Bagga Khan Group and Syncopation/ Kashi, Anahad Foundation
Here’s an interesting blend of Meghwal bhajan from Rajasthan with contemporary jazz. On ‘Kashi’, Jaisalmer-based singer Bagga Khan and his group team up with jazz band Syncopation to narrate a Kabir tale.
The song talks of how people from Kashi (Varanasi) tried to play a prank on Sant Kabir. The amalgam of folk vocals with jazz arrangements is smooth, as the tandoora, dholak and manjira play alongside the saxophone, electric guitar, bass and drums.
Khan’s rustic voice provides a folk feel, and the main vocals linger in your mind.
Rating: 8/ 10
Zarir Marfatia/ Eyes Half Closed, self-released
Some months ago, Mumbai-based Zarir Marfatia released his debut single ‘Parallel Lines”. It was a simple and effective song with pleasant arrangements.
Marfatia continues his good form on his new song ‘Eyes Half Closed’, where he sings “And I’ll keep living with eyes half closed, ’cause you’re the only one I want to see.”
Available on Apple Music and Spotify, this is the kind of love song you’d want to sing along. Near guitars and keyboards, and vibrant rhythms, act as the perfect backdrop.
Rating: 9/ 10
Tripta Parashar ft. King Guru/ Kamli, Zee Music Company
One is confused whether this new Punjabi song ‘Kamli’ is a tribute to mascara or Lady Gaga. You have lines talking of waterproof mascara and black mascara, and dresses that seem like leftovers from Lady Gaga’s wardrobe.
To be fair, Tripta Parasher comes up with a catchy tune worthy of a few dance steps. Yet it isn’t anything new, and the words talk of a girl who wants to ‘nach poori raataan’ to catch the attention of Lady Gaga.
There’s also a totally out-of-place rap stretch by King Guru, a name that seems inspired by Badshah and Guru Randhawa. Yet, if you skip that, you have a fairly hummable tune.
Rating: 6/ 10
Gayatri Asokan/ Yun Sajaa Chaand, self-released
In the concluding part of her series Classics From The Heart, singer Gayatri Asokan presents ‘Yun Saja Chand’, a Faiz Ahmed Fair ghazal earlier rendered by Asha Bhosle. Asokan has a pleasant voice, which goes perfectly with the words.
The ghazal’s matla goes “Yun sajaa chaand ke chhalka tere andaz ka rang, Yun fazaa mehki ke badla mere humraaz ka rang.” Sitar player Purbayan Chatterjee, guitarist Rickraj Nath and percussionist Shikhar Naad Qureshi provide perfect accompaniment.
The song has a soft and romantic aura, and Asokan brings out its emotion soulfully.
Rating: 8/ 10
Shriya Rao/ Leave It Be, True School Of Music
At the age of 13, Shriya Rao has been making waves on the Mumbai gig scene. We saw her at a James Bond themed concert a few months ago, and were impressed by her sheer confidence and stage presence.
Rao has now released the single ‘Leave It Be’, with music by Ashutosh Pathak. In an environment-friendly message she intends to spread among children, she sings, “Our evolution says leave it be, our survival says leave it be, Mother Nature says leave it be, We don’t need more and more, just leave it be.”
The use of over-dubs enhances the impact. Showing perfect control over her pitching, Rao comes up with a winner.
Rating: 8/ 10
Tushar Mishra, Anushree Gupta, Sukanti Roy/ Tishnagi, self-released
Composed by Tushar Mishra, Anushree Gupta and Sukanti Roy, and sung by Gupta, ‘Tishnagi’ has a lot in its favour. It’s a crisp, guitar-driven composition with identifiable, bittersweet lyrics.
What it needed was some more soul in the vocals, as there’s something flattish about its rendition that mars its impact. The words “Tishnagi ab tumse hi hai, bandagi ab tumse hi hai, haathon ki lakeerein ban gaye tum” strike a chord.
The good thing about ‘Tishnagi’ is its simple approach. A welcome effort, despite the drawbacks.