Asli Maal – Emcee Hasnain

Asli Maal

When you have seven hip-hoppers combine on a single track, it looks like a case of too many cooks… But on “Asli Maal”, initiated by Mumbai-based Emcee Hasnain, the multi-lingual hip-hop track with music composed by DRJ Sohail and featuring seven artists is a pleasant surprise. Straddling that line between rap and electronica, the hip-hop featured here is accessible with the emphasis placed more on the perfect beat rather than the perfect rhyme, and it works!


– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

Ningu Kumtsu – Alobo Naga


From Nagaland arrives Alobo Naga, who goes for a cover with “Ningu Kümtsü”, originally performed by Rocky & Group. The song talks about how everyone is born to eventually pass away, with earthly possessions unable to bring salvation to souls. Sung in the local dialect of Sumi Naga, this acoustic track is simple, as it should be, and is a heartfelt tribute.


– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

Maye Meriye – Manav Shaunki


College music professor-cum-singer Manav Shaunki focuses on a Punjabi bhajan this time around. “Maye Meriye” is devoted to Durga Mata, with lyrics written by the singer himself, with the sparse music composed and provided by Fame Rock Studioz. Sung by Manav with a Sufi vocal feel, the monotony of the arrangements begin to drag across the 5 minutes, 40 seconds, even though this is apparently a devotional song.


– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

Raga Surmalhar Part 1 & 2 – Arunkumar

Vocalist Arunkumar is apparently a versatile singer trained across various Hindustani Classical genres. However, his talents are not appropriately showcased on “Raga Surmalhar” where Arunkumar indulges in KHAYAL VILAMBIT EKTAAL for approximately in one hour [in Part 1] and KHAYAL DRUT TEENTAAL for half an hour [in Part 2] as the instrumentation is mainly restricted to the monotony of a keyboard drone and tabla. If “Raga Surmalhar” is not the most popular of all ragas, one really needs to look at the instrumentation to understand why.


– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

Noor – Sudeep Banerji & Aalok Shrivastav


Combining the talent of Urdu lyricist Aalok Shrivastav and composer-vocalist Sudeep Banerji results in the debut of “Noor”, a ghazal on the philosophies of love and life. It is a relaxing selection with the sounds of sitar, courtesy Fateh Ali, and the beat of the tabla, from the omnipresent Amit Choubey, perfectly underplayed on “Noor”.


– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

Saason Ki Maala – Shaarib-Toshi

Saason Ki Maala

Ever since legendary Qawwali exponent Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan past away in 1997, singers have attempted to relive his musical past but, in attempting to do, they have always carried an inherent risk of exposing their limitations. This time around, Bollywood duo Shaarib-Toshi have attempted to perform “Saason Ki Maala”, a song that speaks of how true love is eternal as their ode to the late, great Nusratji, who I had the privilege of seeing perform live in Mumbai during the ’90s. In providing a contemporary feel to the sound, the music directors have virtually ignored the live instrumentation that existed in the original composition by Nusratji, relying on synthetic sounds through the programming of Riddhiman Chaterjee. However, the flute passage from Naveen Kumar is a redeeming feature on the marvelous composition which is, as always, shining and soothing.


– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

Kya Raaz Hai Tu Zindagi – Sherrin Varghese

Kya raaz hai tu zindagi Artwork

Multi-talented Sherrin Varghese has come a long way from his days as a member of A Band Of Boys as he continues his vocation through a successful solo career, focusing on his talents, both as a singer and as an electro-pop composer. Sherrin’s inherent talents are appropriately showcased on “Kya Raaz Hai Tu Zindagi”, a mid-tempo track which contains a synth-based sound that is polished and is supported by slick production. Welcome back, Sherrin!


– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

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