Friday, 30 December 2011

Jay Dabhi / Jay Sean - 2012 remix

Jay Dabhi, the DJ who produces great remixes like Kawan's Other Life and Mumbai After Dark, has come up with a remix of Jay Sean's 2012. This is a funky track with a club vibe which is perfect for celebrating the end of the year. I'm sure the original version of 2012 will be played to death this year, but this remix keeps the song sounding fresh. Jay Dabhi has released the remix on soundcloud as free download so you really can party like it's 2012.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Parichay - All New Everything

Parichay, the Canadian artist who won Zee TV's Antakshari at the age of 12, released his new album All New Everything today. It includes the singles Tum Habibi and Queen of Spades. Parichay is giving this album away as a free download. You can download it via his facebook page or soundcloud. Full Sari-Clad Speakers review of All New Everything coming soon!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Last Minute DIY Christmas Gift

It's Christmas Eve and if you have forgotten to buy a present for a loved one, fear not as help is at hand from Sari-Clad Speakers. Below is a collection of amazing tracks that the artists are giving away as free  legal downloads. All you need to do is burn them onto a CD, wrap it nicely and you have a very cool gift on a budget.

Dub Sharma - Why This Kolaveri Di Bass Remix

Aag - Bewafa 

Bobby Friction's Nitin Sawhny vs. Talvin Singh mix

Jay Status / DJ Sanj - Silli Silli 

PropheC - Meri Jaan

Jabi - Rani's Pressure

Jay Dhabi - O Mere Dil Ki Chain Remix

Swami - Dumdaraka

Govind Bachu - Dafli Wale Dafli Baja

The 12 Days of Bollywood

Whilst browsing on Soundcloud, I found this little seasonal gem. It's a reworking of the traditional song The 12 Days of Christmas Bollywood style. To listen to all the 12 days, visit Tara Arts on Soundcloud. 

Happy Christmas from Sari-Clad Speakers HQ! 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Sari-Clad Speakers on Twitter!

Sari-Clad Speakers, your favourite Desi music blog, is now on twitter. Follow me @saricladspkrs and stay up to date with what's happening on the blog. I'm a former twitter phobe, so please be patient while I'm still ironing out a few technical problems and getting my head round it. Twitter feed comming to the blog soon!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Dub Sharma's Take on Why This Kolaveri Di

Dub Sharma, the dubstep producer from Chandighar, has come up with his own remix of Why this Kolaveri Di.This is an underground bass remix with a hint of dubstep. The result is a dark and funky track that is well put together. Dub Sharma even managed to make Dhanush's vocals sound half decent in this remix. Out of all the weird and wonderful remixes I've heard, this is definitely one of the best. Dub Sharma is kindly giving it away as a free download, just click on buy this track now and add it to your collection of Kolaveri Di remixes.

Friday, 16 December 2011

The Dhol Foundation at the Royal Variety Performance

In case anyone missed it, here is TDF's act at the Royal Variety Performance. The performance starts at 2.18 in. The Dhol Foundation formed part of a drumming ensemble which included Stomp, the Japanese group Kodo, 3run and the Royal Marines Corps. It was truly spectacular. not only did it sound great, but it looked awesome thanks to some clever choreography. This has got to be one of the best cross cultural music collaborations I have seen in a long time.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Talvin Singh v Nitin Sawhney on Friction Free Download!

Back in September, Bobby Friction did a Talvin Singh v Nitin Sawhney mix on his show. He put this on soundcloud and I blogged about it when it first went up. Now Bobby has decided to give away this mix as a free download. Early Christmas presents don't get much better than this! You can download your copy here.

Govind Bhachu's Friction Lab Remix

Govind Bhachu, an 18 year old musician and producer from London, has remixed Dafli Wale Dalfi Baja for the Friction Lab. The track, which was originally from the film Sargam, premiered last night on BBC Asian Network's Friction show. This is a great remix is a dubstep reworking of a bollywood classic and Lata's voice floats nicely over the beats. It's currently available as a free download on soundcloud, so get it while it's still up there!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Dhol Foundation Open Royal Variety Performance Tonight

The Dhol Foundation, the drumming group who perform regularly at Womad, opened the Royal Variety Performance in Salford. The show is on  ITV tonight and starts at 7:30pm. TDF are playing alongside Stomp and Kodo, who are were flown over from Japan for the performance. The group recently performed on BBC Breakfast. You can watch the band's front man Johnny Kalsi explaining the Dhol to the BBC news website here.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Why This Kolaveri Di? Remixes Part 2

Why This Kolaveri Di, the Tamil and English song, is becoming a bigger viral than anyone could have ever imagined. Big name stars like Tigerstyle are putting together their own remixes and Akshay Kumar has bought the rights to the song. In my original post listing the remixes that were appearing, I predicted that there would be more to come. And there were. Here are a few more weird and wonderful remixes of Why This Kolaveri Di. 
The Kolaveri Di Exam

The Tigerstyle Bhangra Kolaveri Di

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Dhol Foundation on BBC Breakfast

Johnny Kalsi, the front man of The Dhol Foundation, has just tweeted that he will be on BBC Breakfast tomorrow. Johnny will be performing with 6 dhol drummers at 8:20am on the red sofa with Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams, so make sure you set your alarms properly tonight!

PropheC - Meri Jaan

PropheC, the singer and producer from Canada, has released a song called Meri Jaan. This is a great track and shows off PropheC's vocal ability. It has a funky an electro vibe similar to Zehar which he released in October. Like Zehar, PropheC has kindly made Meri Jaan is available as a free download at this time of year when wallets are looking a bit empty! You can get a copy of the track here

Take Five: Dev Anand

Today's Take Five is a tribute to Dev Anand, who sadly passed away on Saturday. The actor, who was 88, acted in 114 Hindi films and took the lead role in 110 of them.

Guide - Kya Se Kya Ho Gaya
Based on a novel by R.K. Narayan, Guide is an epic masterpiece of Bollywood film. In Kya Se Kya Ho Gaya, Dev Anand sings agains a backdrop of beautifully choreographed dancers.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Imagine - The Lost Music of Rajasthan

Imagine, the arts programme presented by Alan Yentob, will explore folk music in Rajasthan. The Lost Music Of Rajasthan will be shown on BBC1 at 10:35pm tomorrow. This episode of Imagine documents musicians who are under threat from the New India. Alan Yentob is guided by John Singh, who auditions musicians for a festival that he founded. The programme features drummers, a storytelling priest and Bhanwari Devi who has sung at the Edinburgh festival.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Kuldeep Manak Passes Away

Kuldeep Manak, the bhangra singer who worked with Jazzy B on his album Maharajas, died today aged 62. He was suffering from kidney problems and was admitted to hospital in Ludhiana with pneumonia. The singer was renowned for his traditional vocals and had hits throughout a career that spanned the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Why This Kolaveri Di? The Remixes

The sincerest form of flattery is imitation. In the music world, this translates to remixes. Why This Kolaveri Di is India's biggest hit right now and the remixes and cover versions are already appearing. In this post I present some of the wierd and wonderful versions of Why This Kolaveri Di in one handy list.

The Carnatic Fusion Kolaveri Di

The Psychedelic Trance Kolaveri Di

The Calvin Harris Mash Up Kolaveri Di

The Heavy Metal Kolaveri Di

 The Violin Instrumental Kolaveri Di

The Highpitched Dance Kolaveri Di
  The Crazy Hip Hop Kolaveri Di
The Anti Corruption Kolaveri Di

There are probably more Why This Kolaveri Di remixes out there and probably a few more to come. If there are any more good ones, there will be an updated list! 

Why This Kolaveri Di, Why?

Sometimes something unexpected happens and there is absolutely no reason behind it. The viral of Why This Kolaveri Di from the film 3, is one of them. This "soup song" about a boy's feelings after he has broken up with his girlfriend is a huge hit and has even been endorsed by Amitabh Bachan, Karen Johar and other stars of music and screen. The song is so popular that it even has its own T shirt!

But unlike the rest of India, I hate it! Unlike the usual hit songs I blog about, the lyrics are silly, the video is boring, the are no beautiful people dancing and I think that is part of its appeal. The film and music industries bombard us with flashy videos and catchy beats which can start to look and hear the same after a while. This song is so different that it was either going to be a massive flop or a massive hit.

There are a few other reasons why it has become such a hit. The lyrics are simple to remember and easy to sing along to. The lyrics are also easy to quote on twitter or facebook. The subject of the song, problems in love,  is something that many have experienced. The language of the song is also important. By singing in a mix of Tamil and broken English, Dhanush has ensured that the song appeals to a range of different backgrounds

It's interesting that this song was leaked like Chammak Challo from Ra.One. But instead of moaning about it, the directors of 3 went ahead and released the final version complete with a specially made video. They are now reaping the benefits of this quick thinking and have created a massive international buzz around a regional film that will not hit the screens until January. It is a marketing executive's dream.

According to the director, "kolaveri di" translates as "a murderous rage" and there are reports that husbands are singing this song to their wives. It takes a lot to write a hit song, but this song was apparently written in just 20 minutes and does have a slightly improvised feel to it which just adds to the appeal.

The success of this song must be making music directors think. Why This Kolaveri Di has broken the rules of what makes a hit song. I predict numerous songs in the style releasing soon to try and recreate the success that this song has had. Only music listeners can decide whether they will succeed in being as successful as Why This Kolaveri Di.

Check out the list of Why This Kolaveri Di remixes!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bilal Khan - Khabi Gham Na Aey

Bilal Khan, the guitarist who started his musical career under a tree in a University in Lahore, has made a video for the song Khabi Gham Na Aey. This is his second professional video after Bachana.

The song in this version is a different version to the acoustic version from the Bilal’s album Umeed. I like this video version more than the album version. The production is better and the extra instruments add interest. I like the option to turn on captions and sing along. Translated captions, like those on Bilal’s performance on Coke Studio, would have been nice for those who can’t understand what he is singing.

The video is set in a clothes shop and stars a shop assistant and Bilal as a mannequin. Nothing much happens in the first half. There are some arty shots of rain against the window and footage from the security cameras as well as close ups of the characters. In the second half it’s all action as the sales assistant accidentally knocks off Bilal’s head and puts it back on. There is an earthquake and lightening strikes. Bilal comes to life and makes his way over to his girl. But when he gets there and reaches out to her he finds that she herself doesn’t move.

Music videos starring shop mannequins are not new, but these are the first mannequins I have seen who suffer an existential crisis. I like it when a music video tells a story, but I’m not sure I want to spend time trying to figure out what that story is.  I like Bilal’s music because it is simple and beautiful. This video detracts from the music and the view spends too much time thinking about the video and not about how beautiful the song is.

There has been confusion over the story and what the exact meaning of the concept is. The film’s director Abdullah Haris tried to explain his abstract concept on his facebook page, but I’m of the opinion that if you have to explain your concept so that people can understand it then it doesn’t work in the first place. I rather like the following story suggested by a youtube user: the girl is not a shop assistant, but a mannequin who comes to life at night and spends her time admiring Bilal. When she has finally willed him to come alive, he touches her and their time together runs out.

Overall, this video is different, creative and interesting. The concept might be too abstract for some people, but I like the ambiguity of the story. Both the song ad the video are good but it’s a shame that there has been more talk about the concept of the video than the music.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Take Five: Trains

Today's Take Five is all about songs with trains. Dancing on them, singing on them and even pretending to be one.

Dil Se - Chaiyya Chaiyya
Filmed on a train to Ooty in Tamil Nadu, this is song had nothing to do with the rest of the film but was still a hit. Farah Khan's choreography, which was inspired by a Tamil film from the 70s won her an award. Suprisingly there was only one person who was injured while dancing on the train. A modern classic.

Mangal Singh - Rail Guddi

The original 80s party track that had its own dance which only a drunken uncle could have choreographed. No wedding, party or other celebration is complete without a round of Rail Guddi even if it falls apart after the first verse. There have been a few versions of this over the years, but none of them are as good as this one.

Bunty Aur Babli - Dhadak Dhadak

Rani Mukherji and Abhishek Bachan dream of new lives and dance on a few trains. Often overlooked by Kajra re, which seemed to dominate the film even though Ashwariya was only starring in a cameo role, this is a great song and dance number. I don't know how Abhishek managed to stay on than moving train.   
Bilal Khan - Lamha  

Bilal Khan doing what he does best with a guitar whilst on a train. Simple and atmospheric, the music speaks for itself against the back beat of the rails. 
Pakheezah - Chalte Chalte

A classic from the tragedy queen Meena Kumari. As she dances she remembers the stranger who admired her feet whilst she lay sleeping on the train and left them a note. Due to her ill health at the time of filming, some of the full length shots and dance scenes were performed by a body double. This remix is also worth a listen.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Romay - Playing With Sound Review

I have never managed to win a game of chess. Remembering what piece moves where is the easy part, it is knowing how to use the different abilities of each piece to win the game. Like chess, music tracks are made up different pieces which have to work together. Romay is a producer who knows this and the cover from his album Playing With Sound is witty, clever and unique. Although it did leave me wondering how Sound would actually move the chess pieces and who would have won if a chess match between the two was possible.

The music on the album switches between East and West then mashes them together. Each track contains a bit of each, even if it is only a subtle hint of an Indian vocal. There is a good mix of tracks with vocals and tracks that are purely instrumental. The beats and basslines range from the incredibly dark and grimy to those that are light and sunny. Each track is different to the last yet they are all connected to each other through great production and awesome beats. Romay knows what he is doing and it shows in this album. Every track is incredibly well put together and I didn’t feel the need to skip any due to poor production.

Romay has used original vocals on Playing With Sound rather than Bollywood samples, which makes the tracks sound fresh and is something he should be given credit for. Saahvan is a great song. Indian vocals are set against a drum and bass background and the effect is stunning. Sapna is another Indian vocals English beat song, but the effect is lighter and sweeter and compared the other songs on the album and feels like a chill out track.

Nothing Without You is another song that uses Asian vocals, but this is heavier on the bass. Sajana Tere Bin is hauntingly beautiful. In Realisation, Romay again floats vocals over a strong beat, but these are sung in English. It’s a happy track and a great one to end the album.

Even though I usually prefer tracks with vocals, the instrumental tracks on this album are very good. There is a bit in The Time is Now that reminds me of the theme from the film Goldfinger. Despite this it is a great dark track. Moonshadow and Step To My Toe are two more dark grimy tracks worth listening to.

is my favourite track on the album. It’s an addictive funky sitar track with a slightly grimy edge. Retro yet modern, this is what it would sound like if Ananda Shankar had a studio in Berlin. The sitar is relatively simple, but the mix behind it is complex and the overall effect is unique.

Verdict: Romay mixes beats and genres like a barman mixes cocktails and he has a unique way of drawing the listener into his music. This is a solid album which is well put together and wants to be played again and again. On the cover, Romay might be struggling to play chess with Sound, but after listening to the album it is clear that he won the game.

Read the Sari-Clad Speakers interview with Romay here.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Interview with Romay, the Man who Plays with Sound

Romay, the artist who set up his own record label, released an album yesterday called Playing with Sound. I distracted him from his work in the studio to talk about the album, why the UK produces the best dance music and his stash of Bollywood vinyl under the stairs.

Why did you feel the need to start your own record label?

There was no label out there that I thought was ready to take on my kind of music. We had a look around at the other labels a couple of years ago when we releasing Indian stuff. A lot of other people had their own labels as well. Nasha Records were doing their own stuff and releasing on their own label and so were quite a few other artists. We thought the way to go was to start our own label so we have more control over the music that we release.

Do you think Asian musicans and producers risk being marginalised and given an ethnic label particularly when it comes to the elecetronica and dubstep?

Depends what they make I suppose and the direction they take their music in. We do both English and Indian kind of stuff which you can hear on the album itself. We distribute our music through different channels. It doesn’t come out on the Asian market, it comes out on the English market under dance. We don’t really enter the Asian market even though we do use Asian vocals and things like that in our music.
We try to pitch more for a wider audience.

I started off doing English drum and bass. I released 23 singles during my time doing that before I started doing any Asian influenced dub step. Radio1 are playing our stuff quite happily and even the English DJs are playing are stuff as well. We are thinking about reaching wider variety of people rather than using just the grime aspect of dubstep we are trying to use more melodies, so its more accessible for a wider audience.

What future plans do you have for Accoustic Science?

To take on more artists onto the label. To give other artists more exposure and to carry on releasing some really good music. At the moment everyone is really liking what we are doing. There are a couple of dance EPs planned for next year. I’m working with Asian Dub Foundation on their next album, Working with The Truth on his next single. Keeping quite busy for the actual label itself. Nice plans for next year especially on the musical releases. We are looking forward to expanding the label with more artists and getting more music out there for next year

How did you come up with the name “playing with sound” - which has to be one of the most awesome album titles ever!
Thank you very much! I don’t know, it was one of the thoughts I had. I had to explain the album itself in the way of using Indian stuff, English stuff, dubstep, drum and bass and all the different sounds I had  in there. I thought the title really just approved the sound I was trying to push.In our industry you do try and make the tracks a little bit unique so you do start playing with the sound of the bass line and things like that so there is some kind of truth in there.

On “Ek Oh Jayahn” from the album and the single “Hassoure” you used two well known samples from an equally well known sample CD. What made you pick these samples over samples from bollywood films? You said on Nihal’s show you have a load of vintage vinyl underneath your stairs!
Yeh I do! I normally chose what is very melodic to me and I think I can write a song to. I do get sent a lot of vocal and stuff as well and about 90% of it I reject because I’m not really feeling them. It’s just as a individual and as an artist if I hear something really melodic sung to me  or if I hear something off a record and I think that’s really nice. If I can develop any thought behind it musically then I would always see If I can take it forward a little bit.

The whole load of the vinyl that I have, well my Dad’s vinyl, it just gives you a kind of reference about what people used to do back in the old days with the melodies. You don’t really go round sampling that kind of stuff.You can’t really release those samples from old school records.But it’s a good reference point. To see where the whole musical culture of Hindi music originated from.

The song I heard promoted first from the album was Heritage and that has quite a different sound from some of the other tracks on the album. I honestly thought there would be a few more tracks like heritage. What made you limit your use of Indian instruments to this one track?
Heritage is exactly what it is - it is a call back to our heritage of tabla and sitar. It was just that one track I wanted to do. I think a couple of the other tracks they have Indian stuff in there. It is mainly English stuff but because this track is more sitar driven, you notice it a bit more. With the sitar stuff its hard to find stuff that I can use and haven’t used before. I didn’t want too much complicated sitar stuff so I went for a simple sitar rhythm which worked really well in the track.

The reason I haven’t done any more of those tracks at the moment is just time, what I was listening to  and what influences me at the time. There are not that many sitar players doing stuff at the moment. Anoushka Shankar is still doing her stuff, but to me sometimes it sounds very dated. Like what other big artists have been doing. We like to do stuff ourselves. We’ll see what happens in the future I’m planning on working with some violinists and sitar players next year as well.

What future projects do you have regarding your own music now that you have made this album?

I think because I’ve done this album I have got a lot of stuff that I wanted to do out of my system. To show to  people hey look this is a new kind of sound that I would like to introduce and people have taken it on board so I’m really happy with that.

For next year I am working with lots of vocalists, lots more rappers and live vocalists. I’m developing a live show which will hopefully be ready by the end of this month. There is lots of production to be done for the two EPs - one full vocal EP and one dance EP for the English market.

You come across as a technical kind of guy. Your tracks have a certain structure and are well put together, yet listening to the album I feel like it was a labour of love. Do you ever have a conflict of heart and head musically speaking?
I always go with my heart if I am making something and I’m not feeling it. Even if it sounds good technically - I have made a few tracks like that which haven’t made the album. Really technically good. Sound fantastic, but not feeling the soul as much as I would expected to. So those tracks don’t make it to the album or don’t make it out anywhere. I always look for a definite piece of soul in the music I am trying to make.

Anything else you feel I should know about Playing with Sound that I haven’t asked you about?

It’s a representation of the last 10 years of my life in music and what I deem to be the best in UK dance. I like all genres of UK dance and I think we produce the best music in the entire world. To tell it honestly, all the best dance music comes from the UK and it is copied by everyone else. We are a really good source of independent music. We are just happy to be contributing good music to the scene. Hopefully people will appreciate us for it.

Each track I think took a month minimum to produce and mix. Sometimes I can make a track in about a week and half. But mixing and engineering it to make it sound even better. That’s where the additional part of the track comes through. When everything sounds really nice and not harsh to your ears - that’s when a you get the extra enjoyment of listening to the music. That’s what the extra week  that I spend working on the track- that’s the result of it. That’s what the big artists do. The produce something then send it off for post production. I don’t have the luxury or the funds to do that so I’ve spent most of my life learning how to do that, the professional techniques, and apply them to my music.

Stay tuned for the Sari-Clad Speakers review of Playing with Sound.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Take Five: Guitars

Today's Take Five is about songs making great use of guitars. Electronic, bass, acoustic, or even just as props, this Take Five has them all.

RDB- What

From the album Three, What is a great rock track from a trio usually better known for their Bhangra. Edgy and dark, this track did not get the airplay it deserved at the time. It's a great song from RDB and still sounds fresh six years later. 

Bilal Khan - Bachana
Bilal Khan's first guitar was a cricket bat which he used to strum along to Pakistani rock bands. Thankfully he picked up his first real guitar at 16 and gave the world Bachana. Simple and beautiful with a great video to match, this song earned Bilal followers all over the world. 

Kominas - Choli Ke Peeche
A cover version of the well known Madhuri dance number, the Kominas' version of Choli Ke Peeche is very different to the original. Packed with guitar riffs I can't imagine Madhuri dancing to this. This song is incredibly cool and credit has to go to the BBC for inviting the band to do a live session at Maida Vale studios.

 Yaadon Ki Baaraat - Chura liya
A classic here from Zeenat Aman, who looks incredibly fashionable in a white flared jumpsuit. She does not play the guitar for long and uses it more as a prop, but Asha and Mohd Rafi's vocals make this song great.

Apna Sapna Money - Dil Mein Baje Guitar
 This catchy dance number from Apna Sapna Money talks of hearing guitars playing in the heart. Why they had to shoot the song in a shopping center is beyond me.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Foji - Sajnaa

Foji, the singer who staged a bhangra flash mob in Birmingham, has released the video for his new single. Sajnaa is a love song from his album Daafa Ho Ja and was written and produced by Foji himself.

Thanks to the bhangra flash mob at the Bull Ring, Foji’s last video Pumbeeri won the award for best video at the Brit Asia TV awards. The pressure must have been on to create something great for his next video. But Sajnaa is slower and more mellow than Pumbeeri, so a fast paced video would not have worked.

The video for Sajnaa is simple. It shows Foji talking a long walk. First in a market, then in a park and then he strolls around London. His walk is intersected by shots of a woman also walking around. There are no glitzy effects, no back up dancers getting drunk in a club and no costume changes. The simplicity of the video could be mistaken for pretension, but I don’t think the bhangra industry has enough time and depth to be pretentious.

The mystery woman and Foji obviously don’t go for walks in the park very often. Foji wears bright white trainers, which cannot have stayed white for long after trampling down a muddy path. The woman must have been feeling cold without a jacket to cover up and I don’t think she could walk very far in skimpy flats.

I can’t work out if Foji is in love with, or has recently broken up with the woman as he takes his own life into his hands. Foji walks in the middle of a busy London road and crosses one traffic filled street like they do in India. You only walk down the middle of a London road if you want to get hit by a motorbike and have a death wish.

Overall this is a nice simple video and it makes a refreshing change to those set in a club. But the simplicity also means I will get bored of it after a few views and it will probably not win Foji any more awards.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Bikram Singh - Kinna Sohna Munda

Tigerstyle have released a preview of Bikram Singh's Kinna Sohna Munda. This is the second single from Bikram's forthcoming album BIK I AM, which should be released next month. 

This track is great. It's a solid mix of traditional bhangra which Bikram does so well and modern beats which are Tigerstyle's speciality. Bikram is a talented singer and the vocals on this track show just how good he is. KSM is well written and brilliantly produced by Tigerstyle. I liked this track as soon as I heard it on Bobby Friction's show and I think I like it even more than Beyonce. This will be one of those tracks that fills the dance floor. 

A video has been shot in California to accompay the new single and should be out soon. I hope this video is better than the one for Beyonce, which I thought was a bit static in places. I’ve seen Bikram drop some moves on the dance floor and I would have loved him to dance more himself in Beyonce instead of leaving all it to the girls.

I am counting down the days to the release of BIK I AM. Tigerstyle and Bikram has to be one of my favorite musical relationships. If the album is full of tracks like KSM, BIK I AM will be a hit.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Desi Boyz Soundtrack Review

“John”, “Dancing”, “Pole”, “Abraham” and “stripping” are words that I never thought I could string together in a logical sentence except in an alternative parallel universe. However on this very earth, a genius has mind read many women’s minds and made John Abraham pole dance in his latest film. Its just a shame that he had to cast Akshay Kumar to pole dance along side John. In my opinion Akshay does not have the same talent for pole dancing as John, Hritik or even Arjun Rampal.

After watching the trailers for the film I am  a little confused. If John and Akshay are the strippers, why are they surrounded by girls wearing less than they are in the song promo? It seems that men who watch Bollywood films today can’t do so without seeing a few bikini-clad women.

Allah Maaf Kare
has a nice modern feel to it, and I like this track apart from the weird vocals at the beginning and after the chorus. Jhak Maar Ka is another nice track. It’s peppy and upbeat and it’s probably my favourite track on the album. The video for it is pure Bollywood with multiple costume and location changes.

Let It Be is well sung but it is a bit bland. This is one of those songs that will probably sound better when it is picturised on someone. Suba Hone Na De is a bad attempt at a club anthem. It is cheesy and I couldn’t listen to it more than once. Tu Mera Hero is Suba Hone Na De by another name.

I have heard Make Some Noise For The Desi Boyz somewhere before. The vocals and chorus sound incredibly similar to another Bollywood hit, but I can‘t work out which one. This track is great, it will probably get a few plays on the dance floor, but after a few listens it has started to get on my nerves.

There are the obligatory remixes. The remix of Jhak Maar Ka was dire and the version of Suba Na Hone De was a slight improvement on the original, which shows how bad the song was. Make Some Noise For The Desi Boyz was tolerable, but nothing special.

Verdict: Sometimes a film isn’t all about the music and even if I hated the music I would still see this film to watch John Abraham pole dance. This album is ok, but it is full of clich├ęs. Soundtracks are used to boost film revenues, but the producers would have made more money bringing out an John Abraham underwear range or ab enhancers to tie in with the release rather than wasting the money coming up with this album.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Romay - Feel The Sound

Romay has released a track ahead of his forthcoming album  Playing with Sound. Feel the Sound is an mix of electronica and dubstep. The track is well put together and shows just how talented Romay is. I can barely wait until the album comes out, but this is a great little musical snack to keep me going. Best of all, Romay is giving this away as a free download, so make sure you add it to your mp3 player.

Take Five: Epic Songs

Today's Take Five is lists 5 songs that are incredibly long but well worth listening to. I have decided not to include remixes or live performances in the following list, as that would be cheating!

Guide - Piya Tose Naina 

This is an epic song in an epic film. At eight and a half minutes, this is almost a movie itself. The song is beautifully shot. Numerous costume and location changes and complex choreography keep the viewer interested. Waheeda Rahman is superb in this RD Burman song and Lata's vocals are amazing.

Talvin Singh - Traveller

Talvin Singh is no stranger to writing long tracks. From the album OK, the full version of Traveller is 11 minutes and 18 seconds but this was the longest version that I could find on the internet. Even though the album is over a decade old, it still sounds fresh and new. One to drift away to

Raja Tilak - Aaja to Aaja

Not only is this an epic song, it's also an epic dance off. From the 1958 film Raja Tilak, Aaja to Aaja shows a dance starring Padmini and Vyjayanthimala who are probably the best dancers from that era.Unusually for a song of nine minutes, there are no costume changes and no location changes. The dancing is enough to hold the viewer's attention. Asha Bhosle and Sudha Malhotra provide the vocals. My only wish is that it had been shot in colour to show off the amazing jewellery and costumes.

Cornershop - Spectral Mornings

From the underrated album Hand Cream for a New Generation, Spectral Mornings is one very long sitar funk track. At over 14 minutes long, this is one psychedelic party that never ends and when it does end I press the repeat button. This track has a sixties feel to it, yet feels modern at the same time. Radically different to the much loved Brimful of Asha.

Sahotas - Chal Balliyeh

Bhangra songs are usually very short and do not last longer than about 4 minutes. Perhaps it's because the dhol player's arms get tired! But Chal Balliyeh from the 1989 Aaja album is quite long at over 6 minutes and 43 seconds and was one of the longest bhangra songs I could find. Surj Sahota's vocals are stunning.

Monday, 24 October 2011

5 Days of Facebook

I remember the early days of facebook, when the only members were those from America or students at red brick universities. Some of those students, who obviously had far too much time on their hands, even wrote their own facebook song. It was cheesy and funny at the time, but now looks incredibly dated. Does the friendly monster still exist?

Now India has its own facebook song that it can be proud of. 5 Days of Facebook by Rahul Bhatt is a masterpiece that has gone viral. The video is great as it tells a realistic bollywoodesque love story and completely absorbed my attention for the whole seven minutes and fifty seconds. When I usually watch a music video, I usually switch off after a minute. Admittedly I guessed how the video would end on day 3, but even so I could not stop watching. The spilt screen is both simple and clever once your eyes get used to it.

I was so absorbed in the video that I failed to notice how beautiful the song is until I watched it again. It is understated and well written. The track is modern and fresh and will be around for much longer than 5 days. Rahul Bhatt has an album called Kal coming out soon and if the other songs on it are as good as this, it will be a great album.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Shadow Falls on Sunrise Radio

The Guardian has reported that Sunrise Radio raised £160,000 for charity but let the money sit in a bank for seven years instead of donating it to charity. An investigation by the Charity Commision found that the money, which was donated by listeners, had accrued an extra £21,000 in interest whilst sitting in a bank account named Sunrise Radio South East Asia Disaster Appeal. The listeners first raised money after the 2004 tsunami and again after the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.

Avtar Lit, the man who owns Sunrise Radio, said a presenter could not get a visa for Pakistan to deliver the money and also blamed the civil war in Sri Lanka. He now admits that he should have passed the money onto appropriate charities.

The Charity Commision have passed its findings to Ofcom, who may launch its own investigation. Ofcom has the power to revoke Sunrise Radio's broadcasting license, which means that the station could be taken off air.

In my own personal opinion it is stunts like this that prevent Asian music and Asian media from being taken seriously. A radio station that claims on its website that it is "the greatest Asian radio station in the world" has a responsibility to be open about its activity, especially where listeners' money is concerned. It seems Avtar Lit is claiming this was an honest mistake. But I would like to know how the presenter was going to distribute the money if he had got the visa to go there? Give it to charities in Pakistan or ask those in need to form an orderly line? Trust and loyalty are very important things in Radio. I am not a regular listener of the station, but if I was I would be very hesitant to donate any money to charity via Sunrise again.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Talvin Singh v Nitin Sawhney on Friction

Bobby Friction, the voice of late nights on BBC Asian Network, has brought two Asian Underground heroes together. Last month the DJ played a Talvin Singh v. Nitin Sawhney mix on the Friction show and he has now shared it on soundcloud. These are two extraordinarily talented musicians who have always been compared and contrasted, but to my knowledge they have never been put alongside each other until now. This mix showcases some of their best tracks and is well worth a listen. Huge thanks to Bobby for making this mix and uploading it. Bobby is playing an Asha v. Lata mix on Thursday, so make sure you listen to that.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Niraj Chag on BBC 2 Tonight - Again!

After writing the score to City Beneath the Waves: Pavlopetri, Niraj Chag has written the score for another programme on BBC2. Origins of Us  is a three part series looking at the story of evolution through changes in human anatomy. It starts tonight on BBC 2 at 9pm. Niraj Chag talks about composing the music for Origins of Us here.

Romay's Tribute to Jagjit Singh

Romay, an artist who started his own label called Acoustic Science, has released a tribute to the late Jagjit Singh. Mhilikher Remix is Romay's take on a duet by Jagjit and wife Chitra. It's a lovely laid back remix which keeps the voices of Jagit and Chitra at the heart of the track. Romay is giving the track away as a free download via soundcloud, so make sure you add it to your collection.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Nindy Kaur - Deewani

Nindy Kaur, the poster girl for Three Records, has released a video to accompany her song Deewani. This is the third single from the upcoming album Nindypendent.

The song itself has a similar vibe to Akhian, but a softer sound. It has a funky yet modern feel to it. I can’t wait to try it out on the dance floor. The lyrics were written by a friend of Nindy’s and the slick production on the track is thanks to RDB.

The video is much simpler than the other two singles. There is no storyline like there was in Akhian. It consists of just a few dancers, husband Manj and Nindy herself in several different outfits. The dancers have been chosen for their ability to dance, rather than the lack of clothes that they wear, which is a refreshing way of selecting them. I like the fact that the simplicity of the video allows the view to focus on the song itself rather than getting distracted by the other things going on. The video reflects the clubby vibe of the song, without actually setting the action in a club. It means it is safe for watching with the more conservative relatives.

Ultimately, I find Nindy Kaur is a breath of fresh air in an industry that is overwhelmingly male dominated. Deewani shows that she has staying power in an environment that if full of one hit wonders.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Speedy Singhs / Breakaway Review

There is a certain genre of film. It pretends to be a bollywood film, but is made abroad by a director who is either a non -Indian or an Indian who has not lived on the subcontinent for a long time. It has a mainstream release alongside it’s Hollywood counterparts and has three defining features:

1) The main character will do something that the parents will disagree with and the parents will complain their son/daughter is not Indian enough.
2) This disagreement will be resolved in the end.
3) The soundtrack to the film will be full of Punjabi and bhangra tracks to appeal to the Indians abroad.

Speedy Singhs, or Breakway falls into this genre. At eight songs, this feels like a relatively short album. But in terms of the big name artists it has on it, it sounds like a bhangra compilation album rather than a film soundtrack.

RDB have teamed up with Ludacris and Akshay Kumar to produce Shera Di Khom. This track has a great feel to it and Ludacris pulls his weight throughout the track. RDB also feature on Sansar. The mix of rap and Punjabi vocals make it sound a bit like the great year of 2004 all over again. Which is apt as one of the sample in the track was borrowed from Usher and  first used circa 2004. And then again in 2009 in De Dana Dan.

Ne Aaja Ve is a Rishi Rich Production with Veronica and H-Dhami providing the vocals. Veronica’s vocals are slightly weak and this is disappointing as she is the only female voice on a rather manly soundtrack. Despite that, it’s a good pop track. But the video for it makes me cringe.

Chaddi Wale Yaar
is my favourite song on the album after Shera Di Khom. I am a fan of Josh and it is great to hear them on this soundtrack. This song is a perfect blend of pop, bhangra with a few whiffs of testosterone. I can see this being an anthem for the boys, especially on the dance floor.

Jassi Sidhu’s attempt of Rail Guddi is slightly disappointing. Mangal Singh’s version  is a classic and I can’t see this new version replacing it in any time soon. Also included is Veer Ji Viyon. This is a slightly different version of a song from the Jassi’s album Reality Check which first came out in 2003 and is nothing new. It’s a good song, but I just prefer it when an album is made up of new original sounds rather than editing old ones.

Verdict: The true test of a soundtrack is if it can stand alone without the film. This album passes that test. There is much more bhangra on this than the typical filmi album but it is well produced. This album will be on my play list for a long time. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Take Five: Happy Birthday Amitabh Bachchan

The bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan is 69 today! Here are five songs celebrating some of his best work.

Don - Khaike Paan Banaraswala



Amitabh shows SRK how it's done in the original Don. Those brown flares were the fashion statement of the day. Some Desi men have worn them ever since.

  Sholay-Yeh Dosti


From the super hit masala film Sholay, this song sums up true friendship. Dhamendra starred alongside Amitabh as a petty criminal who is ordered to defeat the dacoit Gabbar Singh. One of the most successful Bollywood films ever.

Silsila - Dekha Ek Khwab


Chandni and Amit, played by Rekha and Amitab, fall in love in the film Silsila. A field of tulips in full bloom makes a great place for a Bollywood love song. They don't make them like this anymore.

 Khabi Nahi



Amitabh teams up with Adnan Sami to create this song from the album Tera Chera. The star provided his own vocals instead of using a playback singer. Thankfully the black and yellow jackets did not end up as a fashion trend, unlike the flares from Don.

KANK - Rock and Roll Soniye


From the film Khabi Alvida Na Kehna, Amitabh dances alonside his son in Rock and Rolle Soniye. Amitabh plays a character called sexy Sam and proves he can still keep up with the younger generation, not to mention an army of Marilyn Monroe look alikes. 



New Mashup from Dub Sharma

Dub Sharma, the dubstep and electronica producer from Chandighar, has created his own version of Switty Tera Pyar from the film Delhi Belly. The mashup also incorporates King Kong by Bare and Datsik. The result is a great piece of dark bollywood dubstep perfect to listen to as the days get shorter. Dub Sharma has kindly made it available to download, so make sure you add this to your mp3 player.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Jagjit Singh Passes Away

Jagjit Singh, known as The Ghazal King, has passed away after suffering from a brain haemorrage. The 70 year old singer passed away this morning at 8:10am Indian time in Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital. He was admitted to the hospital on 23rd September just hours before he was due to give a concert in the city.

During is 50 year career he worked as a playback singer in Bollywood, produced over 80 albums and sung together with his wife Chitra. Jagjit Singh is credited with reviving the populatiy of the Ghazal art form. He was awarded India's third highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan, in 2003.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Niraj Chag on BBC 2 Tonight

Niraj Chag, the man who gave us Ur Jaa, has written the music for a programme showing at 8pm tonight on BBC Two. City Beneath the Waves: Pavlopetri follows experts as they excavate the world's oldest submerged city off the coast of Greece. CGI brings the 3,500 year old city to life and the documentary is one of the Telegraph's highlights this weekend. Even if you have no interest in ancient Greece or special effects, it will be worth watching just to hear Niraj Chag's music.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Ra.One Soundtrack Review

Never has a soundtrack suffered from so much hype and high expectations. First there were the leaks, then the attempted live broadcast of the launch on you tube. Artists include internationally known Akon and the Prague Philharmonic. It was also composed by Vishal-Shekar, a duo known for hits such as Om Shanti Om and Bachna Ae Haseeno. Surely Ra.One has to has to be an instant hit?

I will admit that I am still sceptical and cynical about the leak. If the early unofficial release was not backed by the producers composers and singers, why would respected radio stations be playing it? I cannot believe that radio stations are allowed to legally broadcast what was essentially an illegal download. 

At least the mole picked the right song to leak and thanks to him or her we have all heard Chammak Challo. It is a mix of styles, beats and genres. Catchy and multilingual, this is going to be played all around the world for a long time. Akon’s pronounciation is impressive, but it does not strike me as an Akon song. Chammak is a great song, and it think it would have worked even if a lesser known artist was providing the vocals instead of Akon. Akon’s voice is used to better effect in Criminal. He sounds much more like himself. Akon sings in Hindi again, but leaves most of the Hindi to Vishal Dadlani.

There are 15 songs on the album, three of which are instrumental themes. There are no less than five versions of Chammak Challo. Even if you love the song, this is a little too much. In my opinion none of the remixes are as good as the original.

Chammak Challo dominates this soundtrack, but the other songs are worth listening to. Dildara is a nice song. It’s romantic without being too slushy. The inclusion of Stand By Me works, but I would have like the whole song to have been original. Right By Your Side is a fun catchy pop track and Raftaarein has a great feel to it.

Bharein Naina
is another nice song, but suffers an identity crisis. Bonus points for getting the Prague Philharmonic Choir to sing on this track, but all the elements don’t quite gel together. In places I feel like I am listening to two different songs. It’s a shame, as in places it could have been an amazing song, but doesn’t quite get there.

Jiya Mora Ghabaarye has a futuristic feel to it. This ties in with the theme of the film and I thought there would have been more songs like this. It reminds me of Prodigy’s Omen as it has the same dark tone to it. Sukhwinder Singh performs admirably out of his comfort zone, but his voice is lost among the heavy beats.

Verdict: There are some gems on this soundtrack, but they feel like an afterthought on an album that is all about the catchy Chammak Challo. It is a good album, it's just not as great as the hype suggested it would be.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Punjabi MC - Jatti

Punjabi MC has released a video for the single Jatti. This is the fourth single he has released from the album The Raj. The song has a more traditional sound than the other singles and the video reflects this.

The video plays up to the stereotype that in the good old days the Punjab was a green and pleasant land. Punjabi girls wore ghagras and parandas and spent their time embroidering phulkaris, dancing gidda and swinging on swings hung from trees. This old world Punjab provides the backdrop for a boy meets girl scenario.

There is a love story here, but I’m not quite sure exactly what it is. She goes straight from eyeing him up to lying in his arms then hits him with a stick before waving her paranda at him. Has she met him before or did she decide that running off with a stranger and his horse was preferable to doing embroidery and making saag and maki di roti? Either way, she is very quick to run away with him.

There is one element in this video that does not fit and annoyingly flashes up throughout. Why is PMC dancing alone in the woods in a leather jacket and sunglasses? He looks slightly scary and I would not like to bump into him if I went down to the woods. He does not fit the description of the handsome stranger, so cannot play him in the video, but looks out of place where he is. If he wanted to star in his own music video, he should have been the girl’s father running after the happy couple and demanding that his daughter finishes the cooking before eloping with a stranger.

Overall Jatti is a nice video, but doesn’t always make sense. It does however make a change from the usual bhangra videos and is safe to watch with parents or other conservative relatives. I hope in future PMC concentrates on the music rather than trying to get himself in the video.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan on the BBC Red Button

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, the nephew of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, is on the BBC's Red Button. The singer talks to Asian Network's Sonia Deol about his life and work. The interview contains rare footage of Rahat singing alongside his uncle and live songs recorded during his recent UK tour. Other highlights include a live unaccompanied rendition of the Bollywood hit Tere Mast Mast Do Nain. Rahat also has one of the nicest laughs I have heard for a long time!

The programme is available to watch until Sunday. For details about how to watch visit the BBC Asian Network.

Jay Dabhi - O Mere Dil Ke Chain

  Jay Dabhi - O Mere Dil Ke Chain by jaydabhi

Jay Dabhi, the DJ behind mashups such as Mumbai After Dark and Kawan's Other Life, has come up with a new track. O Mere Dil Ke Chain is a remix of Lata's take on the classic Kishore Kumar track from the film Mere Jeevan Saathi. This is a great remix. Jay keeps the focus on Lata's vocals, rather sampling them to death. The sound of Lata's voice floating over the beats is awesome.

It's available for free download via soundcloud, so get it while you can!


Take Five: Keeping it in the Family

Every week we feature five songs that have something in common. Today we take five songs produced by family businesses.

Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle - Dhadka O Dil Dhadka

Two sisters whose voices have dominated bollywood. Taken from the film Bharosa, Dhadka O Dil Dhadka was danced to by sisters Sai and Subbalaxmi who are better known for their dance to Apalam Chapalam. There are some very impressive moments in this clip, both in the singing and the dancing.

RDB - Sadi Gali

Three talented brothers who have been producing hits for a decade. First released on the album Three, Sadi Gali caught the attention of bollywood and was featured in the film Tanu Weds Manu. Check out some of the remixes. Lehmber at his best.

Sahotas - Hass Hogia

The original bhangra boy band started out in the 80s. Fans still live in hope that these brothers will make another album. From the album Brotherhood, Hass Hogia is a soulful track with a bhangra beat. Guaranteed to make you smile.

Swami - Desi Rock

Originally formed by brothers Simon and Diamond, Swami blend a whole range of styles to give us a sound like no other. Simon left the band, but his cousin S-Endz now provides rap vocals for the group. Desi Rock takes a sample from the film Roti Kapda aur Makhan and turns it into a unique bhangra anthem. Sometimes heard playing loudly from fast cars.

Zeb and Haniya - Chup

These cousins sing in a range of different languages and produce music that is utterly unique. From the album with the same name, Chup is an sunny song with a latin feel to it. Perfect for hot summer days.