V. Selvaganesh and Swaminathan/ ECM – Taka Dhin Tha Di, PCSM
For his new track, Taka Dhin Tha Di, ace percussionist and kanjira maestro, V. Selvaganesh use the term ECM to describe Electronic Carnatic Music. He teams up with his son Swaminathan Selvaganesh to blend the Carnatic rhythm technique with synthesiser sounds.
The title is taken from the composition’s konnakol (spoken) pattern and brims with sheer energy. As such the balance between electronic music, percussion, and spoken syllables is perfect.
The tune should cater to the younger generation, and such experiments are welcome.
Rating: 8/ 10
Nihira ft. Orquesta Son Diamantes/ Ishq Manayein Kya, Self-Released
On Ishq Manayein Kya, singer Nihira Joshi Deshpande does a commendable take on the Cuban genre salsa, using Manoj Yadav’s Hindi lyrics. The song is peppy, exuberant and ideal for the dance floor.
Nihira is joined by Orquesta Son Diamantes, which uses piano, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, guitar, bass and different Latin American percussion instruments to create a lively sound. The choruses go perfectly with the main lines.
The song is a good balance of Cuban flavour and Indian melody. Nihira’s vocals bring out the mood, and this is a complete contrast in style to her beautiful 2019 song Na Chedo Hamein.
Rating: 8/ 10
When Chai Met Toast/ Break Free, Self-Released
Kochi’s band When Chai Met Toast has always been consistent in quality. After releasing the feel-good and nostalgic When We Feel Young last year, they talk about the bond between a woman and her aging father on Break Free. The Tamil lines lend variety.
Vocalist Ashwin Gopakumar’s voice is filled with emotion as he sings, “Stay with me, that’s all I need, lay aside your fear, break free; just hold my hand, we’ll see the end, embrace ourselves, break free”.
A highlight is a wonderfully emoted video, starring Denzil Smith and Zoya Hussain. Directed by Ria Singh, it goes perfectly with the song’s theme and moves you.
Rating: 9/ 10
Ravi Chary/ AaHana, Self-Released
Sitar exponent Ravi Chary has done some excellent work in the fusion space, and his 2012 Crossing was evidence of his marvelous talent. His latest release AaHana, the third single from his album Dhvanika, blends sitar with semi-classical vocals, pulsating rhythms, and programmed sounds.
Ravi composes and produces the tune. He is joined by vocalist Shreeya Sondur, who’s also written lyrics, and drummer Gino Banks, who’s arranged and programmed the sound, among other things.
The sitar part at the center is played with class, and the blend of traditional and modern elements is smooth.
Rating: 7/ 10
Pragnya Wakhlu ft. Marcos Villalta/ Whale Song, Self-Released
On her latest release Whale Song, singer Pragnya Wakhlu collaborates with Australian guitarist Marcos Villalta. The highlight is the lavish video, featuring whale calls and real humpback whales from Tonga in the South Pacific.
The song, which has a Pop-Jazz feel but includes a rap part, uses the whale as a metaphor to describe how one must dive deep into someone’s character to discover his or her nature.
Pragnya impresses with lines like “The tighter you grip, the more you slip, the more you slip away”.
Delhi-based drummer Kunal Netrapal and bassist Sonic Shori complete the band. The music and the video blend perfectly.
Rating: 7/ 10
A.B. Madhav/ Karwaan, Self-Released
Singer A.B. Madhav has come a long way, from selling snacks to becoming a full-time musician. Karwaan tells the inspirational story of how he left Agra to pursue his dreams in Mumbai.
The lines “Galiyon se shehron tak, zarron se taaron tak, main khud hi karwaan hoon, main khud hi karwaan hoon” describe his journey, with Amit Vikram Pandey playing the main role in the video directed by Navaldeep Singh and Adil Hussen.
Madhav has a pleasant voice and a good sense of composition. The lyrics by Mohammed Sadriwala and Zubair Ahmed Zaki narrate his story succinctly.