Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Another Listen of Bikram Singh's Kawan

Bikram Singh and Tigerstyle are getting ready to release Kawan 2. Featuring the vocals of Gunjan, it's a revamp of the song that first appeared on American Jugni in 2005.

It's been nine years since the original Kawan, or "Kaone" as I now think of it, which is almost a lifetime in the bhangra world. This was in the time of myspace, before twitter and youtube had taken off. There is a whole generation of music fans who were probably too young to remember the impact the song had. Bikram wrote the lyrics to Kawan himself and his career took off with it.

Why was the song such a huge hit? Bikram told me in an email: "It had to do with a lot of factors. The melody, the lyrics and Gunjan's voice all contributed to a great song that people continue to enjoy. The concept of two separated lovers thinking about each other and providing reassurance to each other is really universal. We can all relate to it one way or the other."

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Asifa Lahore Covers Tum Hi Ho

Asifa Lahore, a DJ and British Asian drag artist, has released her LGBT cover version of Tum Hi Ho. It is her response to those who asked her to do a serious topic, and focuses on the visibility of ethnic minorities in the LGBT community.

Tum Hi Ho is suited to the subject and is sensitively covered. The video tells the story in a simple way that is easy to follow. The project was crowdfunded and some of the people starring in the video had never acted before. Subtitles translating the song make sure the point really gets across.

This cover version of Tum Hi Ho is up on Asifa's SoundCloud page as a free download.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Dipps Bhamrah - Sachi Muchi

Dipps Bhamrah has released Sachi Muchi. It is the second of 12 songs that the BBC Asian Network presenter is releasing as part of a year long project. 
Featuring the vocals of Surinder Laddi, the track is traditional Bhangra love song. Sachi Muchi  is inspired by Punjabi Hai Ni Mera Balam by Shamshad Begam. Sachi Muchi has a different feel to Twerking Jugni, which was the last month's release under #EmbraceTheMadness. It is easy on the ear, works well off the dance floor and will appeal to those who like their Bhangra a little more sedate.

Disappointingly there is no video for the track, but I am impressed that it has been released on time!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine's Day Downloads

Like many other industries, the Desi music scene has learnt the power of a special Valentine's day tie in. Here's a round up of some of the songs released to celebrate the patron saint of bee keepers.

Parichay - Tu Hi Zindagi   

Parichay has been dropping hints about a Valentine's day surprise and this one doesn't disappoint. An acoustic version of Tu Hi Zindagi, which appeared on All New Everything, this song is slushy and romantic. Parichay can produce powerful gorgeous vocals and acoustic tracks like this really show them off. The original version was one of my favourites from All New Everything, but I think I like this one better. Download here.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Sharaab - Deva Review

Sharaab, a recording and mix engineer who has worked with Karsh Kale and the Midival Punditz, has released an EP called Deva. 

Deva is five tracks long and is the follow up to Asura. There are three original tracks and two remixes by Spectik and Jamal Rusk. The EP is typical of Sharaab's unique style. Lush deep chords, sympathetic bass, hints of darkness and beats in all the right places.

The EP opens with Yantra Force. It's a strong, powerful piece with tribal elements and a slightly sinister edge.

Fake Love is my favourite track on the EP. Featuring a Lata Mangeshkar vocal sample from Mughal-e-Azam, Fake Love is hauntingly beautiful. Right from the very first note the track draws the listener into its melancholic boudoir. I like the way the vocals have been edited and they mix seamlessly into the modern backing. The production is so clean, it's hard to believe they were sung and recorded over 50 years ago. The Spectik remix of Fake Love is good, but it somehow lacks the raw emotion of the original mix.

There is a middle-eastern feel to Wasteland. It starts off as a simple groove based track then evolves into something completely different. The contrasts in the track work well and I love the bass that comes in towards the end. The Jamal Rusk remix is an energetic take on the track.

Verdict: Sharaab is highly talented at what he does. Although Deva is short it is well produced and engaging. Perfect for the last of the dark winter nights.