Narendra Kusnur's music musings …


Tanha Sa Hoon/ Lesle Lewis

Genre: Indipop

Universal Music/ Rs 150

Rating: ***

WHEN one thinks of Lesle Lewis, various things come to mind. His Colonial Cousins venture with Hariharan, his remix work on Asha Bhosle’s album ‘Rahul and I’, his work with Asha in the album ‘Jaanam Samjha Karo’, his pop album ‘Haseena’, and  his occasional trysts with Hindi and south Indian film music are some of them. More recently, he produced the Indian chapter of MTV Coke Studio, and attracted newer audiences.

For some reason, Lesle had been relatively silent on the recording front for a while — barring a couple of Tamil films a couple of years ago. As such, it’s heartening that he has recently released a new collection ‘Tanha Sa Hoon’ at a time when fewer people are coming out with private Indipop albums. And what’s equally welcome is his announcement that that Colonial Cousins have begun working on a comeback album after over a decade.

Containing seven songs sung by Lesle himself, ‘Tanha Sa Hoon’ is very reminiscent of the Indipop sound of the late 90s. The focus is on simple pop ballads, and yet, one finds influences of other genres like country, jazz, bossa nova and Indian semi-classical. While the production is commendable, the appearance of a wide cross-section of musicians lends variety. The only drawback is that the lyrics, credited to four different writers, get too predictable and hackneyed at times.

The title song is a solitude-filled number with pleasant acoustic guitars, a short solo riff and  the lines ‘Tu ne kabhi yeh na jaana, tere liye main deewana, tu ne nahin dil pehchana, jaane na kyon’. On ‘O Jaana – Sha Na Na’, Lesle opts for a filmy sound, with a soprano saxophone providing a pleasant backdrop.

The pace picks up with vibrant dhol beats and rock guitars on ‘Main Jadoo’, after which a bossa nova/ jazz element is added on ‘Aaja Tu Aaja’, which features scat vocals by Magos Herrera. The pick of the lot is ‘Saanwariya Calling’, where Lesle’s English vocals are accompanied Suchismita Das’s thumri-style rendition ‘Saiyaan gaye mohe chhodke, koi samhaaye unhein’. Brilliant composition.

‘Tere Bina’ has a simple melody line, a pleasant bansuri interlude but very done-to-death lyrics like ‘Tere bina main kaise jiyoon, tere bina main kaise rahoon, tere liye de doonga jaan, tere bina soona hai yeh jahaan’. Finally, ‘Pyar Ho Gaya’ gets into filmy groove once again, and caters more to younger audiences.

The good thing about ‘Tanha Sa Hoon’ is that it’s a simple set, without too many pyrotechnics. Lesle keeps his singing very basic, avoiding an accent while singing in Hindi, and yet singing the English lines in his typical style. While one anxiously waits for the Colonial Cousins album, it’s gladdening that Lesle is back in the recording groove.

RATING SCALE: * Poor; ** Average; *** Good; **** Excellent; ***** Classic

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