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 clich├ęd 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.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Asian Music Stars on BBC Red Button

The BBC Asian Network is back on the Red Button showcasing three talented musicians. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Adnan Sami and Kailash Kher feature in the hour long show which consists of interviews and live performances. Highlights include Rahat Fateh Ali Khan performing Tere Mast Mast Do Nain and Kailash Kher saying how Bollywood actors find his songs difficult to mime to. There is also an amusing story from Adnan Sami about how he had to prove to RD Burman that he could play the piano.

Asian Music Stars is showing until Friday on the Red Button. For the full schedual vist the BBC Asian Network.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Panjabi Hit Squad - World Famous Review

Panjabi Hit Squad released World Famous about two months ago. As soon as it came out I put it on my list to review. But everytime I sat down to write about it I just ended up listening to it instead.

Due to an injury which makes typing difficult, this review is in podcast form.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Bilal Khan - Mil Hee Gaya

Bilal Khan, the singer whose first “guitar” was a cricket bat that he used to strum along to Pakistani rock bands in his bedroom, has released  Mil Hee Gaya on youtube. This is the second song from his forthcoming album Maktoob.

Mil Hee Gaya is a short and sunny tune with a feel good vibe. In contrast to his last new release Bhool, this song is faster in pace and less dark and brooding. As usual Bilal's vocals are great. There is a lot going on in the instruments accompanying him, but thankfully they do not drown out Bilal's voice. The speed and instrumentation make this song very different to other songs that Bilal has previously released. Bilal should be praised for experimenting with new elements rather than sticking to his tried and tested ballad and guitar format.

Bilal Khan put Bhool on youtube just two weeks ago. I hope that this means the album and other songs from it will be released just as fast.

Equiped and Vacious Remix Meri Yaad Main Tum Na

Equiped and Vacious, two producers who met on soundcloud over a track called Bad Breath, have made a remix of Meri Yaad Main Tum Na. The song was originally sung by Talat Mahmood in the film Madhosh. This is the second track the duo have collaborated on.

The remix was made when Vacious stumbled across Meri Yaad Main Tum Na on youtube. He was captivated by it's soulfulness and fascinated by how old  it was as it was made in 1951. Vacious added beats and a bassline and took it to Equiped who added a few ideas of his own. The result was this remix.

Equiped and Vacious have only recently started to work together but I think their separate experiences have made the remix work wonderfully. Rotterdam based Equiped studied music technology and toured Europe as part of a live drum and bass act. Vacious took a nine year break from making music during which he moved from England to India and spent three years living there. The Indian influence and respect for the culture comes across in the music. The track is well produced, unlike some Bollywood remixes I hear, thanks to the duo's understanding and experience of production.

Sometimes producers add a heavy bassline and distracting beats to old tracks in attempt to "modernise" them but end up destroying the song in the process. However, this remix has been sensitively put together and retains the nuances of the original. Talat Mahmood's gentle voice is still audible and not drowned out by the bass. There is a mellow, melancholic tone to the track which blends well with the percussion. It is a modern remix, yet still evokes images of past times.

Meri Yaad Main Tum Na is available to stream on soundcloud along with the duo's first track Super Subah

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Pyschedelic Singh - Main Dadhi Kohji

The Psychedelic Singh, also known as Amarik Singh from Bradford, has remixed a track originally sung by Arif Lohar and Sanam Marvi. Main Dadhi Kohji has The Psychedelic Singh's signature sixties feel. There is plenty of bass and the song has a funky retro vibe. The Psychedelic Singh's remixes are unique and no one else does them like him.

If you like Main Dadhi Kohji, you can download it from The Psychedelic Singh's soundcloud page.