Alonely EP – Paloma and Adil

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Alonely EP – Paloma and Adil

As part of the several decades long musical legacy of Kolkata, arrive Paloma Majumder and Adil Rashid, a duo whose mission is to convert experimental electronic music into easy listening. Composing music together since 2016, Paloma’s ethereal vocals are clear and perfectly fit into Adil’s musical compositions – which are augmented with adventurous electronics and controlled guitar work – that work well across the five tracks that appear on this EP. None better than their selection from 2016, “Hold On [Or Let It Go]” but, besides that, “City Lights”, the ballads of “Keep Me In Mind” and “Fly A Little”[which contains a marvellous interlude of harmonies], it is the guitar strumming on the title track, “Alonely”, that makes this a highly listenable EP atmospheric, seductive, and beautifully produced. Here’s to Paloma and to Adil for continuing the Kolkata musical legacy.

 

– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

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Aao Mhare Des Mein – Rishabh Srivastava

Aao Mhare Des Mein

Released to celebrate Republic Day, “Aao Mhare Des Mein” is a folk-based song from Noida-based singer-composer Rishabh Srivastava who started composing at 16. Since then, as an adult, Rishabh has no doubt matured as a singer and as a composer as can be reflected on this audio track which showcases arrangements that are tight, laden with an infectious groove, perfectly supported by Indian instrumentation combined with effective keyboard usage, and powered throughout by Rishabh’s vocals soaring above the arrangements. A marvelous production from Deep Chakraborty that rightfully provides focus on Rishabh Srivastava’s singing.

 

– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

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The Love Letter – Imcha Imchen

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Singer-songwriter Imcha Imchen arrives from Nagaland and “The Love Letter” was appropriately re-released by him, this year, on Valentine’s Day. Although originally released in 2014, this remixed rendition combines English and the language of local Ao Naga tribes of Nagaland. “The Love Letter” is written and composed by Imcha with help from his mother but, for me, the core of Imcha’s talent is his sensitiveness to the melody, one who obviously prefers love tunes to, perhaps, songs of protest, something that is quite evident on “The Love Letter”. Although Imcha pours out his heart armed essentially with an acoustic guitar, he is a troubadour who is quite comfortable with luxurious, shimmering textures and a buoyant melody like this one.

 

– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

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Aseem Mohabbat – Sam Christy Varghese

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Kochi-based Sam Christy Varghese is an event organizer, traveler, writer, and a music director and, whenever he is not too busy with his professional life, Sam also finds time to promote “Love, Hope, Faith, Peace, and Joy”. One way for him to express his emotions is composing songs, and that is precisely what Sam has undertaken on his album titled “Aseem Mohabbat”, which contains 12 tracks recorded through the years.

On the musical front, the songs have an underlying rock feel, and Sam provides varied vocalists an opportunity of showcasing their respective singing talents. Sam throws a few pleasant musical surprises too as he shifts to a prayer on “Mai Dil Se Chahta Tujhe”, a bit of funk on “Meri Zindagi Ka Taj”, and bluegrass on “Hallelujah Mere Bhaiya”, but my personal favourite is undoubtedly the rock solidness and harmony-filled “Yeshu Hi Prabhu Hai”.

 

– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

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In Her Shoes – Shipra Malhotra

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“In Her Shoes” is the title song of a play inspired by case studies of ‘Serenity Surrender’ therapy. For the uninitiated, this therapy relates to the removal of negative karma from our past and present lives, with the play being produced by Nupur Majumder Sandhu and directed by Aarushi Thakur Rana.

Now, on to the music. From being a post graduate in HR, and also a certified calligraphy professional, Mumbai’s Andheri-based singer, Shipra Malhotra, who is also a trained Gwalior Gharana classical singer, has composed, provided lyrics, and sung “In Her Shoes”,  a catchy pop song that heralds the sounds of the ’80s. Although Shipra’s voice is a wee bit thin and has a limited range too, in surrounding herself with co-singer and guitarist Tanooj Mehra, the result is a song that places sheen on a potential pop gem that is unfortunately too brief at 1 minute 39 seconds.

 

– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

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Jagga – Chintoo Singh Wasir

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Indian multi-instrumentalist Chintoo Singh Wasir has since diversified into becoming a Sufi singer too and, on this single track, “Jagga”, Chintoo goes from strength to strength with his rendition of the traditional folk song. With the music arranged by Chintoo himself, and backed by his earthy vocals, the song perks up due to the usage of the Rubab, a lute-like musical instrument that has its origins in central Afghanistan. Chintoo has amalgamated Indian folk with Sufi sounds through his mastery across string instruments along with his musical maturity across the global music industry which includes his having performed on Shania Twain’s 2002 multi-platinum selling ‘Up!’. Looking forward to hearing some originals now, Chintoo!

 

– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

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Rasiya – Shweta Subram

Rasiya

Dubai-born Shweta Subram is a vocalist and songwriter with extensive training in Hindustani and Carnatic, learnt in India, under the guidance of Padma Wadkar (singer Suresh Wadkar’s wife), and Sunil Borgaonkar.

“Rasiya” is a pretty ballad that showcases Shweta’s songwriting skills, and her clear voice – with instrumentation provided by keyboardist Advait Nemlekar, and Purbayan Chatterjee on sitar. “Rasiya” is sung with passion, energy, and a certain youthful exuberance by Shweta Subram.

Also enjoyed Shweta providing a “special thanks” mention in the making of “Rasiya” to music director Tapas Relia, who I had immense pleasure working with during the production of Nagesh Kukunoor’s Bollywood film, ‘Mod’.

 

– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

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For His Glory – Andrew Thong

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From Nagaland, Andrew Thong has been passionate about his music since learning guitar at 7, and performing at churches at 12. By the time the self-taught musician attained adulthood, he had honed his songwriting talents too. ‘For His Glory’ – Andrew’s 7-track album that had remained unfinished since 2014 – now finally sees the light with an underlying theme of praising Christ.

But that does not change the musical content, which has influences ranging from Audioslave to Alter Bridge, which can be distinctly heard on the splendid rocker, “Without You”. The balance tracks have a tremendous country and western vocal feel and range from the soft to the solid.

Credit to Andrew Thong on writing songs based on his personal experiences, and sharing the emotions that he has passed through, on ‘For His Glory’.

 

– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

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Cocktail – Faraz Khosa

CocktailFrom Pakistan arrives Faraz Khosa, a graduate in musicology from Lahore’s National College of Arts.

On this Indian version of his “Cocktail” album, there are an incredible 16 songs packed into it, obviously containing tracks from his previously released albums too. While Faraz’s voice is nice and versatile, the songs range from the uptempo [check out the rocker “Chulenge Aasma”] to ballads; for me, the pick of the softer selections being “Phir Num Hueen”, featuring the outstanding vocals of Khadija and a marvelous flute interlude.

‘Cocktail’ certainly serves the listening audience well as it is a satisfying Indian debut from a promising talent named Faraz Khosa.

 

– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

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THHM Street Mix Vol.1 – Produced by Shinji & Mumbai’s Finest Records

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‘Street Mix Vol.1’ features some of the more talented, underground artists from the Mumbai hip-hop scene, encompassing MCs, beatboxers, and producers who have joined hands to create this unique collection. The 12 artists featured on this five-song mixtape include D’Evil, Shakespeare, Gravity, Rhymix, Bombay Lokal, Adro, EMF, Rapture, Sai, X-Centrik, and Jay Kila.

Launched by Mumbai’s Finest Records, this label is an initiative from a pack of musicians known as Mumbai’s Finest and fronted by Ace [a.k.a 39] along with colleagues Kinga Rhymes, Ninja, D Hood, and Adro.

‘Street Mix Vol.1’ is an apt name for this five-track compilation as all the artists featured have never worked with each other before and, yet, have been paired on the tracks, bringing out a very different hip-hop sound, courtesy producer Shinji. Warning: the lyrics are explicit in nature and, hence, the songs are to be heard by your ears only!

 

– Reviewed by Parag Kamani

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