Monday, 16 April 2012

Trippin on the Sounds of India

After heat, dust and bright colours, sound is often the next thing that hits a traveller in India. Sneha Kahnwalker, the Bollywood music director for films including Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and LSD, has made a TV series exploring the unique sounds in a particular place. Sound Trippin documents her travels to ten places in India to record their sounds and put them into a song representing that place.

The first episode of Sound Trippin aired on MTV India last Saturday. It was set in the Punjab where Sneha visited the Qila Raipur Rural Olympics and a cricket bat factory in Jalandhar to record her sounds. She also visited Jyoti and Sultana Noora, two singing sisters who she worked with on the Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! soundtrack.

Dub Sharma, a dubstep producer from Chandighar, was given the task of putting the sounds and vocals together into a coherent piece of music. Saw sounds from the factory and motorbike sounds were used to create the bass line whilst the Noora sisters’ vocals floated on top. The result is an innovative folksy dubstep track that is rustic and retains its sense of geographical identity. The song called Tung Tung is accompanied by slickly edited shots of the Rural Olympics and people of the Punjab.

Sound Trippin is made by Babbel Fish Productions, the same company who made The Dewarists and I think I prefer Sound Trippin. I found The Dewarists pretentious in places. It focused more on the personal development of the musicians rather than the music they composed and the place they composed it in. Sound Trippin however puts the emphasis on the sounds and the places and people that make them. Sound Trippin also seemed to connect with the place more than The Dewarists did.

My only criticism of the programme was its length. Half an hour was far too short for this show. I wanted to see more of the Olympics and get to know the Noora sisters rather than see a brief overview of how they worked together with Sneha. The footage was beautifully shot but it whizzed by all too fast.

Sadly there is no news as yet if the tracks made in the series will be released. Tung Tung would work well as a stand alone track so I’m hoping that they will be released for download by the end of the series at the latest.

The next episode is set in Varanasi and airs on MTV India next Saturday. Or watch it on the MTV India website.

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