Pragnya Wakhlu/ Akele Hi Sahi, Self- Released
Six months ago, singer Pragnya Wakhlu released the English song Falling, which had a laidback club jazz feel. She now gets into Hindi pop-rock territory on Akele Hi Sahi.
As the title suggests, the song is about enjoying one’s own company.
The lines “Gar koi saathi hi na ho toh dil tootne ka kya hai gham” give an indication of the song’s mood.
Wakhlu’s singing style suits the song, which has an upbeat campus feel. Lead guitarist Shailendra Wakhlu, bassist Sonic Shori and drummer Dan Thomas chip in with tight work. It’s a good sing-along track.
Rating: 7/ 10
Samantha Noella/ Won’t Back Down, Self-Released
One of Mumbai’s leading live singers, Samantha Noella recently released the jazz bar beauty 5 Minute Fudge. She quickly followed it up with the brilliantly rendered Won’t Back Down.
Autobiographical in nature, Won’t Back Down talks of working hard to make a difference, even in rough circumstances caused by stormy relationships.
“No matter how hard you try to pull me down, I will rise up, I won’t back down,” she sings.
With her perfect phrasing and pitching, Samantha’s singing is a lesson by itself. Add to that her impactful lyrics and Simon Reid’s marvellous production, and we have a clear winner here.
Rating: 9/ 10
Vinay Kaushal/ Reality Check, Self-Released
Pune-based guitarist Vinay Kaushal has been writing instrumentals in the jazz fusion space, having released his album Naked On A Train two years ago. With the new single Reality Check‘, he goes back to his rock roots.
The guitar-driven song features popular vocalist Siddharth Basrur, who begins, “Here I am standing, watching the world spin around, The lights they’re flashing, feeling the world dragging me down.”
His closing line “It’s time we stopped pretending” is marvellously rendered.
Set against a tight rhythm, with Among Jamir on bass and Agneya Chikte on drums, it features a sizzling guitar coda by Vinay. it’s just the ideal dose of rock.
Rating: 8/ 10
Wabisabi/ Rajat In A Metro, Self-Released
Led by flautist Rajeev Prasanna, Mumbai-based band Wabisabi has released its single Rajat In A Metro. Inspired by a metro journey, it falls in the fusion space, with Abhishek Dasgupta’s guitars blending well with the bansuri.
Though the playing is very Indian, one senses a faint influence of Jethro Tull flautist Ian Anderson’s 1995 orchestral album Divinities. Drummer Jairaj Joshi and bassist Sanglap Sen Gupta keep the rhythm section tight.
The song has a wonderful melody line, but at barely two and a half minutes, it seems a bit short, with an abrupt end. An improvised solo passage would have been just right.
Rating: 7/ 10
Sunny M.R./ Kaafila, Self-Released
Producer Sunny M.R. describes his latest song Kaafila as “collective interpretation of countless thoughts woven into one”. And while he uses changing voice textures as one of his themes, the song’s advantage is its strong hook.
“Dhoondta phirta raha, dhoondta girta raha, bas yunhi chalta raha, maangi hai phir woh dua”, sings Sunny, against a contemporary pop and trap music backdrop.
The video, directed by Piyush Singh and Meenu Singh, uses composited live profile shots against animated images. It adds to the song’s impact.
Rating: 8/ 10
Dinil/ Bolo Na Zara, Springboard Records
Originally from Kochi and raised in Pune, Dinil possesses a distinctly textured voice and unorthodox style of singing. His song Bolo Na Zara is a pleasant and witty exploration of the travails of love.
This composition style has an old Hindi film music vibe with a touch of the “Andaz Apna Apna” sound. Backed by a nice background colour-changing video, it strikes a chord with its detail.
“Bolo na zara, kehdo na zara, jo humko pehle se pata,” sings Dinil, charmingly. This guy surely has the potential.