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