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.