Roundup…. No Title

Haven’t been blogging for a while, as the seasonal lethargy takes over. I can’t really blame it on anything else. Anyway, just a roundup of things/people/songs of note –

1. Television – I am in love with the 2 singing competitions on telly these days, Zee Saregamapa 2007 Challenge – Sangeet ka Pratham Vishwayud and Amul Star Voice of India. SVOI is going through a dramatic phase with Gajendra Chauhan ( the pioneer of such singing talent hunt shows) getting confused with his self created frankenstein. However, the singers to watch out for are Toshi Sabri (brought back into SVOI by popular demand, after being ejected on the basis of public voting), Harshit (SVOI), Amaanat Ali (SRGMP, an amazing voice from Pakistan) and Raja Hassan(SRGMP). Raja has the rusticness and purity in his voice, Toshi is probably the best trained and a sufi-genre singer. Harshit will make an awesome playback singer while Amanat probably is the most versatile of the lot, and will surely make a great ghazal singer if given a chance. His rendition of “Tujhse Naaraz Nahi Zindagi” yesterday (6th Oct) was plain simple awesome. The idea behind this long para on these people is to remind you guys that for every Dhoni who came out of Jharkhand, there are several who join Tata Steel on a small stipend! Please support, encourage and look out for these raw talents in the years to come. You can see the videos online here – SRGMP, SVOI

2. Music – 1. Main Agar Kahoon (Om Shanti Om) – beautiful romantic song with a very simple melody and another proof of how good Sonu Nigam is. Especially, when it comes to romantic songs, there are few who are as good. His voice has a certain yearning that others don’t
b. Yoon Shabnami from Saawariya  sung by Parthiv Gohil. A lot of you won’t even know who Parthiv Gohil is. Parthiv is the lost find of 1998 Saregama MegaFinal (youtube videos) (the year Sonu was still hosting the show,  Sanjeevani – another finalist, got a few movies as playback singers (such as Kareeb), and there were some truly amazing singers like Mohd. Vakil, Bela, Mukund and Sudeshna). An year or two after 1998 Shreya Ghoshal became the winner of Saregama. Anyway, Paarthiv had a very strong classical learning background and his rendition of songs like Ketak Gulab Juhi, and Dhanyabhaag Seva ka Awsar Paaya back in 1998 were wonderful. So, Bhansali has given Parthiv a break, along with Monty (the music director, who played some part in the background score of Devdas)
c. Songs from Manorama – 6 feet under.  From a collection of 4 songs (excluding remixes and versions), 3 belong to the category of very good to excellent. Woh Bheege Pal, Dhundhla jo sama bandha, Tere Sawalon Ke.. Try them out.

3. Movie – Johnny Gaddar is definitely my pick from bollywood. Bourne Ultimatum would be the hollywood pick. Johnny G is a wonderful movie which takes you back to the 70s thrillers where things just kept happening all through the movie. Director’s tribute to Vijay Anand and James Hadley Chase is visible throughout the movie. The movie could have been shortened by 15 minutes or so. But, but… its a wonderful movie to see on a weekend.

4. Books – Reading “Of Love and Other Demons” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez right now. Seems good so far, while being standard Marquez narration. Will update later.

However, just in case you got a feeling that this is what is keeping me busy.. Naah!  How many of you out there have lived out of a suitcase to get a house renovated. Working your butt off five days a week to reach home on a weekend (travelling usually in the middle of night both ways) to deal with tiles, cement, paints, designs and woodwork! Ugh.. its not easy!

Btw.. quick emotional outburst – Raikonnen has taken the pole. Hamilton has to wait. Vettel seems a driver to keep an eye on. The last couple of races are going to be amazingly interesting! 😀

Music Review: Kailasa – Jhoomo Re

I have been listening to the latest Kailasa (Kailash Kher’s band) album, Jhoomo Re since morning. And a vote of appreciation is due. (Though I often reprimand myself for refering to Kailasa as Kailash Kher’s band. Its a group of extremely talented artists – Kailash Kher, Naresh Kamath, Paresh Kamath, Kurt Peters, Sanket Athale, Rinku Rajput, Sameer Chiplunkar, Debyajyoti Dutta (Jonqui), Sankarshan Kini and Tejasvi Rao)

In their new album, Kailasa continue from where they left “Teri Deewani”, their previous hit album. “Teri Deewani”, the title song of their previous album, continues to be one of the finest use of Sufi undertones amongst commercial albums of recent times. Jhoomo Re builds further and establishes the bands credentials further. Kailasa is definitely a band to watch out for.

From “Jhoomo Re”, TV channels are already airing videos of two of the songs – Ba Bam Bam, and Saiyaan.

Ba Bam Bam has a rustic feel to it and will probably be appreciated more by people who understand Lord Shiva worshipping better. I don’t know the technical word for it, but those who have heard devout Lord Shiva worshippers will understand the sound as well as the rendition of this song. It’s a song full of energy and mindless devotion. That said, I don’t expect the song to become a popular hit, much against its originality and feel.

The next song- Saiyaan, is in the same league as Teri Deewani and Dilruba. High notes, soulful, and extremely powerful, Saiyaan is a must hear for all you sufi music lovers out there.

“Hire Moti Main Na chahoon,
Main to chahoon sangam tera
Main to teri .. saiyaan
Tu hai mera

Tu jo choo le pyaar se
Araam se mar jaoon main
Aaja chanda bahon mein
Tujh mein hi gum ho jaoon main
Tere naam mein kho jaoon main…”

(from Saiyaan). Interpret it in as many ways as you like!

The other songs that I would definitely recommend are Chaap Tilak (Khusro’s classic work), Daulat Shohrat (with a liberal touch of Sufism), and Tere Naina (beautiful lullaby). Beyond these three, there is ‘Tu hi mera Jaan hai’ (rendered in Punjabi folk tone) and Joban Chalke (sung with a Rajasthani feel). The amount of amalgamation (of spiritual and regional flavors) in this album is just too good to resist.

Things to reach out for when you are hearing this album –

1. Multiple interpretations, just as you would when you read vintage Sufi poetry
2. The music arrangement – its an excellent mix of modern and traditional instruments. Also, watch out for the use of natural sounds.
3. Kailash Kher’s voice – to me, his voice stands for humility and purity.
4. Effective use of backing vocals to accentuate emotions.

Let me know what you guys think after hearing the album.

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