High/ Chanda (Raina Na Beetein), self-released
On a visit to the Himalayan Teerthan Valley this summer, singer Swapnali Sachdeva and other members of High were jamming on a tune in Raag Des. The result is ‘Chanda (Raina Na Beetein)’, a piece that just brims with melody, longing and tranquillity.
Sachdeva has an awesome timbre, and remarkable control over the nuances – she’s easily a voice to watch out for. The lines ‘Chanda yoon ghoore, mohe kyon tadpaaye; Raina na beete naa hi piya jee aaye” are sung expressively.
Aided by soft male harmonies, guitars by Rishi Raaj Sachdeva and Nipun Singh Sonkhle, and Vishal Dixit’s keys, this one is a clear winner.
Rating: 9/ 10
MidiVal Punditz ft. Papon/ Purvayi, Six Degrees Records
Delhi-based electronica duo MidiVal Punditz, comprising Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj, have had some interesting collaborations over the years. Once again, they team up with popular singer Papon.
‘Purvayi’, meaning easterly winds, is a good blend of modern arrangements and folk melodies. Papon, who is Assamese, shows immaculate control as he sings “Bheege nainon se barsa yeh, kaisa saawan aayo re; Bin saajan na bhaaye saawan, birha laakh sataayo re”.
After releasing tracks with Rajasthani singer Kutle Khan and Sufi singer Sukanya Chattopadhyay earlier this year, this is the concluding part of the trio of MidiVal Punditz singles. A superb amalgam, as East and West blend smoothly.
Rating: 8/ 10
Amar Jalal & Faridkot/ Nasha, Anahad Foundation
In the latest part of the Anahad Foundation’s Equal Sessions series, where folk musicians are mentored by known bands, Bhatinda-based Amar Jalal and group join hands with Delhi group Faridkot.
The result is the melodious and groovy Punjabi love song Nasha, where Jalal sings the main lines though Faridkot’s I.P. Singh seems underplayed. Wonderful portions on the harmonium, acoustic guitar and the folk instrument bugdu lend vibrancy.
Faridkot was popular earlier this decade, but has kept a low profile of late. This number is a great boost, both for them and the young Jalal, as the tune lingers.
Rating: 9/ 10
Ahmer & Sez On The Beat/ Kasheer, Azadi Records
Earlier this year, Kashmiri rapper Ahmer released Little Kid, Big Dreams, a mix of Hindi and Kashmiri numbers. The album was produced by Sez On The Beat, and the video of the Hindi number ‘Elaan’ was out first.
Now, Ahmer has come out with the video of the protest song ‘Kasheer’. Though the lyrics will be understood only by those who know the Kashmiri language, the song is a statement about the gloom and anger in the region.
Vaksh Vimal’s video, shot in Kashmir, is a visual treat. Another gem in the Indian hip-hop space.
Rating: 8/ 10
Anurag Mishra/ Teri Meri Kahaniyaan, self-released
Rourkela-bred singer-songwriter Anurag Mishra recently released his debut album Project SWA, where he has attempted various genres like pop, soft rock and electronica. ‘Teri Meri Kahaaniyan’, the second single, is a simple pop tune with a sing-along feel.
The opening lines “Teri meri kahaaniyan hai ban gayee paheliyaan, ke boojh na sake mann” sum up the mood. Tejas Vinchurkar’s flute and Vaibhav Pani’s guitars are marvellous, but one wishes the percussion volume was lower while Mishra sang. The video is too routine but it’s a good debut, all the same.
Rating: 7/ 10
Neha Bhasin/ Sasse Puttar, self-released
Neha Bhasin’s latest video song ‘Sasse Puttar’ excels in the art of massacring a peppy and popular Punjabi tune with an ultra-ridiculous video. It has a group of women in a boxing ring, with the main protagonist in a purple wig and everyone competing over weird costumes.
Enter Kiku Sharda of Comedy Nights With Kapil fame and the boxing match turns into a panja-ladaoing competition. Oh, the number has been a draw at weddings, and Madan Bala Sindhu had recorded a version in 2016.
No complaints against the song and Bhasin’s singing per se. Just that we need to put the video on blank mode.
Rating: 5/ 10