation on this track is straight from a 60s film set in Italy, Greece or Spain with its doumbek and flamenco style clapping and shouting a la Demi Roussos. Actually it does remind me of the wedding scene in Godfather. I am big fan of the middle eastern doumbek and salute vishal for using it in his track (probably first since R D Burman's use of these instruments in the flamboyant 70's tracks).

Badalon Se - Satya
This is the track that first got me interested in vishaal Bharadwaj's composition. Strong use of acoustic guitars with the melodic but rarely used voice of Bhupinder.

Title track - Kaminey
What I love the most about this track is the symphonic arrangements which are a little overweight on violins. Vishal also uses electric guitar solos blended with the trumpet (might be a sax)very effectively. The electronic samples make the song very moody as is required in the film at which this song comes in.

Naina - Omkara
This is one of Vishal's more heavy compositions featuring Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's vocals. Strong bassline and quite heavy use of electic guitars with plenty of white space to maximise on Rahat's strong voice. The lyrics is quite traditional and dark (again to keep with the mood of the film).

Notable mentions: Chappa Chappa (great song but trumped by his more recent works)

Of course the strength of Gulzar's lyrics on all these tracks only makes them better, but you have to hand it to Vishal for being able to so effortlessly handle the words time and again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dharohar Project with Mumford and sons

I have always been fond of genre bending music but cringe at the sound of the word "fusion" which is amateurishly used time and again to describe music that wont fit in the limited genres known by people. Lots of great artists like Nitin Sawhney and Karsh Kale have created their own space in recent years.

so I was overjoyed to hear a new sound emerging from the collaboration betwene Mumford and Sons and Dharohar Project, a rajasthani folk ensemble. Check it out yourselves

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Save BBC Asian Network

Dear Trustees

I have been a loyal listener of BBC Asian Network for more than 4 years now. My first listening experience came when I was an international listener based in California, USA. Not only was the delivery of the content groundbreaking, it truly filled a void for listeners like me who wanted to hear fresh music that was not easy to find. My motivation is not so much to reconnect with my linguistic roots but to just know that there is a mainstream medium that caters to who I am and what I stand for. Their support of the London Mela and other events make it an important fabric for the community, not just a radio station. Closing it down and relegating it to a untimely corner of another station is taking a giant step backwards and, frankly, snatching away the identity of a community.

As others may have pointed out already, the £9m budget for the Asian Network and Radio 6 seems like a drop in the ocean vis a vis BBC total budget and maybe in this instance cost per listener is not the correct measure of the stations' success.

My respect for the BBC is founded on its independence from commercial interests. While I understand business rationale, I put on the hat of a listener alone and do not support the closure of Asian Network and Radio 6.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Karthik Calling Karthik - KK and Punditz

Mainstream bollywood has finally opened up its arms to the genre busting Punditz and Karsh Kale to add remixes by them in the main soundtrack of KCK.

I know Shankar Ehsaan Loy, the Punditz and KK are friends and have collaborated on world stages before. To see them contribute multiple tracks to a soundtrack is absolutely fantastic.

The Punditz have been there before with their original track featuring on the Monsoon Wedding soundtrack (Fabric/Aaja Savariya).

I have to be honest though that the Uff Teri Ada remix is not as fresh as I would have liked it to be. It sticks too closeley to tired and tested remix formulae to not get me that excited. The Karthik 2.0 track is more true to the style that KK and the Punditz can be associated with.

However, it opens up the door to more of KKs work to feature in mainstream bollywood even if it on the more intellectually tilted films.

Kudos to Shankar Ehsaan Loy for opening up the doors!