Sandeep Chowta/ The Arrival, Namma Music
Sandeep Chowta is largely known in Hindi film music circles for providing the background score of Satya, and the music of the films Mast and Pyar Tune Kya Kiya. Simultaneously, he’s been an avid jazz promoter, getting popular international acts for shows in India.
On ‘The Arrival’, he teams up with master musicians like drummer Virgil Donati, guitarist Brett Garsed and bassist Jimmy Johnson. Chowta’s composition is tight, with various permutations and combinations revolving over a repeated melody line.
Modern jazz arrangements, tempo fluctuations, a pulsating rhythm section and guitar virtuosity add to the charm. And the good thing is that despite being technically intricate, it works out as a very relaxing piece.
Rating: 8/ 10
Radhika Sood Nayak/ Ishq Kamaal, self-released
Sufi singer Radhika Sood Nayak had been fairly active on the live circuit, and recently performed in the Haroof concert at Mumbai’s Royal Opera House. Here, she renders ‘Ishq Kamaal’ by Punjabi poet Baba Bulleh Shah.
The song has a melodic orchestration with a Middle Eastern feel, and the instruments are used in a manner that Nayak’s voice never gets drowned. The opening lines “Jis tan laggeya ishq kamaal, naache besur pe betaal, ishq kamaal” set the mood.
Nayak’s singing is straight and impactful, and she doesn’t resort to technical acrobatics. Overall, a well-constructed piece, though beyond a point, it doesn’t go out of the box.
Rating: 7/ 10
Ketan Mohite/ Raahein, self-released
Here’s a really cool travel song that’s perfect for long drives and train journeys. Add to that a magnificently-produced video.
On ‘Raahein’, Ketan Mohite sings with a sincerity that’s enduring. The line “Hum kahin kho gaye” lingers. Nyzel D’Lima’s guitaring and keys pump up the number, and Darshan Doshi’s drumming is brilliant. But the instrumental highlight is Rajeev Prasanna’s flute, especially that mesmerising solo.
The video by Vishal Devare makes imaginative use of outdoor locales and vehicular movement. ‘Raahein’ is a joy to hear and watch.
Rating: 9/ 10
Samira Koppikar ft. Sanam/ Dil Nachda, self-released
For the past five years, Samira Koppikar has been doing projects as a film playback singer and composer, besides releasing a few independent songs. On her latest single ‘Dil Nachda’, she teams up with popular act Sanam.
The song’s strength lies in its simple and melodic composition. It’s the kind of tune that stays as an earworm. Both Koppikar and Sanam Puri have pleasant voices, but there’s one instance where Sanam over-expresses the word ‘zakhm’.
Sahib’s lines ‘Yaariya, teri dhun pe, teri dhun pe dil nachda’ are rendered soulfully. However, the video produced by Jugaad is too routine.
Rating: 8/ 10
Shaan ft Mustafa/ Main Sach Bolda, Sterling Reserve Music Project
Popular singer Shaan’s latest number ‘Main Sach Bolda’ features his protege Mustafa. It’s a typical Punjabi pop number with a catchy tune and a heard-it before flavour, with some pretty models added in the most routine manner.
The problem is that Mustafa sounds like a pale shadow of his mentor, without possessing the polish. Rather than riding piggyback in his debut song, he should have come up with something solo. For his part, Shaan sounds smooth on the rap stretch.
The video is marred by the lengthy marketing plug at the end, where Shaan promotes the singer and record label. Why not let listeners decide on their own?
Rating: 6/ 10
Dwayne Gamree/ Sprinkle That, self-released
This one’s filled with angst-ridden lines like “Bitterness and fear, I’m lying over here, I’ve learnt that kindness doesn’t cost a thing, sprinkle that dust over here.” And Dwayne Gamree sings them with depth and feeling.
Also praiseworthy are the Justin-Uday Duo’s slick production, and Eden Pereira’s dancing in the video. The song was apparently inspired by an incident involving the indifference of people to an ambulance stuck in traffic. As Gamree teaches music in Mumbai, there’s a lot of technical perfection here.
Rating: 8/ 10