The World Is Sound

niraj chag

khwaab video // niraj chag

Heres the latest video of Khwaab, the second track from Niraj Chag‘s 2006 debut album, ‘Along the dusty road’. The track is a melodic stunner, featuring one of my favourite vocalists Swati-ji Natekar and Japjit Kaur makes an appearance in the video

My good friend Shree Sreenivasan of Ethnotechno.com reviews the track below:

“The piano and beats-driven “Khwaab” (The Dream), a track that Nihal called “one of the most sensuous, soulful and beautiful tracks” that he’d heard in his current capacity as BBC Radio 1 DJ and all-round Asian music tastemaker, benefits greatly from featured vocalist Swati Natekar. Already a recognizable, and deservedly so, voice in electronic music circles due to her work with everyone from Talvin and Nitin to Craig Armstrong, Natekar questions, in Hindi, whether her life is just a dream over the most sublime of melodies.”

read the entire review of Along the Dusty Road here


EXCLUSIVE: DUM DUM PROJECT // SHILLONG SPECIAL

After nearly six years away pursuing solo projects, Sean Dinsmore and Niraj Chag have joined forces again – this time in Shanghai, China – and begun work on a new DDP album of music influenced by the area that represents the new frontier between China and India: Yunnan, Xinjiang, Tibet, Nepal, Shillong, Sikkim and Bhutan (to name a few).

The first single ‘Shillong Special’ features the soaring vocals of 17 year old Ibarisha Lyngdoh, the lead soprano of the Shillong Chamber Choir in India. The musical bed is led by a haunting line on a Xinjiang instrument called a Dutar – that seems to cry of the ages.

It’s the usual ethnic mash-up from DDP, and a definite nod to their first two studio albums.

As always, ‘It’s got a great beat and you can meditate to it!’

Release date April 26th iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Produced by Sean Dinsmore and Niraj Chag for DDP

Engineered by Kyle Ching

Cuts by Kyle Ching AKA DJ Sickstar


The Ramayana by Niraj Chag

As we all know Deepavali (Diwali) is fast approaching and to coincide with the Festival of Lights, the BBC will be airing Amber Lone‘s version of The Ramayana.

Awarding winning composer Niraj Chag creates the original music to this two-part series, which is a modern rendition of an ancient Hindu epic and one of the world’s most popular love stories.

  • Part One goes out at 3-4pm on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 31st Oct followed by Part Two on Sunday 7th Nov at the same time.
  • If you miss these, they will be repeated Part One on Saturday 6th Nov at 21.00 and Part Two on Sat 13th Nov at 21.00.

To catch a preview of what you can expect download the OCTOBER PODCAST from EASTERN SOUL

Defo worth checking out!

Sanj


niraj chag in concert – LSO St. Luke’s, 24.Oct.09

Today’s post is a Niraj Chag concert review by my dear friend Vibhuti Patel.

As well as working for the Royal Society of Chemistry,  Vib is a freelance writer for the BBC. Her passion and flair for writing speaks volumes through her words.

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I wholeheartedly admit that this review is somewhat belated, but I hope I can be forgiven as I was dealing with my thesis corrections and settling into a new job. Niraj, a personal apology for taking so long with this.

That’s disclaimer number 1 – Niraj is a friend. But I’ve tried to review as fairly as possible!

I won’t provide too much preamble regarding Niraj Chag’s musical pedigree, as it’s probably easiest to head over to his website: http://www.nirajchag.com. What I will say is that this whether his scores for stage and screen or his stunning albums, anything the man touches turns to gold.

That’s disclaimer number 2 – I was already a fan before I went to the concert. But bear with me!

The venue of LSO St. Luke’s was a great choice – the marriage of old and new in the architecture and design was a very apt backdrop for a concert that brought together musical styles with imagination and flair.

The opening track was The Snake Charmer, an instrumental from a bonus CD included in a special edition of Niraj’s second album, The Lost Souls. It was a resounding start: classical violin by Kumar Ragunathan, Raf White and Mike Flynn on guitar and bass, respectively, with a crashing percussion section of Nilz Gulhane on tabla and Max Hallet on drums. I mention all these individually because this relatively small group, together with Niraj himself on keyboard, were the only instrumentalists of the night, yet they created a sound big enough to fill every corner of St. Luke’s. For that alone, they deserve recognition.

I’m sure Niraj won’t mind me mentioning that the first couple of vocal-based tracks which followed were a little shaky. It seemed as though the sound levels weren’t feeding back to the singers properly, something one of them confirmed to me later. It was a shame, as the arrangements of Mori Atariya and Baavaria could have been great.
Once those technical issues were solved, however, the vocal performances were, for me, one of the highlights of the whole evening.

Japjit Kaur will be familiar to anyone who has heard The Lost Souls, and her beautiful, ethereal voice contrasted and complemented Rekha Paunrana’s equally beautiful but more earthy sound. Their jugalbandi on several tracks was mesmerising – I’m sure George Harrison was smiling down at the sweet and charming Govinda Bolo. I do hope we get to hear Japjit and Rekha together on future tracks.

The sole male vocalist was the previously mentioned Kumar Ragunathan, who was quite simply outstanding. Powerful but controlled, his performance in the closing track, Allah Hoo, was particularly moving.

Nothing makes a live show like some imagination, and that was abundant in the collaboration displayed between Niraj and a Western (I use that term in a musical sense) choir called the Wing It Singers, lead by Sally Davies. Their joint track, Monsoon Rain, was outstanding, and I eagerly await the opportunity to hear it again.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I go to a concert I don’t expect the artist(s) to just give me a re-creation of their recorded work. I like to see something unusual, a twist on known songs or surprise arrangement. Niraj Chag’s concert provided all of these things. Tracks with which I have a personal connection still managed to put a lump in my throat, others had my toes tapping and I think I barely blinked during others.

The concert may have had a wobbly start, but it quickly found its legs and created an atmosphere that swept you away. I hope that Niraj and his whole ensemble are proud of what they achieved, because they definitely deserve to be. And from what I have heard, all the creases were ironed out in Birmingham on the 21st of November, where Niraj and Co. delivered nothing short of a marvel.

I wait with bated breath to see what this imaginative music-maker next has in store for his captive and diverse audience.

Vibhuti Patel

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Check out:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/genres/desi/reviews for more of Vibhuti’s work.

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