Wednesday, March 29, 2006

'Zinda' by Strings

I just discovered the song 'Zinda' (Alive) by the Pakistani rock band Strings. This song is on the soundtrack of the movie 'Zinda'. The movie itslef went up in smoke but this song and Shibani Kashyap's "Zinda hoon main" and its Delirious Dance Dub mix are brilliant.

The lines from Zinda that blew me away are

In hindi:
"Chubhte Kaante yaadon ke daaman se chunta hoon,
Girti Deewaron ke aanchal me Zinda hoon"

English translation :
"I pick hurting thorns from the blanket of my memories
I live in the protective cover of walls that are breaking down"

Strings gives these lyrics total justice with the grungy electric guitaring and deep vocals overlapped with soulful piano. I remember when they released their song "Sar kiye yeh pahaad" in the early 90's. It was pretty popular back then and is still one of my favoritie songs that came our of the pakistan rock scene. Of course the now defunct Junoon was much bigger than Strings but these guys are damn good too.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Karsh Kale's Broken English

The master of the genre has done it again. Only this time he has kicked so much more ass on this new album "broken english". It's unlike his previous albums and has many songs with lyrics completely in english. Many more collaborations appear on this album and this time the collaborations are with a variety of vocalists and producers and not just with other electronica artists. This album has generous doses of what i thought was the best stuff in Realise and Liberation. The magic of 'Milan' and 'Letting go' is seen in "Beautiful", "Innocence and Power" and "somethings are ok". "Dancing at sunset" showcases Kale's talent with other instruments like the electronic santoor (I didnt even know an electronic santoor existed). The highlights of the album though are "Free Fall" and "City lights" (where Kale lends vocals himself).

After a long time I own an album that i can pop into the player and not worry about running into a tune i dont like. It's brilliant from start to finsih and touches upon many styles with the unmistakable Karsh Kale signature.

I saw him perform on the electronic Tabla at 1015 folsom last week. It was a spirited performance and sent the crowd for a spin. He started his set on the decks with a further "bhangrafied" version of "Manifest" and continued it with "Free Fall" and was clearly the best set of the night that was lined up with big names such as Cheb i sabbah and Janaka Selekta among others.

A personal highlight for me was a chat with the maestro himself. It happened at 1015 folsom right before things got heated up. He signed my copy of Broken English making it ultra special for me. His modesty has stumped me before and impressed me once again.

Check this album out if you have liked his work previously. It will not disappoint I promise.