Friday, 28 February 2014

Dipps Bhamrah - Sachi Muchi

Dipps Bhamrah has released Sachi Muchi. It is the second of 12 songs that the BBC Asian Network presenter is releasing as part of a year long project. 
Featuring the vocals of Surinder Laddi, the track is traditional Bhangra love song. Sachi Muchi  is inspired by Punjabi Hai Ni Mera Balam by Shamshad Begam. Sachi Muchi has a different feel to Twerking Jugni, which was the last month's release under #EmbraceTheMadness. It is easy on the ear, works well off the dance floor and will appeal to those who like their Bhangra a little more sedate.

Disappointingly there is no video for the track, but I am impressed that it has been released on time!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine's Day Downloads

Like many other industries, the Desi music scene has learnt the power of a special Valentine's day tie in. Here's a round up of some of the songs released to celebrate the patron saint of bee keepers.

Parichay - Tu Hi Zindagi   

Parichay has been dropping hints about a Valentine's day surprise and this one doesn't disappoint. An acoustic version of Tu Hi Zindagi, which appeared on All New Everything, this song is slushy and romantic. Parichay can produce powerful gorgeous vocals and acoustic tracks like this really show them off. The original version was one of my favourites from All New Everything, but I think I like this one better. Download here.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Sharaab - Deva Review

Sharaab, a recording and mix engineer who has worked with Karsh Kale and the Midival Punditz, has released an EP called Deva. 

Deva is five tracks long and is the follow up to Asura. There are three original tracks and two remixes by Spectik and Jamal Rusk. The EP is typical of Sharaab's unique style. Lush deep chords, sympathetic bass, hints of darkness and beats in all the right places.

The EP opens with Yantra Force. It's a strong, powerful piece with tribal elements and a slightly sinister edge.

Fake Love is my favourite track on the EP. Featuring a Lata Mangeshkar vocal sample from Mughal-e-Azam, Fake Love is hauntingly beautiful. Right from the very first note the track draws the listener into its melancholic boudoir. I like the way the vocals have been edited and they mix seamlessly into the modern backing. The production is so clean, it's hard to believe they were sung and recorded over 50 years ago. The Spectik remix of Fake Love is good, but it somehow lacks the raw emotion of the original mix.

There is a middle-eastern feel to Wasteland. It starts off as a simple groove based track then evolves into something completely different. The contrasts in the track work well and I love the bass that comes in towards the end. The Jamal Rusk remix is an energetic take on the track.

Verdict: Sharaab is highly talented at what he does. Although Deva is short it is well produced and engaging. Perfect for the last of the dark winter nights.

Friday, 7 February 2014

One Man and His Dhol: Interview with TDF's Johnny Kalsi

Image courtesy of Asian Arts Agency
The Dhol Foundation are a group of drummers known for their very loud music. Their beats have a wide appeal and always get everyone on their feet dancing. I was lucky enough to get the TDF experience when the Asian Arts Agency got them to play in Bristol. An old Greek Revival style church seemed an unusual venue for a TDF gig, but no more unusual than other places they have played at including the Olympic Stadium, WOMAD and the Singapore Grand Prix.

After the concert, I caught up with the band's main man Johnny Kalsi.

Why is the dhol so appealing, both as an instrument to play and to watch?
I think it's the dominance, the loudness and the sheer power of the instrument that makes it appealing. I think kids love to make noise, like with a wooden spoon on a patila (pan), that's quite appealing to kids. That didn't go away from my head. I wanted to bang things, so I knew I was going to be a percussionist. My parents were Gurdwara goers where the tabla came first. I then went the obvious route of kirtan. I then took it down another path altogether. The dance element was in my blood for some years and I never let that go.

Out of all the people on stage with you, just one was a woman and she was playing the violin. Why do you think that dhol playing is such a dominant male dominated thing?
I did try and change this. I did try and get lots and lots of girls involved in playing dhol. I don't have any issues of girls playing dhol, I don't discriminate in any way shape or form. If any of them wants to pursue it and maintain it, it would be great. But the problem is their parents won't allow them to play on stage unless it's with a big ensemble. Unfortunately that's probably the only reason that there are no lady dhol players in the band. Plus we tour abroad, there are not many girls that would be allowed to come away with us.

Surely the issue isn’t about touring abroad, it’s just the men she's hanging out with?!

No! It's the parents! They wouldn't allow it. If my daughter was planning on going away for a couple of weeks with a band to play the dhol I would be unsure about it. There would be an element of I'm coming with you!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Sharaab Releases His Back Catalogue

Sharaab, a recording and mix engineer who has worked with Karsh Kale and the Midival Punditz, has put some of his back catalogue up on bandcamp as a "name your price" download. It's to celebrate the release of his EP Deva on the 10th February.

Up for download are Sharaab's first solo albums Infusion and Evolution along with two albums made with The Fabric. It's a great opportunity to get your hands on this talented producer's music. I guarantee it is unlike anything you have ever heard before. Poison, Nosering and Indian Rain are my favourites on Evolution. On Infusion, Bidrohi and Earth and Sky are worth a listen.

You can download the four albums here.  Check back for Sari-Clad Speakers review of the Deva EP soon.