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
When I heard Shammi was producing a new E.P. naturally I was stoked. The musician who crafted “Cinema for the Ears E.P.” and debut album “Audio Descriptive” was on his next venture.
His latest E.P titled “Paredolia” is composed of six tracks, each individually bringing a different story to the ears leaving the listener to find their own meaning of the music.
“Switch” introduces the E.P with a somewhat dark sound but 22 seconds in, the equation is balanced with the elegant Bansuri. Naturally these sounds wouldn’t work together but on this track they manifest a harmonious contradiction. As the director Shekhar Kapoor said “if you take contradictions away there would be no creativity.” As the Bansuri dances majestically with its dark bassline partner, the vocals of Rita Morar give it that defining human emotion.
This is soon followed by the title track of the E.P “Paredolia.” A beautiful track introduced by the humble piano married with deep bass and the constant thread that weaves the story of this record together – the Bansuri. It’s an excursion of the two instruments that does not need words to tell the story – the feeling it draws out says it all.
To counter the soothing vibes of the previous track, Shammi launches into “Thanks to a Busker” an Indo-Latino number with the help of the fabulous vocalists Ambika Jois and Ash King – a very romantic flamenco style track with funky bass lines, sexy guitar riffs.
On to the fourth track “Taareyan di Chaan” – meaning Shade of the stars is an abstract poetic song about longing to meet a lover sang in entirely in Punjabi. Japjit Kaur graces us with her gorgeous and elegant voice giving the track a contemporary yet folksy feel.
The penultimate track, “True” is one composed entirely of strings. The polite yet playful sounds of the Cello, Violin and Guitar really give that old fashion warm feeling to the track. It reminded me of some of the work done by Michael Giacchino on the TV programme LOST, really capturing the moments of happiness and truth – something Shammi does very well here – an unadulterated melt of sublime soundscapes.
Finally we come to a “Sweet Nothings (Phaeleh Remix)” – and what a way to end the E.P! Phaeleh, the Bristol based prolific producer has his way with “Sweet Nothings” as featured on the “Audio Descriptive” album. This is a track where the affable vocals of Japjit Kaur, Bansuri and the dark melodies of downtempo electronica melt together into a beautiful frenzy.
Shammi Pithia, has the ability to absorb the sights, sounds and influences around him and translate them to what we hear, giving each string, raga, chord, beat and baseline a purpose in the grand scheme of things. If you liked any of his previous work you will adore “Paredolia”.
nada:brahma rating 4.5/5
Guitarist Simon Thacker‘s new Indian/Western group, Svara-Kanti builds on the achievements of the acclaimed Nava Rasa Ensemble. It combines music from diverse ancient Indian traditions, Indian classical music and Bollywood (from the Golden Age to AR Rahman) with contemporary Western classical and jazz sounds in a new large scale commission by great Indian composer Shirish Korde.
Also featuring the beautiful voice of my friend Japjit Kaur, celebrated Carnatic violinist Dr Jyotsna Srikanth and tabla master Sarvar Sabri, leading performers renowned for cross cultural exploration, Svara-Kanti combine their traditions to create new sounds and expression delivered with depth and virtuoso technique.
info taken from: www.simonthacker.com
What a fabulous gig to end an outstanding year of music. I was blessed to experience Shammi Pithia and Engine Earz Experiment on the same night.
Two different acts with one thing in common. A Passion for music.
Both Shammi and Prashant (Engine Earz) gave it their all. Communicating different emotions and displaying different styles of music for the audience to experience.
From the wafting, sonorous flute lines drift across the drums, sitar, violin and cello by Shammi and Co where each track was moving, reflective and inspiring!
Engine Earz provided the grimey build-ups of dubstep, unfolding leisurely as each track increases in intensity … crowd going wild!
Pics taken by Ravi Purohit:
The atmosphere was electric. Couldn’t really ask for more!
So, as a treat. Here is some of the footage from the Shammi Pithia set featuring Aggi Dukes, Ash King, Japjit Kaur, Anuti Dasgupta and the band FLUX.
In the coming years … I can see Shammi Pithia and Engine Earz performing at the Royal Albert Hall… Now that would be an unmissable performance!
Shammi Pithia – Poem Without Words @ Richmix
Shammi Pithia – The Seeker @ Richmix
Shammi Pithia – Ajnabee Anjani @ Richmix
Shammi Pithia – Until I Hit The Ground
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.
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.
Check out: http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/genres/desi/reviews for more of Vibhuti’s work.