Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Another Listen of Bikram Singh's Kawan

Bikram Singh and Tigerstyle are getting ready to release Kawan 2. Featuring the vocals of Gunjan, it's a revamp of the song that first appeared on American Jugni in 2005.

It's been nine years since the original Kawan, or "Kaone" as I now think of it, which is almost a lifetime in the bhangra world. This was in the time of myspace, before twitter and youtube had taken off. There is a whole generation of music fans who were probably too young to remember the impact the song had. Bikram wrote the lyrics to Kawan himself and his career took off with it.

Why was the song such a huge hit? Bikram told me in an email: "It had to do with a lot of factors. The melody, the lyrics and Gunjan's voice all contributed to a great song that people continue to enjoy. The concept of two separated lovers thinking about each other and providing reassurance to each other is really universal. We can all relate to it one way or the other."

There were many remixes of Kawan. According to Bikram "artists or producers from different genres of music put their spin on it, it's their interpretation of the song. It made us experience the song from different perspectives." For me the best remixes were the Tigerstyle's drum 'n' bass remix and a Jay Dabhi mash up. Tigerstyle's version made the Kawan compatible with the dance floor. Jay Dabhi's mashup of Kawan with Back To My Other Life, another big underground hit at the time, was pure genius.

So why have Tigerstyle and Bikram decided to remake this modern classic almost a decade after its release? According to Pops "collectively we all felt this song never really got the justice it deserved, as budgets were limited at the time we put the album together and Bikram being a new artist, the label didn't have enough confidence in the project to shoot a separate video for the song, so it just appeared as part of a medley video...This time with the revamped song, Bikram has really put his heart and soul into making sure the song is well highlighted with a good music video.”

Kawan 2 releases this Thursday. Check back then for the Sari-Clad Speakers review. 

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