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Indie Music Releases from the First Half of July 2020- Reviewed




Raghav Chaitanya/ Maangi Duaein, Merchant Records

This is the first release of Merchant Records, a label floated by composers Salim and Sulaiman Merchant. On Maangi Duaein, Raghav Chaitanya makes a wish for a relationship to be reignited.

“Maangi duwaein, tu phir aaye, maangi duwaein, aaj bhi”, writes lyricist Shradha Pandit, who effectively brings out an emotion of agony. The arrangements make good use of strings, and the tune is friendly, though the singing sometimes seems forced.

The video, directed by Shakti Hasija, features Ruhi Singh and Faisu. The pair looks good, but a bit of overacting is evident in some scenes. Yet, the song works as the subject is relatable.

Rating: 7/ 10


Nivedita Padmanabhan/ Vaishnav Jan To, Strumm Spiritual

Nivedita Padmanabhan is only eight years old but displays confidence while rendering Narsinh Mehta’s famous Gujarati bhajan Vaishnav Jan To. Her diction and style of delivery are perfect too.

The music has been arranged by S. Jaykumar and Vikas Naik’s video alternates between studio footage and screenshots of messages the song conveys. Sub-titles also prove helpful.

The song should be played for children, as there’s an important statement it makes in the current times. With a child singing, the impact is great.

Rating: 8/ 10


Aabha Hanjura/ Nundbane, self-released

Singer Aabha Hanjura is known to blend Kashmiri compositions with contemporary arrangements and lyrics that reflect the region’s culture. Her latest single Nundbane, which means “the apple of my eye”, talks about someone who asks her beloved to come.

The song has a fresh tune, and the rabab, santoor, mandolin, and darbouka blend with acoustic guitars, bass, and drums. The video is shot by Neoric Productions near Jaipur and Mahmud Gami’s words are explained by sub-titles.

Hanjura is dressed in Kashmiri attire and accompanied by rabab player Abdul Rashid and guitarist Bharath Kashyap in the video. It’s a pleasant, hummable song.

Rating: 8/ 10


Rohan Puntambekar ft. Aisha Sayed/ Baarish, self-released

We’ve had hundreds of rain songs over the years, but song-makers never tire of them. Besides a simple melody line, what strikes you about composer Rohan Puntambekar’s offering is the way he uses Ankur Chakravorty’s violin.

As the violin notes hold the song together, Aisha Sayed’s vocals are heartfelt and nostalgic. The lyrics, credited to Bhairavi Sharma and Pravin Puntambekar, have “throwback” lines like “Woh paani mein bheegna, woh kashtiyon se khelna, kitni masoom lamhon ki aaj yaad aayi”.

Though the meter goes off in a couple of places, the song conveys a positive feeling. It goes well with those rainy chai-pakoda evenings.

Rating: 8/ 10


8-Bit Culprit ft Sukanya Chattopadhyay/ Kehte Kehte, self-released

Featuring composer Faraz Ehsan and written by Saqib Lakhnavi, Kehte Kehte by 8-Bit Culprit features Sukanya Chattopadhyay’s raw and natural voice.

The sound is trademark electronica with strong use of keyboards, and a heady, ambient vibe. There’s darkness reminiscent of the club sounds of the early 2000s.

“Zamana Bade Shauq Se Sun Raha Tha, Hum Hi So Gaye Dastaan Kehte Kehte”, the lyrics go, talking of the search for completion. To add to that, Arindam K. Dutta’s black n’ white animated video simply rocks.

Rating: 9/ 10


Iconyk & UpsideDown/ Chill Atleast, self-released

Iconyk is the pseudonym of rapper Nikhil Malik, who now shuttles between Mumbai and Los Angeles after initially playing in Delhi. On his latest single Chill At Least he teams up with singer UpsideDown to talk of the robotic nature of modern relationships.

The rapping is smooth and easy to understand, as the male and female voices compliment each other well. The focus is on how today’s couples focus less on love and more on chilling out. A vibrant beat adds to the effect.

Rating: 7/ 10



Narendra Kusnur

Author: Narendra Kusnur

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