Sunday, 23 December 2012

Yo Yo Honey "Satan" Singh

Bhangra artists tend to be quite predictable. They like their videos to be full of cars and scantily dressed models. They do not get topless, turn into an evil leader or crack a whip. 

Honey Singh has done exactly this in a new video called Satan. Released on the 12th December, it taps into the fear about the world ending. Honey Singh plays Satan, an evil figure with sinister glowing eyes who has enslaved the souls of innocent people. They worship him in a hypnotic trance. An angel fights him to save their souls and ultimately good triumphs over evil.

The concept of the video is unique and I don't think I have seen anything like it. It's great to see an artist step out of their comfort zone and do something different. I love the storytelling and how it feels like a mini movie. But a half naked Honey Singh wielding a whip is an image I could do without.

The track that accompanies the video is repetitive and far too long. As a soundtrack it works thanks to the atmosphere it creates. However, it is not something that you would want to listen to on a regular basis. There are vocals from Honey Singh, but they were forgettable and seemed out of place with the rest of the song.

Overall this is a the oddest video I have seen for a while. There is a huge difference between this and Honey Singh's other videos. While I like originality, I would prefer Honey Singh's next video to be less fantasy and more reality.

Monday, 17 December 2012

James Whetzel - Holiday: Sarod & Beats

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is almost upon us. With all the decorations, mountains of food and the promise of presents, December is a great month. However, the music around at the end of the year is usually dire. It’s the same old tired mix of Christmas pop, traditional carols and end of year party anthems. Last minute shopping is far more stressful when done to the sound of Last Christmas or Mistletoe and Wine

One musician has made a holiday album that is different from the usual seasonal music. James Whetzel, a Seattle based sarod and tabla player, has recorded eleven traditional Christmas songs and given them a twist. Holiday: Sarod & Beats uses a range of instruments such as the sarod, dhol and the mandolin to reinvent well known carols.

All the holiday songs are instantly recognisable but have an Asian touch. This is noticeable in the beats, instrumentation and the way each song is constructed. James has chosen the right carols to makeover as I think there are some traditional carols, such as O Come All Ye Faithful, which would not have worked.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Ravi Shankar Passes Away

The sitar legend Ravi Shankar died yesterday in a hospital in San Diego. He had undergone heart surgery on Thursday but recovery proved too difficult. He was 92.

He was born Robindra Shankar on the 7th of April1920 in Varanasi, the youngest of four brothers. Ravi Shankar was originally a dancer and toured with his brother Uday's dance troup around the world. He gave up dancing aged 18 to become a sitar player. For seven years Ravi Shankar studied under Baba Allauddin Khan, founder of the Maihar Gharana style of Hindustani classical music.

Ravi Shankar was the first Indian musician to become a household name in Europe and American. He collaborated with a number of western musicians including Philip Class, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, jazz saxophonist John Coltrane and Beatle George Harrison who once called him "the godfather of world music."

He played all over the world including Woodstock and the 1967 Monterey Pop festival. Ravi Shankar was also a composer for ballets and films. He wrote a number of film scores including Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy and Richard Attenborough's Gandh. In 1999, Ravi Shankar was awarded the highest civilian citation in India the Bharat Ratna, or Jewel of India.

For the last years of his life, Ravi Shankar lived in Encinitas, California. He is survived by his wife Sukanya, Granmmy winning daughter Norah Jones and daughter Anoushka Shankar Wright who also played the sitar. He also leaves behind three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

M.I.A. - atTENTion

M.I.A., who sang with Madonna and Nicky Minaj at this year's Super Bowl, sent a new song  to her fans after they spammed her all day via Twitter. atTENTion is what she sent these fans who then kindly shared it with the rest of the world on youtube. The track is a nice dose of M.I.A. and has lots going for it.

If you are wondering what M.I.A. is saying here are the lyrics with an in depth explanation.

H/T to Bobby Friction who posted it on his Tumblr

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Miss Neelam's Magical Nail Polishes

Often when listening to songs in Hindi or Punjabi I wonder if I understand them correctly because the lyrics are so bizarre. A song by Punjabi artist called Miss Neelam made me do just this. Nail Polishan is a song and video about a girl who changes her nail polish daily so it matches with the shirt colour of the guy she likes.

There are a few obvious flaws in the concept - how does Miss Neelam know what colours the guy will be wearing in advance and what if she didn't have a certain colour that matched? Despite these flaws, the guy magically notices her nails and the love story begins. There is even a twist in the tale when the guy changes his top so it doesn't match, but by the end of the video the pair are an item.

In the real world, I can't imagine this method would work to attract a man (and it may even damage your nails) but for a music video the concept is sweet and girly. It's also original and much funnier than other videos by Punjabi singers that I have seen. Nail art has become incredibly popular all over the world, but I never thought I would see it in a Punjabi music video. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Take Five: Gangnam Style

Gangnam Style is the viral video of the century and the pop single of the millenium. Everyone has heard the biggest song ever to come out of Korea. Here are five Desi versions of Psy's masterpiece.

D'Elusive - Punjabi Gangnam Style 
This hilarious video and song combination gives Gangnam Style a Punjabi twist. The Punjabi lyrics are great and I love the way "Sohni Kudiye" replaces "Sexy Lady". The stars of the video are not afraid to make fun of themselves

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Imagine - How Music Makes Us Feel

Ever wondered why the effects of music can be so powerful? In this week's edition of Imagine Alan Yentob explored how music can arouse certain emotions in human. He talked to a range of musicians and scientists including dubstep artist Mala and Emile Sand, who sung at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics.

The programme doesn't talk to any Asian artists or cover Desi music, but is still worth watching to learn about the different musical devices used by composers. One musicologist showed how Adele's use of a major key in Someone Like You portrays her as a strong yet vulnerable women with happy memories.

If you missed How Music Makes Us Feel you can watch it on the BBC iPlayer. There are also some extra web clips here.

MoFolactic feat. G-ta - Haa!

MoFolactic, one half of the Australian DJ and production duo MixtaBishi and MoFolactic, has released a new song featuring g-ta. Haa! is a bhangra meets bass track with Amar Singh providing some great traditional Punjabi vocals.

The video for Haa! pokes fun at aspects of the bhangra industry, particularly ghost production. This is when artists pay producers (ghost producers) for songs which they then pass off as their own. It also mocks the use of scantily clad models and expensive flashy cars in bhangra videos.

Haa! starts off with a faux news report about Asian men resorting to ghost production to attract women. It then shows a DJ using MoFolactic as a ghost producer and follows him as he makes his video. There are contemporary references throughout and little jokes - I particularly liked the Stig dancing and the the guy reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Dr Zeus had a cameo role in the video and his shots were a nice contrast to the funny scenes. The last minute of the video shows some outtakes and how to make a man cry.

With it's heavy bass and strong vocals, the song is great but the video is sheer genius. It succeeds in getting the point across and being funny at the same time. A lot of though has gone into the making of Haa! and I wish other bhangra videos were as clever as this one.

If you like Haa! you can download the track from MoFolactic's  facebook page here, or wait until the the 6th December when it is available on iTunes.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Rekha Sawhney - Shayad Woh Ladka

Rekha Sawhney, who has performed with the live Bollywood cover band Botown, has released her debut single on iTunes. Shayad Woh Ladka is an energetic catchy song with a retro feel. Rekha's slightly breathy vocals are brilliant and gives the single a dream like girly sound.

The video for Shayad Woh Ladka is simple and fun. It's mostly shot outdoors and has the feel of a glamorous summer garden party complete with a rock band. Look out for the guest appearance from Eeyore!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Charles Bosco, Ambika Jois and Anshul Tomer - Saath

Music producer Charles Bosco has teamed up with vocalists Ambika Jois and Anshul Tomer to make Saath. It's a gorgeous romantic song with some great vocals. Ambika and Anshul sing well together and I'd like to see them doing more projects together in the future. The song has a simple video to accompany it. The video shows Ambika and Anshul snuggling up under an umbrella on a park bench and lying in the grass.
Saath is available to download through the Charles Bosco app on iTunes. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

RDB - We Doin' It Big

RDB, the brothers who were dubbed "the Asian So Solid Crew" by The Face magazine, are finally ready to release their next single tomorrow. We Doin' It Big features Smooth and Raftaar, who are the latest artists to sign to Three Records.

The video for the song promises to be bigger that the song. We Doin' It Big features 34 of the biggest names in the British Asian music industry alongside Surj and Manj. Apache Indian, DCS, DJ Sanj, Dr Zeus, H Dhami, Jassi Sidhu, Jaz Dhami, Jazzy, B, Jind Mahi, Juggy D,  Metz 'n' Trix, Panjabi MC, Surrinder Rattan and Tigerstyle are some of the artists who will make an appearance in the video.

We Doin' It Big is an upbeat positive track. It's instantly recognisable as an RDB track and has a slow laid back groove to it with plenty of added bass. The number of pre-orders on iTunes has been high and I'm sure it will go to the top of the charts when it released.

It's worth highlighting how RDB have promoted We Doing' It Big. All too often artists release a short teaser a few weeks before release which they promote constantly and usually run out of steam by the offical release date. However, RDB have been giving us hints of what they have been up to since August and have built up the hype slowly. Photos on social media from both RDB and other artists involved in the video have given fans tantalising glimpses of the action. 

Along with the photos, their are no less than four promo videos. One is particularly poignant as it shows Kuly with Manj and Surj recording the track in their studio. The other teasers show Surj flying a helicopter and the making of the video. 

Here is a handy round up of all the promo videos.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Panjabi Hit Squad Remix Gangnam Style

Panjabi Hit Squad have released their remix of popular Korean pop song Gangnam Style. The VIP Desi Remix has been played on the Asian Network, but it has finally been made available for download on SoundCloud. Panjabi Hit Squad have cleverly incorporated lots of well known Bhangra tracks into their remix. Sadi Gali by RDB, Hai Hai by Panjabi Hit Squad, High Heels by Jaz Dhami, Has Has by Surinder Rattan and Metz n Trix and Janeeman by Raxstar are all set against PSY's crazy vocals.

As PHS say on their SoundCloud page: "Downlad, Play and TURN IT UP!!"

Romay - Digital Ragas

Romay, the producer who set up his own record label called Acoustic Science, has released a new single via his SoundCloud page. Digital Ragas is a dubstep track which has had air play for a few weeks on Nihal's Radio 1 show. A sitar solo is set against plenty of bass with a hint of vocals. The track is full of high quality musical wizardry that I associate with Romay and there is a nice dark mood that he manages to create.     

Romay has made Digital Ragas available as a free download via SoundCloud, so make sure you add it to your collection now. 

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sound Shikari - Ranjha

Sound Shikari, a Muscat based dubstep artist who used to go by the name G Productions, has released a track on his SoundCloud page. Ranjha is a moody dubstep track. It starts off slow and brooding and speeds up two thirds of the way in which gives it an unusual ending. Perfect for cold dark evenings.
Sound Shikari has put this up as a free download, so get it while you can!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Desi Gangnam Style

Almost everyone all over the world has heard of Gangnam Style, the Korean pop single that is the most like video in youtube history. The song has spawned numerous remixes and parodies. But apart from incorporating Gangnam Style into dances at Asian weddings, very few of these parodies have a Desi theme. There have been a few bhangra remixes put onto youtube, but they were so bad that they were not worth blogging about.

Finally there is a good Desi remix of Gangnam Style. Mickey Singh has come up with a Punjabi version that pays tribute to PSY's hit without destroying it. Unlike the other remixes, the use of dhol is kept to a minimum which doesn't drown out the Gangnam instrumental. The lyrics are in Punjabi and work well with the Gangam theme. There is definitely a bhangra flavour to the remix and is almost as crazy as the original. It is a pity that this remix has been released now at the end of the wedding season, as I think it would have worked well on the dancefloor at Desi weddings.

If you like the Desi remix of Gangnam Style, you can download it  from Mickey Singh's SoundCloud page here.

Hat Tip to UrbanAsian

Ash Roy - Train To Ragasthan

Ash Roy, a founding member of the Dj collective Jalebee Cartel, has released a track on his SoundCloud page. Train To Ragasthan was made by Ash ahead of the the Ragasthan music festival which he is playing at in November in Jaisalmer. The house track has a modern feel with clean lines. The middle section skilfully incorporates some of the ambient sounds of everyday India.

Train to Ragasthan is available for free download, so why not add it to your collection.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tigerstyle - Ay-Ha!

Tigerstyle, whose music featured on the soundtrack of a video game called Project Gotham 3, are releasing their new single Ay-Ha! tomorrow. Ay-Ha! is the third song from their upcoming album Digi-Bhang.

The track kicks off with some inventive beat boxing before launching into a  loud and proud bhangra dance track. However, as this is a song from Tigerstyle it is no ordinary bhangra dance track. Traditional vocals from Sarbjeet Kaur and Billa Bakshi are set against some heavy bass and choppy beats. The various effects and instruments blend well together and the track makes an instant aural impact.

Ay-Ha! should please those who thought Ik Banere neglected bhangra fans. Whilst not as unique as Ik Banere, Ay-Ha! is far more accessible. However, it is significantly shorter than both Ik Banere and Kudi. I have listened to the complete track but just I was getting into it, the song finished. As there is so much going on another minute would have helped to process all the great new sounds that Tigerstyle are throwing out. 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Yash Chopra Passes Away

Yash Chopra, the film maker who launched Yash Raj Films in 1973, has died at the age of 80. According to the Times of India, he was admitted to Lilavati hospital in Bandra Mumbai on 13 October after being diagnosed with dengue fever. Yash Chopra had been suffering complications of the disease and suffered multiple organ failure. He was getting ready to release his latest film Jab Tak Hai Jaan and reportedly cancelled a trip to the Swiss Alps to film a song after he was admitted to hospital.

The director, screenwriter and film producer was born on 27 September 1932 and was the youngest of eight children. He worked as an assistant director to I.S. Johar before working for his brother B.R. Chopra. He directed his first film in 1959 called Dhood Ka Phool and went on to make hits including Khabi Khabie, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayange and Chandni. He won six National Film Awards and 11 Filmfare awards, including four Filmfare Awards for best director. Yash Chopra was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2005 for his contributions towards Indian cinema.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Sound Shikari - The Silver Cord

Sound Shikari, a Muscat based dubstep artist who used to go by the name G Productions, has released a track on his SoundCloud page. The Silver Cord is an ambient dubstep track which is over six and a half minutes long. It builds slowly and there is a chilled vibe throughout the track. The Silver Cord has a nice mix of traditiona sitar, tabla and flute whilst keeping things modern with some added bass.

Sound Shikari has put this up as a free download, so get it while you can!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Jab Tak Hai Jaan Review

Jab Tak Hai Jaan is full of big names acting, singing and collaborating together. AR Rahman, Gulzar, Yash Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan, Raghav, Rabbi, and Shreya Ghoshal. Accordingly the expectations are sky high and there is still another month of hype to go before the film releases this Diwali on the 13th November. However, the soundtrack was released a few days ago and is already number 1 on iTunes.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan
did not sound like a work by AR Rahman on the first listen. The songs somehow lacked some of that intangible magic that AR Rahman’s compositions usually have. This is one of those sountracks that grows on the listener. It takes a few listens to fully appreciate the subtleties in the music and to understand all the lyrics.

The title track is buried towards the end of the album. It takes a while to warm up but the slow intro allows the listener to fully appreciate Javed Akhtar’s vocal talent. The song is good but lacks the grandeur of a title track and needed to be a bit longer to leave a lasting impression.

There are two Punjabi language songs on Jab Tak Hai Jaan and both have a reflective philosophical feel. Sung by Harshdeep Kaur, Heer is a girl’s plea to be one romantic literary character over another. It’s soft, lilting and traditional. Challa by Rabbi is well rounded and provides a good start to the album. It’s nice to hear his lyrics and vocals on a Bollywood soundtrack.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Jind Mahi - Saday Naal

Jind Mahi, the latest signing at Three Records, has released his debut single and a video to go with it. Saday Naal is taken from his debut album Like Father Like Son, which is a collaboration with his father and Binder Pasla.

The video starts with Jind sitting at a piano and singing his story about his love for a girl. This story was slightly confusing and I had to watch it a few times before I understood it. The woman starring in the video showed little emotion or expression and it was hard to work out whether she was the unrequited love interest, wronged victim or had done something wrong herself. The story line would have felt more developed had there been less shots of Jind singing and the shot in the bedroom should have been longer to clarify it.

Saday Naal has a reflective mellow mood. The piano used in the introduction gives way to more electronic sounds. The beats used change tempo throughout the song. It's a clever technique and means that the feel of the song changes constantly. Jind's vocals are good and give Saday Naal a memorable haunting quality.

Overall, this is a good debut from Jind Mahi despite a slightly confusing storyline. I look forward to hearing more from this new artist.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Jaz Dhami - High Heels (Ole Ole mix)

Jaz Dhami's High Heels seems to be song of the moment. It's spent four weeks in the BBC Asian Network Download Chart and it's currently number one. It samples / borrows Ole Ole from the 1994 hit Bollywood film Yeh Dillagi. The tune is the same, but the lyrics are different.

An enterprising person on Soundcloud has mixed the two tracks together. Whilst the result is not brilliant (if however you love it you can download it for free), it does show just how similar these two tracks are. Artists are often inspired by music not made by them, but when they borrow so much, they should credit the original artist. Mixing two tracks together is an interesting way of highlighting plagiarism.

As I loved Ole Ole, High Heels sounds cliched and unoriginal. But I think the video for the single is also cliched and unoriginal. Scandalously dressed models dancing and surrounded by cars, with token shots of the girl's shoes for foot fetishists. I just hope they had party feet and rollasoles on hand as dancing in heels can be painful. A more interesting and novel video would have been if Jaz Dhami had worn the stilettos himself.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Delhi 2 Dublin Turn Up The Stereo

Thanks to the internet music is now a global industry. Artists can connect instantly with their fans all across the world. So it makes little sense to release music in just one country. I was devastated when iTunes told me Delhi 2 Dublin’s new album was only available in Canada. However, when browsing their website looking for international release dates, I found that fans outside Canada could purchase Turn Up The Stereo directly from the band’s website. But only for a limited time.

Delhi 2 Dublin have a sound like no other musicians I have heard and are one of the few bands who properly fuse different cultures together. Turn Up The Stereo is full of rich tones, dancing rhythms and intelligent instrumentation. The tracks are energetic and uplifting. As with their previous albums I did have to listen to Turn Up The Stereo a few times before I liked it, but by about the third listen the album was on repeat.

Turn Up The Stereo kicks off with Our House. Out of all the tracks, this was the one that stuck in my head most and I won‘t be able to look at an Indian house without yelling “sadi koti“.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Hunterz - Aja Mahiya

Hunterz, who once made a track with reggae band UB40,  has released his new single and a video to go with it. Aja Mahiya is the first new music from the musician since The Masterpiece which was released back in 2008.

The video that accompanies the song is simple and has no storyline. It consists of arty shots in scenic sunny locations. A model is posing in most of the shots and I thought she was superfluous in many of them. The camera work in the video is great and shows off the expansive scenery perfectly.

Aja Mahiya is instantly recognisable as a Hunterz song thanks to the stunning vocals. Rishi Rish produced the song and has done a good job. There is a gentle warm quality to the track with echos of summer. Aja Mahiya is laid back but still has a beat and bass line to groove to. The chorus is catchy and the lyrics are nice.

Overall this is a great come back song from Hunterz. A simple but exotic video with a catchy single to match.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Illegal Downloading on Nihal's Asian Network Show

Yesterday Musicmetric released figures in a report about illegal downloading of music. The statistics are shocking. 33 million albums and 10 million singles files were illegally downloaded in the UK in the first six months of this year. Nihal chose this topic for his phone in show on the BBC Asian Network and talked to Foji and DJ Vips about illegal downloading in the Bhangra industry. If like me you were unable to listen to it when it was broadcast, you can listen again here.

There is no doubt that illegally downloading music is morally wrong. If you want to buy a product that someone has worked hard to develop and produce, then you should pay that person for that product. However, there were callers on Nihal's show who tried to justify their illegal downloading. Reasons given by callers included that they couldn't afford to pay for music (even when they could afford to pay for big TVs) and that artists make money by touring and performing.

As with many topics on the phone in show, an hour was too short to fully discuss the subject. The music industry needs to look at why people download illegally and look for solutions to solve the problem. There are also wider issues in relation to illegal downloading such as promotion, quality of music released and the technology used to illegally download

Twitter users also joined the debate and I have posted some of the best tweets on the topic after the jump.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

UK Asian Music Awards Nominees List

The UK Asian Music Awards, which celebrates it's 10th anniversary this year, held a party in London last night to announce the nominees. For those who were not there to enjoy the event, the nominations were tweeted as they were announced.  Music fans can now vote for who they thing deserve the awards the ceremony will take place on the 25th October.

Here is the full list of those nominated for an AMA.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Interview with Desi Boome in Paris

The Punjabi French rapper Desi Boome looks unimpressed when I confess that even with my half forgotten A-level French I had to consult a dictionary to work out what his lyrics meant. “That’s what I do for English. The same! It’s the way for people to study, to learn.” In my defence the colloquial words that he uses were never taught at school.

Desi Boome is currently one of the most unique artists around. Since being a BBC Introducing artist on Friction last year, Desi Boome has performed on the English mela circuit. On a recent holiday to Paris, I managed to meet Desi Boome and ask him about his career. During the interview he keeps apologising for his English and slips into Punjabi or French if he can‘t find the right words. His English is endearing and I have kept his turn of phrase where possible.

Also known as Imran Nasar, he explained his stage name. “Desi for my Desi people because I'm Pakistani anyone to present my Desi community as no one did before. I think that if you're Indian Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan that is the same thing because in the past we are just one people. So that’s where I got Desi from. For Boome it’s for one of my friends who was singing with me who is actually dead. It’s in his memory.”

Rap doesn‘t instantly fit with the Eiffel Tower and other romantic tourist images of Paris, but was a feature in the banlieue where Desi Boome grew up. French rap seems to have connected him others. “I have got two big brothers they were rapping before me so when I grew up I listened to them. They were rapping where they live in the ghetto - everyone's rapping in the ghetto. People, they think we Pakistani and Indian people are different. So that's why I’m rapping in French like my brothers, I follow them.”

His French background is an advantage and Desi Boome uses it as a selling point. “Everyone told me that in UK everyone loves French, the French accent so that's why in this industry there is nobody before me in French, French Asian that's why I come with my French and Punjabi mix to be original in this scene”

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Josh - Meri Dua

JoSH have released a video to Meri Dua. The video uses a house remix of the track rather than the original version released on their album Beyond Kismat. The band's last video for Yeh Zameen was spectacular and JoSH have have followed this up with another love story, but one that is very different.

Meri Dua is produced by Tom Glass and the first two minutes of this mini movie set the scene. Rup works as a mechanic with Q as his supervisor. Gia Sandhu stars as Rup's girlfriend and the viewer sees that despite some tender moments, the relationship is troubled as Gia spurns Rup's bracelet and locks herself in the bathroom during an argument. 

The action happens in the second half of the video. On a night out Gia is upset when Rup chats with another girl. Gia leaves and Rup sends Q to calm her down. After talking to another girl and brushing off her seduction attempt Rup goes to find Gia. He walks into the garage only to find Gia in Q's arms. Outraged, he punches Q and the video ends with them looking at each other.

Back in June when news of the video was first released, there were reports that the scenes of betrayal, intoxication and violence in the video would be controversial. However, the content is no more shocking than in any Bollywood action film. We are used to seeing Rup and Q as friends, so when they start fighting  it's a shock. The acting is good. Rup looks genuinely distraught when he walks into the garage and Q looks hurt from being punched.

I'm not too fond of the remix and prefer the album version, but the house mix of Meri Dua fits the modern look of the video. Even though I predicted the end, the story line was well thought out. I liked the fast pace of the video and how so much was packed into just a few minutes. The first section allows the viewer to get to know the characters enough to feel betrayed with Rup. The ending was atmospheric and leaves the viewer to wonder what happens next.

Overall this is another good video from JoSH. With an engaging story line, a love triangle, and a fight scene, Meri Dua has it all.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

A Summer of Melas on BBC Red Button

The BBC Asian Network is once again on the Red Button. A Summer of Melas goes behind the scenes and shows performances from this year's melas in London, Manchester and Newcastle. Highlights include Jaz Dhami singing Aaj Mausam with the London Philharmonia and Sukshinder Shinda singing Ni Sohniye Ni. The programme is on the Red Button until the end of next Friday.

Full details of how to watch the highlights can be found on the BBC Asian Network website.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Tigerstyle Remix Bally's Move It

Tigerstyle have remixed a song called Move It. Sung by Bally, Move It was originally released last year and it is the first single from her future album A Dose Of Bally. The video for the remix is the same as the original, but as with most songs they remix Tigerstyle have given Move It a brand new feel.

Along with some bass, Tigerstyle have added a few subtle touches to the track which make it sound better than the original. I particularly like the sitar sample which gives Move It a Desi vibe. As the title suggests, Move It, is made for the dancing and I can't wait to hear it on the dance floor.

Tigerstyle's remix of Move It is out on itunes now.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Dub Sharma - Ah Jah

Dub Sharma, a music producer who recently worked on MTV's Sound Trippin, has released a song called Ah Jah. It's a great piece of bass filled dubstep with some interesting touches. There is a futuristic atmosphere throughout Aj Jah and the track is well balanced. I like the well timed pauses which almost gives it a meditative feel.

Ah Jah is available as a free download from Dub Sharma's facebook page here. You need to like the page before you can download it. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Tarli Digital - #Digitaal

#Digitaal is Tarli Digital’s latest album. At eleven tracks and an intro, it’s a hefty album. I like the title and the colourful album sleeve with its sharp straight lines, so the first impressions are good.

Tarli doesn’t mess around with his Bhangra, which is a good thing. Songs are kept simple and traditional. They have a classic feel to them and nothing sounds out of place. But there were a few tracks where I felt Tarli could have experimented a just a little more.

There is a good mix of singers on the album, but disappointingly there are no female ones to add a bit of variety and contrast. Dalvinder Singh sings on three of the tracks on the album. He has collaborated successfully with Tarli before and this working relationship shows in the music. The songs that Dalvinder provides the vocals for have a more modern feel and were the better tracks on the album.

The first track with Dalvinder Singh was also released as a single. Mittran De Naal Karde is made for the dance floor with plenty of dhol thanks to The Dhol Foundation who feature on the track. There is some nice bass and I expect to hear this a lot over the current wedding season.

Dil Dhak Dhak Soniye was also released as a single. I first blogged about it here at the end of January and I am still playing it. With the current weather, it’s summery vibes have come into their own and it is one of the best songs on the album.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

PBN - Saa Charju

Last summer, no party or wedding was complete without a round of PBN’s Fitteh Moo. It was refreshing, innovative and cheeky. As well as giving us a new catch phrase, Fitteh Moo revolutionised the dance floor. There were dance-offs between the guys and the girls which were fun to watch as well as take part in. So when PBN announced a sequel, I was curious to how he would do it.

Saa Charju is what PBN came up with. It’s been pretty successful and reached the top spot in BBC Asian Network’s chart. It is a good song, but I am disappointed with Saa Charju because it sounds the same as Fitteh Moo and I’m surprised that more people haven’t noticed.

There are  few differences between the two songs. The lyrics for Saa Charju are new but they borrow many lines from Fitteh Moo. PBN sings the male vocals on Saa Charju instead of Balwinder Bhatti but he manages to sound a lot like him. Both songs have the same structure, same tune, same bassline and same dhol beat. Plagiarism is a problem in Desi music, but I think this is the first instance that an Asian producer has copied his own song.

The video for Saa Charju is better and seems to have had a bigger budget than Fitteh Moo. It was right to use the same actors and dancers for continuity reasons and I am glad that the location was new and different to the usual club. However the choreography and the interaction between the girls and boys was again the same as in Fitteh Moo.

Surely an artist as innovative as PBN could come up with something new? A sequel involves developing the story and carrying it on, not just repeating it and I don‘t think PBN did enough to move the story forward. The action could have moved to India, involved other members of the couple’s family or shown them having children.

Arguably PBN has given his fans exactly what they want - more of Fitteh Moo. It’s a good move to connect with his fans and shows PBN is catering to their needs. Saa Charju is a good track, but only because it sounds like Fitteh Moo and I wonder which one DJs will prefer to play at events. If DJs play both Fitteh Moo and Saa Charju back to back, that will be over 10 minutes of PBN. Can a dance-off last that long?

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Ek Tha Tiger Review

Starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, Ek Tha Tiger is about a secret agent called Tiger and is set to release on August 15th. Sohail Sen composed the soundtrack, apart from one song which was put together by Sajid-Wajid.

With 8 tracks including three remixes and an instrumental, Ek Tha Tiger sounds shorter than it actually is. I generally dislike remixes as they make the album sound repetitive. None of these remixes were better than the originals or good songs in their own right and I was disappointed they were included.

Shooting for Ek Tha Tiger has taken place in ten far flung exotic locations including Iraq, Russia, Ireland, Egypt and Turkey. Three of the main four songs seems to have a different ethnic influence, probably matching the different locations that the film was shot it. The variety is nice but there is no common thread between each of the tracks.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Take Five: Sports

The Olympics kick off this Friday and the whole world seems to have gone mad for the games. Even Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachan is a torch bearer. Here are five songs which are related to sports.

Lagaan - Mitwa
A film about beating the British at their own game of cricket which was India's entry for the Oscars. During Mitwa, Amir Khan persuades his fellow villagers to play cricket with him to get out of paying their tax. Brilliant soundtrack from AR Rahman.
Azaad - Kabadi
Even though it was played at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, Kabaddi is still not an official olympic sport. But if it was this song by eighties Bhangra band Azaad would be its theme tune. Pack full of eighties guitar and retro beats, this original version appeared on an album also called Kabadi. A slightly different version was released on Azaad's Greatest Hits compliation, but the original is the best.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Sukshinder Shinda - Rock Da Party

Rock Da Party is the latest release from Sukshinder Shinda. At thirteen tracks and no remixes, Rock Da Party is a hefty album. It follows on from Jadoo which released at the end of 2010.

Sukshinder excels at traditional Bhangra without making it sound clichéd. It’s no surprise that songs which are more traditional are the better tracks on the album. Amongst the traditional songs, Saari Raat Nachdi Rahi is the best. It has an energy to it which should translate well to the dance floor. Mucch Khari is also worth a listen.

Four of the songs open with speech dialogues. Dialogues are a pet hate of mine as they aren’t usually funny enough to listen to more than once and need fast forwarding. They can also interrupt the flow of songs in a playlist. The worst dialogue was from Zamana Fast Hogaya which took over a minute to do. There is an interesting irony in the song. The artist is bemoaning technological advances, some of which he uses to promote his music.

Rock Da Party
has two singles already released by Sukshinder. Hurr has been widely played and the opening dialogue to Hurr is an annoying attempt at self promotion. Nanka Mail is the better single of the two. But I thought that this song was overlooked because it’s video acts like a full blown film. The chorus brings in a nice contrast to Sukshinder’s vocals. Even though it is over eight minutes, there was enough in there to hold my interest right to the end.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Smooth and Nindy Kaur - Tut Gaya Dil

Nindy Kaur has released her tribute to Kully Ral of RDB who passed away in May. Tut Gaya Dil features urban rapper Smooth who collaborated with Nindy on her track in Aloo Chaat. It is a moving song with emotion from both Smooth and Nindy.

Like Yaadan, the tribute video from Manj and Surj to their brother, the video for Tut Gaya Dil is simple. Throughout the video there are clips of Kully presenting RDBtv. There are shots of Smooth and Nindy is partly shown in shadow.

Tut Gaya Dil has been written by Nindy, Smooth and Kuly's father Harjog Singh, and is scheduled for release later this month through Three Records.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Interview with Jassi Sidhu at Cardiff Mela

Despite the recent rain in the UK, the sun was shining at Cardiff Mela last weekend. Cardiff Bay was alive with the smells of Desi food and the sounds of heavy bhangra beats. Jassi Sidhu sang an impressive 12 songs in just 20 minutes! I grabbed him after his set for a quick chat.

In an interview after the split of B21 you said you still had student debts. Have you paid them off yet?
Did I say that? I didn't know that! My debts weren't that bad so I was alright. I've done pretty well for myself. I'm all right.

You tweet more about football than music! If the England team had asked you to do a song for them to support them in the recent Euro 2012 championship, would you have sung one?

I always say that on my twitter account! I don't like talking about music because honestly it is not that interesting. Most of the artists that talk about it are just making it up. I hate England - can't stand them! I support Liverpool. I am a Liverpool fan not an England fan. I'd do anything for Liverpool, anything that they wanted.

Some of your hit songs were sung by other people first. Which of your songs would you like covered and by which artists?
We sang them when we were younger, when we didn't really know what copyright was. If they get the right clearance, good luck to them. They can sing anything they want.

Friday, 13 July 2012

MoFolactic - Jaan Vs Out Of The Blue

MoFolactic, one half of the DJ and production duo MixtaBishi and MoFolactic, has released a track he made for the Friction Lab. The mashup of the Talvin Singh's Asian Underground classic Jaan and Out of the Blue by Sub Focus was first aired on Bobby Friction's show last week. 

The balance between both tracks is brilliant and in amongst all the special electro effects there is still an Asian feel to it. The mashup is fresh, exciting and modern and succeeds at making a new track which sounds different to the songs it is made from.

It's available for free download, so get it now from SoundCloud.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Syrene - Main Hoon Deewani

Syrene, a singer who started her career performing in shows with her father, releases her single Main Hoon Deewani tomorrow. Syrene worked with producer Shayal to make the track.

The single is repetitive and catchy. Main Hoon Deewani has a crisp beat with a modern feel. There is an electro vibe to the song, but the emphasis is on the vocals. Syrene shows off an impressive vocal range and can sing well. A recent live session on Nihal's Radio 1 programme showed her singing Bollywood style with just a guitar for support.

Main Hoon Deewani has a video to accompany it which is simple but striking. Whilst I don't think Syrene's wardrobe is outlandish enough to warrant the "Lady Gaga-esque" tag that she has been given, Syrene's sense of style is unique.Women in music videos tend to wear traditional Asian clothes or something short and tight, so it's refreshing to see something different. With the snakes wound round Syrene's arms, there is a dark atmosphere to the video which draws the viewer in. Even though I don't like snakes I could not stop watching.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

My Big Fat Indian Wedding

Every good Bollywood love story has a wedding party music number where everyone is dressed up, dances and feels happy. However one upcoming Bollywood film has decided to do this a bit differently using some interesting lyrics. 

Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai releases in August and one of its songs is called Big Fat Indian Wedding. The promo shows a typical Bollywood wedding scene, although it seems small when compared to other wedding scenes in films such as K3G. When I stumbled across this, it was the words to the song that surprised me most. "Today is the day of my big fat Indian wedding" is sung without any sense of irony. It's cheesy and funny for all the wrong reasons.

The soundtrack has been launched, but is currently unavailable on iTunes. Having briefly watched the song previews, the rest of the soundtrack sounds average. The story is a Romeo and Juliet tale about a couple who fall in love but belong to families who are enemies.

Considering the cost and scale of some the weddings that happen these days, Big Fat Indian Wedding  would be an appropriate song to use in the background of the video. But somehow I don't think that will be happening this wedding season. 

Friday, 29 June 2012

Swarathma - Topiwalleh

Bands promoting their albums via facebook is old hat. The Bangalore based folk rock band Swarathma decided to take a novel approach and asked their followers to don a colourful topi on their profile picture to support the release of Topiwalleh. The resulting gallery of mad hatters would have made a great promotional poster.

Swarathma have a way with rhythm and folk influenced percussion. Throughout the album the syncopated beats the band use are infectious. The use of traditional instruments and how Swarathma blend them with more modern musical instruments techniques is innovative. I particularly liked how the violin was given a starring role in many of the tracks. Sanjeev Nayak is the rabbit that Swarathma pull out of their hat each time they want to give a song a special finish.

There is a message in the music that Swarathma make. Ghum is a dark and sinister track about child abuse. It’s atmospheric and the contrasts in the song are excellent. The lyrics of Topiwalleh take a dig at Indian politicians while beachy summer vibes play underneath. There is a great laid back reggae groove to the title track of the album which makes a great opener.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Bhangra for Germany at Euro 2012

When Germany play Italy tonight in the semi-final stage of Euro 2012 they will have some Indian football supporters watching them. Two brothers called Lovely and Monty who live in Hamburg have sung a bhangra song in German to support their country's team.  

Oh Germany We Love You uses traditional instruments and has a typical bhangra beat, but the lyrics to the song are German instead of Punjabi. The song praises the team and states that the Germans will be the winners. Oh Germany We Love You is not as sophisticated when compared to the other German song sung for the tournament by Roger Cicero, but the enthusiasm the brothers show for their adopted country is brilliant. I love the football scarf wrapped around the turban. 

Lovely and Monty Bhangu moved to Hamburg from India 28 years ago and worked as taxi drivers. They made music as a hobby and played their songs while driving. Their German passangers enjoyed the bhangra that they heard in the taxi but complained that they could not understand the Punjabi vocals. So the brothers decided to write German lyrics for their songs and even made a music video starring their customers as backing dancers.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cocktail Review

Cocktail is the next big release that Bollywood is getting hyped up about. Starring Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone and Diana Penty, Cocktail is a romantic comedy with a love triangle. Pritam is responsible for the soundtrack which is a substantial ten songs long.

The album kicks off with the peppy Tumhi Ho Bandhu. It has a nice summary feel and is quite catchy. Daru Desi is somehow subtle and understated. With its minor key and dark tones the song is quite unique and sophisticated.

Second Hand Jawani is indeed second hand. It is a copy of Some Boy by the Kray Twins. Even though I didn’t instantly recognise her voice, I never thought I would hear Punjabi singer Miss Pooja on a Bollywood album. But the song is a waste of her vocal talents. Second Hand Jawani is one of the weakest songs on the album as there are too many elements which do not fit together and the lyrics sound odd. The soundtrack lacks a big Bhangra number and it’s a shame that Miss Pooja didn’t have the opportunity to provide it.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Beat It Boliyan - A Tribute to Michael Jackson

It has been three years since Michael Jackson passed away on 25th June 2009. His work inspired may artists including Rajeev B. To mark the anniversary, producer Rajeev B has made his own tribute track called Beat it Boliyan which uses the vocals of Sani Surinder.

The track uses a sample from Beat It by Michael Jackson and combines it with some high energy bhangra.  Sani Surinder's vocals are excellent and the whole song works well. The accompanying video is interesting and tells the story of a Michael Jackson fan dancing and winning a talent contest.

Beat it Boliyan is available as a free legal download from

Jatt and Juliet Review

 I don’t often watch Punjabi films. The storylines are usually clichéd, cringe worthy or make no sense. If I do watch one, I end up laughing for all the wrong reasons. But when a film called Jatt and Juliet claimed to have the most viewed Punjabi film trailer ever on youtube I had to take a look. The pun in the title, lifted from a famous Shakespeare play also made me curious.  

The internet marketing for the film is impressive and obviously aimed at Punjabis abroad. The plot seems like yet another “boy meets girl via Canada with a bit of humour” story, but the music seemed less clichéd. The album consists of just seven short songs and five of them are sung by Diljit Dosanjh who also takes the lead role in the film. He is a good singer, but I would have like a little more variation on the album. The only female vocals on the album are backing ones and the songs seemed to run into each other.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Parichay - She's A Playa

Parichay, the Canadian artist who won Zee Tv’s Antakshari at the age of 12, has released a new single called She’s a Playa on itunes. It’s the first song from his forthcoming album Surprise.

The video is directed by Jason Matos and full of content. It shows Parichay breaking up from his girlfriend and reminiscing about their happy times together. They are shown on various different scenarios including a stroll in the park and a guitar lesson.

There are some odd shots of the girl putting on her makeup and I’m not quite sure how they fitted into the story line. As the song is mourning the end of a relationship, the video could have had more scenes of Parichay showing emotion and looking forlorn and heartbroken. I liked how the couple were shown in different locations and situations. It made the story seem more believable.

She’s a Playa has a nice laid back pop feel to it. The tone of the song switched between happy and sad and this caused a slight disconnect between the slow and faster sections. It is less memorable than Parichay’s other tracks but is still catchy. Songs about being wronged in love can be sad and self indulgent. But this had a nice mellow sound that was more upbeat than depressing. Helpfully the lyrics and English translation are on you tube if you feel the need to sing along. Parichay’s vocals are excellent and he switches languages seamlessly.

Overall, this is a great song to come out after All New Everything. The video is of a high quality and the song shows off Parichay's talents well. She’s a Playa is a solid offering from Parichay.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Bhangra At The London 2012 Olympics

A song by bhangra producers Tigerstyle is on a list of tracks that could be played at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. Nachna Onda Nei is on the list of 86 songs, which was apparently leaked to the media.

Danny Boyle, the film producer behind films such as Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, is the artistic director for the opening ceremony who put the playlist together. Along with Tigerstyle, songs by other musicians including the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Amy Winehouse feature on the compilation. The opening ceremony will be broadcast to a global audience. It was estimated by The Washington Post that as many as 4 billion watched the opening ceremony at the last Summer Olympics in China in 2008.

However, this playlist has yet to be officially confirmed. An Olympics spokesperson refused to confirm the the musical line up. She said in The Sun: "There is endless speculation about the content of the show - much is simply guesswork - and we are keeping the rest of the show under wraps."

Nachna Onda Nei was originally released on Tigerstyle's debut album The Rising back in 2000. The song uses a sample of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean with vocals by Kaka Bhaniawala over the top. It was used by dance duo Signature in 2008 on the second series of Britain's Got Talent, who went all the way to the final stage of the competition.

RDB - Yaadan, A Tribute to Kuly

A tribute song and video for Kuly, who passed away from a brain tumour in May, has been released by RDB to remember their brother. Yaadan was composed by the group's father Harjog Singh, who also wrote other RDB hits including Oh Preeti and What. Manj and Surj provide the vocals on the track and a verse is sung by their father. Nindy Kaur will release a track featuring Kuly’s vocal and a hook line produced for her by Kuly before he passed away.

The video for Yaadan is incredibly moving. It shows photos and film clips of Kuly throughout his life. He is shown performing and making music as a part of RDB and also at a much younger age. Manj, Surj and their father are silhouetted against the screen showing the pictures of Kuly.

Fans of RDB are being encouraged to make a donation to Brain Tumour UK in memory of Kuly through a JustGiving page. Brain Tumour UK funds research, provides support and raises awareness of the condition.

Yaadan can be downloaded for free from RDB’s Facebook page or from soundcloud.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

RDBtv Shows on Youtube

Episodes of the RDBtv show, an online music TV programme made by producers RDB, are once again available to watch. Today about 20 episodes were uploaded to the Three Records channel on youtube. They were made in 2004 - 2005 and include an episode which showed the making of the video for Dil Mera.

75 episodes of the RDBtv show of around 30 minutes each were made between 2004 and 2007. They contained interviews with musicians, a top ten chart and news. Presented by RDB, the shows give an insight into the industry and took bhangra fans backstage at events such as the Asian Ball in Manchester and the Zee Mela. There were interviews with big name artists including Jassi Sidhu, Raghav and Juggy D.

The shows look unpolished and slightly dated in places, but the energy and enthusiasm still comes across. The power of hindsight makes the shows even more interesting to watch and it is a great record of bhangra in the mid naughties. In one episode Manj mentions that Tigerstyle are doing production work for Gunjan and Bikram Singh, American artists that "are going to be massive". Kuly featured heavily in RDBtv and the shows are a sad reminder that he is no longer with us.

In today's world where music stars are in constant contact with their fans through facebook and twitter, the concept of RDBtv seems quaint. But back in 2004 the show was revolutionary in a way that younger music fans might not understand. Youtube and social networking barely existed and most artists hardly bothered with personal websites. TV interviews with bhangra stars were rare and the interviews that appeared in magazines were often too basic. RDBtv was the closest some people had ever been to their musical heroes and they could watch the show at anytime as often as they wanted for free.

These shows still make great viewing and I spent most of my evening watching them getting nostalgic. When they were orginially removed from the internet, RDB were just beginning to break into India. Now that some episodes are online again they act as a history of bhangra at that time. I hope that the rest of the episodes will be uploaded soon.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Medhi Hassan Passes Away

Medhi Hassan, the Pakistani singer who became known as "the King of Ghazal", passed away today at the age of 84. According to the Times of India, he was admitted to the Agha Khan hospital in Karachi where he was put on a ventilator a few days before his death. He had been suffering from a lung condition and had suffered a major stroke almost a decade ago.

According to an estimate by his son Arif, Medhi Hassan sung around 20,000 songs in Urdu, Bengali, Pashto and Punjabi. Lata Mangeshkar once described his voice as the "Voice of God."

Mehdi Hassan was born on 18 July 1927 in a village in Rajasthan in India into a family of musicians. When he was 20, he migrated to Pakistan with his family after the Partition of India. He worked in a bicycle shop and as a mechanic before receiving an invitation to sing on Radio Pakistan in 1957. He sung hits for the Pakistani film industry and had fans in India including former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Teri Meri Kahaani Review

Teri Meri Kahaani is the next big film from Bollywood releasing this month. Starring Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor the film is a love story set in three different places in three different eras. Sajid-Wajid have composed the music and features the usual Bollywood playback singers including Shreya Ghoshal, Mika Singh and Sonu Nigam.

The opening of Mukhtasar, which starts the soundtrack, sounds like the beginning of a bad eighties tv advert, but it gets better as the song goes on. Wajid's vocals are brilliant, but his vocals are drowned in a thumping beat. The remix of Mukhtasar is tolerable and adds even more electronic beats on top of Wajid's vocals.

It seems like every Bollywood soundtrack these days needs a track from Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Allah Jaane is Rahat’s track on this album. It’s typical of what we have come to expect from Rahat - lyrical and beautiful. In a film that spans three different eras, it is clever to have a song that sound timeless.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Fundraising In Memory of Kuly From RDB

Fans of RDB are being encouraged to make a donation to Brain Tumour UK in memory of band member Kuly Ral. Last month Kuly sadly lost his battle with brain cancer in Houston, USA where he had been undergoing specialist treatment. A JustGiving page has been set up to collect donations. So far 23 donations have been made raising £1,750.

Brain Tumour UK funds research, provides support and raises awareness. According to the charity malignant primary brain tumours take more years off the average person’s life than any other cancer. They are the most significant cause of cancer death amongst men under 45 and women under 35. Around 8,600 primary brain tumours are registered in the UK each year but research by brain tumour charities suggests the true number could be as high as 16,000.

Anyone wanting to make a donation to Brain Tumour UK can visit

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Miss Pooja - Lak De Hullare

Miss Pooja, who is well known for her duets, has released a video for her song Lak De Hullare. The song was first released on her album Breathless and was produced by DJ Sanj.

I should declare my love hate-relationship with Miss Pooja‘s music. There are songs by her which I play often, but there are also songs by her that I cannot stand. Miss Pooja has a good voice, but sometimes her songs are so clichéd or badly put together that I cannot listen to them. I’ve even left the dance floor at parties when they come on because I hate hearing them.

Lak De Hullare was a song on Breathless that I did not like. There was nothing innovative about it and the lyrics sounded like those inso many other Punjabi songs. It was repetitive and a bit too slow to for dancing.

Despite not liking the song, the video for Lak De Hullare appeals to me. There is no story line and the video is relatively simple. It consists of Miss Pooja singing in different traditional outfits with male and female groups of backing dancers. The set and the clothes are bold, bright and clashing. Girly hearts flash between scene changes and there are fairy lights and diamonds everywhere - even slung over a tractor.

To my surprise I was entertained for the full length of the video. The glitz and glamour distracted me from the song. It didn’t seem to take itself too seriously and it felt fun to watch it. There is a definite Punjabi theme, but it is subtle and doesn’t rely on wheat fields or Miss Pooja waving her paranda around. The video could have been a parody of some recent Bollywood music scenes, but I don’t think the directors intentionally made it that way.

Overall Lak De Hullare is a kitschy colourful video from Miss Pooja. A rare instance when the video is better than the song.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Take Five: Mela Dance Performances

The Boishakhi Mela in London kicked off the start of the mela season in the UK. Melas are great and along with seeing all the famous artist I like seeing the members of the local community show off their talent. There are always dance groups performing, but one thing I have noticed is that they all dance to the same songs! Often these are Bollywood super hits and the dance moves are easy to copy from the film choreograph. They are usually performed well, but it is boring for the audience to see the same routine to the same song over and over again. Today's Take Five is made up of five songs that I would love never to see performed at a mela again.

Devdas - Dola Re
Dola Re Dola is an older song, so performances to this are getting rarer. The year that the film was released it seemed that everyone had a routine to it. I remember one mela where I saw it performed at least five times by different groups. Often performed in pairs, with one dancer playing Paro and the other Chandramukhi.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Tigerstyle - Ik Banere Video

Tigerstyle’s new single Ik Banere was released yesterday which I blogged about here. A video has been made to accompany it and shows the story behind the sleeve art on the single.

This is a simple video. Unlike other bhangra music videos there are no girls, dancers in clubs or cars. It shows Inkquisitive, also known as Amandeep Singh, going into his studio and putting Ik Banere on his ipod. Whilst listening to the track he draws onto a giant canvas. Shots show details of what he is drawing and Punjabi calligraphy flashes onto the screen. He then colours in the illustration and final shot shows the viewer what he has made.

A video showing someone drawing may sound boring, but this is not the case. It is beautifully shot and the close ups of the canvas kept me interested. As someone who can barely draw, the whole process fascinated me. I like how the video begins in black and white and switches to colour when Inkquisitive starts to add colour to the picture. The artwork is stunning and I wish that the final shot had been longer so I could see more of it. The picture that accompanies the single is just a small piece of the original canvas and the video is so far the only place to see it.

I was disappointed by the video for Kudi and thought it was unoriginal and cliched in comparison to the track. However, with Ik Banere Tigerstyle have proved they can push the boundaries when they make videos as well as their music. It's creative and experimental just like their sound. I doubt a video with scantily-dressed dancers would have worked for Ik Banere as the song is so different and Tigerstyle have done well to come up with a concept that is one of a kind.

Overall, this has to be one of the most unique music videos I have ever seen and I want to see more like Ik Banere. Far more interesting than watching dancers in a club.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Romay - True Vision Review

Romay, a producer who set up his own record label called Acoustic Science, has released an EP called True Vision.

The EP consists of four electronic drum and bass tracks. It is short, but the songs themselves are all over five minutes long. This length allows Romay to properly develop and explore his ideas in each song. There is lots of rich bass in each track which Romay balances nicely with vocals or other instruments which are lighter in tone.

Rain or Shine is a heavy drum and bass track with simple repetitive lyrics. A break in the middle prevents it from becoming too intense. A live version of the track recorded during a performance at Royal Festival Hall is on Soundcloud. This live version has female vocals instead of male vocals which gives the it a completely different feel.

Rise of the Sungas opens with a sitar sample which is repeated throughout. There are lots of different elements in this track that work well together. The song constantly changes and this makes the track seem a lot longer than it is which is a good thing.

My favourite track on the EP is True Vision. It starts with some classical male vocals which evoke a past era. The bass then kicks in and Romay ensures it goes together wonderfully with the vocals. In an interview with Nihal, Romay said he had spent a lot of time engineering it to make it sound right and this hard work shows.

1st Contact takes the listener all the way to the final frontier. It begins with a message about exploring space and conjures up images of flying through space. A picture may be worth 1000 words, but this song manages to describe a whole universe in just five minutes.  

Verdict: Romay is talented at what he does. Although True Vision is short it is well produced and full of fresh ideas and sounds. Perfect soundtrack for a cosmic holiday.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Kuly of RDB Passes Away

EDIT - The following statement has been posted on the Official RDB facebook page:

The international music fraternity has faced a saddening loss with Kuly of music band RDB, passing away on Monday 22nd May 2012 in Houston, Texas, USA. The popular music group member sadly lost his battle with cancer at the young age of 35 years old.

Kuly was diagnosed with a brain tumour in April 2011 and underwent radio and chemotherapy. He was receiving treatment at a specialised clinic in Houston at the time of his death.

Kuly was an intrinsic part of RDB, a leading international music group, famed for their contribution to globalising Bhangra and Indian music. His legacy will remain with RDB and their super-hit tracks such as Aaja Mahi, Singh is Kinng, Aloo Chaat and Shera di Kaum.

RDB and the family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time and thank their fans and well-wishers for their continued support and condolences.

RDB's facebook page has been opened up for those who wish to pay their respects to Kuly and his family. To leave a message please visit:

Kuly, the eldest of the three brothers that make up RDB, has unexpectedly passed away in America. According to the BBC Asian Network, it was thought that he had been ill for a long time and was undergoing treatment there.

Condolences have been posted on twitter from artists and fans. Many have expressed their shock at his early death. Those in the bhangra industry who worked with him have paid tribute to his talent, sense of humour and genuineness. 

RDB have been making music for over a decade and produced hits including Sadi Gali and Tenu Thakia. They also set up their own label Three Records and worked with artists such as Gubi Sandhu and Manak-E. The brothers performed all over the world and were currently planning a tour of Pakistan. In a recent interview on Pakistani TV Kully said he prefered producing music to performing it live.

RDB are one of the few British groups to make an impact in Bollywood and performed at the IIFA awards. They were associated with actor Akshay Kumar and provided songs for his films including Singh is King and Kambakkt Ishq. As well as Bollywood have also collaborated with western artists including Snoop Dogg and German musician Peter Maffay.

Terry Mardi has set up a facebook page in his memory here.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Tigerstyle - Ik Banere

Tigerstyle, whose music featured on the soundtrack of a video game called Project Gotham 3, will release their new single Ik Banere this Thursday. It is their second song from their upcoming EP Digibhang

The track is made up of Punjabi vocals set against a heavy bass background full of beats with a hint of summery harp and flute. The lyrics have a traditional Punjabi folk feel to them. A singer called Ms Rajni provided the vocals and was just 16 when she recorded them. Her vocals are powerful but dainty and make her sound even younger than she is.

There is a delicate balance between Ms Rajni's fragile vocals and the heavy bass underneath. Tigerstyle have got this balance right and this contrast between the innocent vocals and dark bass is what makes the song work brilliantly. Ms Rajni should be praised for her singing and I don't think this contrast would have worked with another vocalist.

Tigerstyle have been known in the past for their bhangra tracks, but this new single is very different. Raj said to Bobby Friction when it premiered on his Asian Network show that Ik Banere is Tigerstyle at their most creative. I agree and I'm tempted to class it as Asian Underground rather than bhangra as it sounds unlike any other track that Tigerstyle have produced. Some Tigerstyle fans who prefer bhangra have already expressed their disappointment with Ik Banere. However I love it and I like how Tigerstyle are making something different yet still incorporating some Punjabi style into their music.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Bikram Singh covers Jason Mraz

Bikram Singh, whose last music video saw him fighting with PropheC for a girl's affection, has released a cover version of I'm Yours by Jason Mraz on youtube. Bikram's version stays true to the original, but adds a traditional Punjabi twist right at the end. Perfect to listen to on a lazy Saturday morning.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Rowdy Rathore Review

Bollywood films do not always make a lot of sense. "Don’t angry me" is the tag line from Rowdy Rathore, which stars Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha. It must be one of the oddest tag lines for a film and character that I have heard. It’s grammatically incorrect and doesn’t quite make sense. Thankfully most of the music does.

The album consists of seven songs composed by Sajid-Wajid and unusually for a Bollywood soundtrack contains no remixes. I consider remixes to be filler tracks and hate it when there are more of two of them on a Bollywood album. Rowdy Rathore is a better album because of the lack of remixes.

With its nonsense lyrics I find the chorus of Chinta Ta Ta Chita Chita slightly annoying. It has a good beat to it, but I think another song would have made a better promo. Dhadhang Dhang has a similar feel and features Shreya Ghoshal singing alongside Wajid. Both song are energetic, full of different beats and have great vocals. 

Like all good masala films, Rowdy Rathore has an item number. Aa Re Pritam Pyare stars not one but three item women. It contains excellent vocals from Mamta Sharma and Sarosh Sami. It is catchy and has a folksy touch which is reflected in the small costumes the item girls wear. This song has more energy than a toddler eating jelly beans. Expect it to replace Sheela and Munni at parties. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Bhangra Brothers and Indira Weis - Indian Electro Pop

The Bhangra Brothers, who shot their last video in Mannheim Palace with RDB, have collaborated with German singer, actress and record label owner Indira Weis. The result is a track called Indian Electro Pop. Both the single and the video were released a month ago in  Germany, but it is only now that the song is being play listed and promoted in the UK.

Indian Electro Pop is catchy and the lyrics are in both Punjabi and English. There is plenty of bass and the style is a mix of dubstep, bhangra and pop. The different genres blend well together and don't clash with each other. The song sounds unique and very different to the Bhangra Brothers' last single Sun Baliye

The video is shot entirely in black and white with the exception of a few highlighted lyrics which occasionally flash across the screen. The lack of colour gives the video a nice retro feel. The video is simple. It flashes between shots of Indira, the Brothers, a hip hop dance group and two Bollywood dancers.

Indira, who has a German father and an Indian mother, is well known in Germany and has appeared on TV shows including the German versions of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and Celebrity Come Dine With Me. As a result, the Bhangra Brothers have had some exposure in the mainstream German media. They were pictured with Indira at Berlin Fashion Week and a behind the scenes look at the video for Indian Electro Pop was featured on German television.

There is interest in Indian culture in Germany as there are many Indian themed events and Bollywood films are shown on German television. But the Asian music scene is tiny compared to the UK or US and it is clever of the Bhangra Brothers to collaborate with mainstream German artist. The Bhangra Brothers should also be praised for producing a different sound in country where Indian music often means Shah Rukh Khan or Punjabi MC.