Naren's indie round-up/ June 2023, Ep 1


Vishal Mishra & Shreya Ghoshal/ Zihaal-e-Miskin 

Label: VYRL Originals 

Rating: ***

The original 'Zihaal-e-Miskin' was written by the legendary poet Amir Khusro over 700 years ago. Performed by successive generations, it was later adapted by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Gulzar in the 1985 film Ghulami. Now we have a fresh variant, with composer Javed-Mohsin and lyricist Kunaal Vermaa.

The song is about heartbreak and besides being well sung by Vishal Mishra and Shreya Ghoshal, it features a large orchestra of musicians playing live. The video directed by Dhruwal Patel and Jigar Mulani has a dramatic air, and models Rohit Zinjurke and Nimrit Ahluwalia make a good pair.

Yet, at the end of the day, it's nothing more than another attempt to reproducing old hits for younger tastes - another example being the Jugjugg Jeeyo song 'Rangisaari', which is primarily based on a thumri popularised by Shobha Gurtu. And in the case of 'Zihaal-e-Miskin', why isn't anyone mentioning Amir Khusro?

Paushali Sahu/ Haule Haule Piya

Label: Zee Music

Rating: **** 1/2

Here's a song that takes you back to the golden era of the 1950s. Singer Paushali Sahu has a melodious voice and the right nuances which suit the style perfectly.

The composition by Shamik Guha Roy could well have been written keeping the late Geeta Dutt or early Asha Bhosle in mind. Submita Ruma Chanda's words begin, "Haule haule dil ki boli samjho piya, kya bole yeh mora jiya".

Even the video is filled with old-world charm. On another note, it's wonderful to see newer projects get into trademark 1950s retro styles, another example being Amit Trivedi's music in the OTT series Jubilee.

Alboe feat. Shrii/ Malx

Label: Self-released 

Rating: ***

After his debut album The Painter, New Delhi-based producer and singer Alboe releases the EP Love Languages, which blends Indian classical elements with new wave electronica. The songs are in Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi and English.

The Hindi track 'Malx' features Hyderabad singer Shrii, and is accompanied by a classy video directed by Sandeep Chhabra, with some graceful dance movements by Kartika Singh.

The piece is based on raag Malkauns, and the lines "Mere yaar, teri yaad aaye" refer to the friend within. It has a very clubby vibe and soulful singing, and though one has heard other tunes using the same formula, has its own aura.

Abhijeet Srivastava & Aanchal Tyagi/ Najariya

Label: Indiea Records

Rating; *** 1/2

Abhijeet Srivastava and Aanchal Tyagi get together on the folk-pop tune 'Najariya'. The highlight is Pankhuri Ranjan's humour-laced video featuring Aanchal and Rudraksh Thakur. Check the shot of the girl wearing sneakers beneath all the bridal finery.

It's a fun song too, which talks of a newlywed couple whose car breaks down. Sharya Apoorva's lyrics use the line "Kaahe mujhpe mujhpe tiki hai mori najariya". The percussion and use of dilruba lend a folk flavour.

Abhijeet's composition style reminded this blogger of producer-composer Aman Moroney. And lo - a look at the credits revealed that Aman is actually co-producer and guitarist of the song. So it wasn't a coincidence, after all.

Prem Murti & Others/ Love And Peace

Label: Self-released 

Rating: ****

Prem Murti, multi-faceted artiste from Chandigarh, is out with his new track 'Love And Peace'. It's a collaboration with many international artistes, and like a number of new age compositions, it is spiritual and uplifting in nature.

The lyrics are written by Mike Greenly, with Prem singing lines from the Shanti Mantra. Other performers are singers Natalie Ai Kimmauu and Annemarie Picerno, cellist Tess Remy-Schumacher, violinist An Vedi and guitarist Russ Hewitt. They all appear in the video, which has a dance sequence by Megan Schoenboem Brentwood.

The video has been directed by Prem himself. The use of natural outdoor locales goes with the message of serenity the song conveys.


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