Narendra Kusnur's music musings …


vayu

Vayuputras/ Various artistes

Genre: Devotional/ fusion

Times Music/ Rs 295

Rating: ****

AMONG the contemporary Indian writers, Amish Tripathi has proved to be hugely popular with his Shiva trilogy. The first two books ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ and ‘The Secret of the Nagas’ were really well-written, and commercially successful too.

The author has just come out with the concluding part ‘The Oath of The Vayuputras’, and on the eve of its release, he launched an 11-track CD called ‘Vayuputras’. Produced by seasoned music industry professional Raajeev Sharma, the album features a host of artistes, including classical duo Pandits Rajan and Sajan Mishra, singers Sonu Nigam and Euphoria’s Palash Sen, percussionist Taufiq Qureshi, tabla exponent Bickram Ghosh and multi-instrumentalist Raghav Sachar, besides some lesser-known but really talented names.

The music is primarily devotional in nature, filled with shlokas and chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’, but with a contemporary feel and fusion flavour. Despite a considerable amount of programming, the songs use a lot of traditional instruments, including the bansuri, sitar, sarod, ektara, tabla and even the characteristic mridangam on a composition depicting the dance of the Nataraj. However, one wishes the rudra veena, said to be the instrument dear to Lord Shiva, was used somewhere.

Many people would be familiar with the song ‘Jo Vayuputra Ho’, composed by Taufiq Qureshi with vocals by Sonu Nigam, as it features in the promotions. The 10th song on the album, it has modern orchestrations including electric guitars and keyboards, and uses the lines: “Shapath se na apath ho woh jo Vayuputra ho.”

However, before that comes on, there’s plenty of melody magic. The opening number, ‘The Shiva Trilogy Theme: Neelkanth’, has been composed by Taufiq, who also plays percussion. A highlight is the wonderful flute-playing of Varad Kathapurkar. With its ambient mood and catchy arrangements, it sets the perfect tone.

The next four songs are inspired by situations taking place in the ‘Meluha’ book. ‘She Enters His Life’, which talks of Sati entering the life of Shiva, has been composed by Aditya Jain and Durgesh Khot. It begins with the shlokaBrahmanandamparama sukhadam kevalam jnanamurtim”, and is followed by melodic taraana-styled vocals by Saurabh Shetye and Supriya Ramalingam.

‘Nataraj: The Lord of Dance’ has been composed by Bickram Ghosh, and boasts of vibrant shloka chants and classical vocal elements, and energetic instrumental rendition, with sarod, sitar, tabla and mridangam. Taufiq’s ‘Har Har Mahadev’ is a speech before a war, with Amish himself reciting the English words. ‘Bhadra Bam Bole’, composed by Arijit Datta and featuring robust vocals by Prasant A Samadhar, is based on many incidents in which Shiva smokes the chillum.

‘Jawab Do Prabhu’, performed by the group Aghor along with vocalist Jataveda Banerjee, represents the ‘Nagas’ book. Orchestrated with a bhajan feel and charming flute passages, it evokes a sense of sadness and emotion with lines like: “Tum the meri duniya, mere ishwar, mere vidhaata, phir bhi tum mujhe chhod gaye, yaad kiya,maine yaad kiya” and “Hey Prabhu, kaise paaoon tohra pyaar, jawaab do, jawaab do, Ishwar mere, jawaab do.” Super number this.

The next piece ‘Kashi to Panchvati’ is composed and performed by Sunny Thadani and Charan Singh Pathania, with vocals by Saurabh Shetye. A Yanniesque new age-meets-electronica feel, sweeping orchestrations and powerful drums make this an absolute winner, and the ‘Satyam Sundaram’ recitations at the end leave you with a high.

Two tracks are inspired by the concluding ‘Vayuputras’ book. Raghav Sachar’s ‘Shiva Sanware’ has a Rahman-like flavour, pleasant arrangements, lyrics by Rohit Sharma and sweet-sounding vocals by Paroma Dasgupta. ‘Badri Re, Prabhu Ram’, composed by Tatva Kundalini, features Palash Sen of the band Euphoria. With its balance of Hindi and English lyrics and even its compositional style, it is reminiscent of the Colonial Cousins sound.

The album concludes with ‘Om Namah Shivay’, which contains recitation of chants by Pandits Rajan and Sajan Mishra. With its shankh opening, strong tanpuras and bansuri interludes, the piece induces a feeling of peace and calmness.

Though the CD has essentially been released to market the Shiva trilogy, it stands out on its own, with some fantastic compositions, and ability to relate to the themes used in the books. While we strongly recommend you read the books too, the CD is a must for music buffs whether they have a habit of reading or not.

RATING SCALE: * Poor; ** Average; *** Good; **** Excellent; ***** Simply outstanding

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