Archive for September, 2016

Coke Studio Season 9 Episode 5


Broadcast on September 10, Season 9 Episode 5 continues the high standards set by Coke Studio through the years. While most will be driven by the popularity of Rahat Fateh Ali or the sounds of “Jhalliya”, sung by Javed Bashir, Shahzad Nawaz, and Masuma Anwar, my vote goes to the continuing brilliancy of music director Noori who, this time around, has provided the riff-driven “Main Raasta”, sung by Junaid Khan and Momina Mustehsan. This potential pop-rock anthem is awash with pounding drums and blistering guitars, masterfully blending one into another. Apparently, the teamwork of the vocalists goes beyond lending their voices as the duo spent several days confined in a studio working on the melody and the lyrics. Junaid’s perfect falsetto puts the deep tonality of Momina’s vocals at the forefront of the track featuring a guitar solo against an unstoppable groove, a bouncing chorus, and a manic drumbeat, making Episode 5 as sweetened as its carbonated sponsor, Coke.

Stream & Download the album exclusively on Artist Aloud – The App

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Saathiya – Tripet Garielle


Music director-producer Atif Ali has found the perfect mix of combining infectious pop music with UK-based Asian singer Tripet Garielle’s vocals to provide a standard for dance-pop with the bass heavy “Saathiya”, which contains lyrics by Waqqas Qadir Sheikh. Because the song cleverly incorporates stylish, state-of-the-art beats, where all of the parameters may not particularly appear impressive, independently – the arrangement, synth, and drum programming are fairly rudimentary; whereas, Tripet’s singing in a “language that she cannot speak” has its obvious limitations – but, taken together, the elements blend together to create an irresistible standard of dance-pop where the hooks and rhythms are something to celebrate…on the dance floor!

Stream & Download the album exclusively on Artist Aloud – The App

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Aviral Part I – Sarit Das feat. Swarnima Gusain


There is a legion of devotional music fans who want their genre to sound exactly as it has always by convention. But with the appearance of music director Sarit Das leading the way of being experimental, he conveys that it appears ridiculous to merely think that his sound would be satisfied by complying to popular demand. “Growth is necessary; change is inevitable” appears to be the underlying theme on ‘Aviral Part I – A collection of Rare Mantras from Ancient Scripts’ on this album, which appears like one extended song that has been broken into four parts: “Ajam Nirvikalpam”; “Saraswati Namasyami”; “Namastestu Mahamaye”; and “Vashudevam Hrishikesham”.  In the case of Sarit’s brand of devotional music, different does not automatically mean bizarre as the amalgamation of spiritual lyrics and a potpourri of sounds that include keyboard-based orchestration, choir singing and, in moments, a clear jazz feel…often results like a background score of early Hollywood films, thanks especially to Cris Masand in the programming seat, and the mastering of Ahitanga ‘Tito’ Dasgupta, which is crisp, direct, and sharp. The mixing by Santanu Mukharjee may be defiant and appear brash but, paradoxically, it is heartfelt too. While singer Swarnima Gusain may have her moments, there are several passages in which her vocals are clearly stretched, but that should not take away the passion behind the songs composed by Sarit Das, who has decided to have devotional music flow into [a] new wave.

Stream & Download the album exclusively on Artist Aloud – The App

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Coke Studio Season 9 Episode 4


Broadcast on September 3rd, episode four has received well deserved critical acclaim like most Coke Studio seasons have but, of the four songs on this episode, the more traditional qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music popular in the Punjab and Sindh regions of Pakistan, via the performance of Mohsin Abbas Haider with “Uddi Ja” that he wrote, and composed himself, with music director Jaffer Zaidi at the helm of things, is a notable song. So, too, is Shilpa Rao’s performance on the folk-track “Paar Chanaa De”, supported by music director Noori. It is literally a theatrical saga because the song contains emotion, anxiousness, longing, and hope. The track establishes the ethnic soul vibes that transcend in waves laden with a distinct melody and in multiple instrumentation supported by Noor Zehra’s impeccable groove on the sagar veena. An exhilarating performance indeed with the track commanding listener attention, much like “Aaya Laariye” too, an epic collaboration in an upbeat track that showcases the dynamic vocal prowess of Meesha Shafi and Naeem Abbas Rufi. A perfectly mixed fusion of funk – think INXS – and rock that begins as a seemingly subdued ballad but swiftly dissolves into a catchy tune, makes it a fabulous song like most tracks on episode four of season nine.

Stream & Download the album exclusively on Artist Aloud – The App

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Bappa Morya – Hema Sardesai


One of the country’s more talented but often underrated vocalists is the Mumbai-born, Goan-based Hema Sardesai who has come a long way since her stage debut as an eight-year-old at a Navratri Festival and, thereafter, has indulged in a playback singing career that commenced in 1989. Of course, she achieved a zenith of sorts with her exceptional vocals on AR Rahman’s “Awaara Bhavaren” from the 1997 film soundtrack ‘Sapnay’, but Hema’s forte is versatility as she has also dabbled in the genres of Indipop, Indian classical, Western pop, folk, and fusion. Add devotional to the list as, on “Bappa Morya”, the singer-cum-music director takes a traditional song into the devotional space with a twist, going through the influences of electronica with a synthesised voice. Perhaps only Hema could have pulled this off as the music, although certainly not for faint-hearted traditionalists, is beautifully produced and executed marvellously.

Stream & Download the album exclusively on Artist Aloud – The App

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Refresh [the album] – James Basnet



Christian artiste James Basnet is a song writer, and a singer. He released his debut album in 2013, a Nepali language album in 2015 and now, in 2016, a 12-track album called ‘Refresh’ that uses a multitude of music directors [besides himself] that include: Alfred Besu, John Pfokrelo, Mike Mirucki, and Victor Logidasan. The variety helps and, even though James is certainly not asking listeners to support his beliefs, the songs’ appeal consists of perky pop offerings across the album, including the title-track, “His Promises”, and “Just The Way You Are”, as examples. Effectively, you do not need to be religiously inclined to enjoy “Refresh” because, as the album name suggests, the contemporary sounds are surprisingly refreshing!

Stream & Download the album exclusively on Artist Aloud – The App

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Artist Aloud – Talent First App | You Create the Content We Take it to the World

Artist Aloud, an initiative pioneered by Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Private Ltd., is a digital media, distribution and talent management platform for talent and independent content across the globe.  Artist Aloud has taken the scene by a storm by not just being the pioneer at making independent music digitally available but also by indulging into curation of digital properties, music festivals and events and most importantly being a launchpad for up-and-coming unsigned artists along with releasing original works by some of the biggest names from the industry like A.R. Rahman, Sonu Nigam, Salim – Sulaiman, Kavita Seth, Parikrama, Euphoria, Neeti Mohan, Tochi Raina, etc. It has truly proven its mettle in the past 6 years of its journey and is taking it to the next level with the introduction of its very own App. While a decade ago, people were new to the concept of selling and buying digital music, today with the evolution of music consumption, music lovers have been buying more music than ever. With the rise of content streaming apps revolutionizing the industry, Artist Aloud is going to be the first of its kind to ever hit the market. It simply goes beyond the idea of a streaming app, as it focusses on changing passive streaming experience into an active one. The app emerged from the idea to influence the consumers in all fields of art – from music to comedy to dance and create a community for them.

The main objective of the Artist Aloud App is to be a freely accessible platform for independent artists to showcase their talent and create visibility for themselves as an artist with the complete freedom of expression and us playing the role of a curator handpicking the best to the fans. It provides as a platform for artists to share their content with the world most importantly without losing the copyrights of their own content. The most significant feature about this app is ‘interactivity’. It enables active engagement between the artists, producers and the consumers of their content.

With features uniquely customised to serve as an all-purpose app for Fans, Artists and Producers and labels, it will be a one stop destination for original independent content across the globe. Artist Aloud App lets fans to:

  1. Explore and discover variety of original independent content from around the world.
  2. Stream and download curated mixes anytime, anywhere.
  3. Create Audio Rooms – A feature which enables them to invite other fans to explore their personalised playlists.
  4. Connect with their favourite artists and follow their latest activity.
  5. Create events and book artists to perform at your local events.
  6. Stay updated with gigs around their city.
  7. Discover fresh handpicked artists every week.
  8. Set songs as their callertune with just a touch.

Artists to:

  1. Upload their original content and share it with the world while keeping copyrights of their content and avoiding documentation hassles.
  2. Create a fan base and update them about their latest releases and gigs.
  3. Get featured and get discovered amongst the best talent.
  4. Collaborate – A feature which enables an artist to hook up with other artists and producers for projects.
  5. Get booked for gigs. It acts like an in built booking agent.
  6. Create events and invite fans to your gigs.
  7. Create Audio Rooms and invite fans to explore their latest releases.

Producers to:

  1. Upload their content catalogue without losing exclusivity while avoiding documentation hassles.
  2. Create visibility for artists and content under their catalgoues.
  3. Discover, follow and book other independent talent for events.
  4. Create Audio Rooms and invite fans to explore their library and personalised playlists.
  5. Create events and invite fans.

In addition to that, all users can earn and redeem points and win sweet exclusive deals by simply uploading, streaming, sharing and inviting.

With it’s rare and advanced features, Artist Aloud App will mark a critical turn in the way consumers discover and collect content.

We are right at the palm of your hands now!
Get the app on to your phone and discover the best:

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Coke Studio Season 9 | Episode 1



Coke Studio does not require a introduction any more. It has turned into a firmly established brand and, the music, is mostly exceptional as the ninth season of the Pakistani music television series premiered on August 13, 2016 airing a weekly episode every Friday. While Strings and Coca-Cola returned as executive producers, for the first time in the series history, the season was composed by external music directors, thanks to the initiative of Strings members Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia, of which those featured in episode one here are: Noori, Shiraz Uppal, Ali Khan with Jaffar Zaidi, and Shuja Haider; all under the supervision of Strings.

While the songs are undoubtedly engaging – “Sasu Mangay” [Naseebo Lal and Umair Jaswal], “Janay Na Tu” [Ali Khan], and “Aaqa” [Abida Parveen and Ali Sethi] – and, while the sound remains essentially ethnic pop, often drifting into multiple melodious dimensions as is the wont of Coke Studio, the stand out of the four songs on Episode 1 is definitely “Aaja Re Moray Saiyaan”, marvellously sung to near perfection by Zebunnisa “Zeb” Bangash, an ethnic Pashtun, who has been singing since age eight and has been training as a vocalist since 1998 with acclaimed Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan. As part of a duo too, Zebunnisa has also claimed that they are looking forward to making a career in India. Thank goodness that Coke Studio continues to arrive with Strings attached!

Listen and Download the song here:

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Weirdness Causing Ecstasy – Subhrojyoti


From Pune arrives singer-songwriter Subhrojyoti, a researcher by profession, but for whom music is a passion. He tackles psychedelia this time around on the appropriately titled “Weirdness Causing Ecstasy”. Any listener of songs from the ‘60s can well relate to the melody that is supported by sparse arrangements of guitar and keyboards, and it is completely divergent from any polished production that you may consider, but the virtual atmospheric sound that surrounds it, also becomes the song’s cornerstone. While Subhrojyoti’s vocals continue to have obvious limitations, they paradoxically still support the musical path that he continues to pursue, which is as varied as his compositions which have, in the past, ranged from roots, rock, to reggae.

Listen and Download the song here:

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Bahon Ke Darmiyaan – Piyush Gupta


U.P.-based Piyush Gupta is a music director who composes music, writes lyrics, and produces catchy songs. This time around too, he provides a likeable ditty with “Bahon Ke Darmiyaan”, which is a slow starter, but soon picks up pace as the ballad changes gear into a mid-tempo guitar-cum-keyboard-based track and speaks about the third and final song of a trilogy initiated by Piyush, which commenced with “Jaanu Na Main” [about “Falling In Love”], followed by “Jane Kab Phir” [about “Missing In Love”] and, now, “Bahon Ke Darmiyaan, which celebrates “Kissing In Love” with vocals provided by Nazim Ali and Debanjali Biswas. As this reviewer has mentioned before, Piyush Gupta has become an expert of sorts for producing/arranging uncluttered pop that requires no deep thinking for enjoyment and, even though his songs/renditions may be considered light weight, nothing changes the fact that the tracks that emanate from his roster remain pleasing to the ears.

Listen and Download the song here:

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.