Narendra Kusnur's music musings …

Archive for June, 2014

On the Michael Jackson beat


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YESTERDAY, on June 25, it was five years since Michael Jackson left us. While fans worldwide would have remembered his hit songs and dance steps, many in Mumbai might have flashed back to the night of November 1, 1996, when the King of Pop gave his maiden concert in India. Clearly, it was one of the best shows India has ever witnessed, and it was discussed by those who attended it for weeks to come.

As the music journalist of Mid Day, Mumbai, I was assigned not only to cover the show at Andheri Sports Complex, but also the preparations and the aftermath. In other words, I was on the ‘Michael Jackson beat’. Here, I shall jot down a few memories of that experience.

The build-up

A FORTNIGHT before the King of Pop had arrived in Mumbai, at a time when hundreds of fans were eagerly looking forward to his visit, I was already getting tired of the words ‘Michael’ and ‘Jackson’. It had been a few weeks since I had been put on the MJ beat, with a clear brief that I had to file some exclusive story every day. My boss insisted that we just could not lag behind the competition, which comprised Bombay Times and Indian Express.

I liked Michael Jackson, but I wasn’t a diehard fan. There was a time, yes, in 1983 and 1984, when I would regularly listen to ‘Thriller’, but with my tastes inclining towards rock music, I began to hear less of his music. In 1995, I reviewed his two-part ‘HIStory’ album, where the first album contained his older hits and the second was filled with newer material. I had quite liked it, specially the songs ‘They don’t care about us’, ‘Scream’ and ‘You are not alone’. Thus, there was a brief MJ phase.

Yet, the thought of doing a daily story on him certainly didn’t seem thrilling. The Internet wave was yet to begin, and there was very limited reading material on the man. I naturally began by doing a few write-ups on his music, his hits songs, his dancing, his controversies and how his earlier tour had been cancelled. I tried a few trivia pieces too, but I couldn’t stretch the write-ups beyond a week. Moreover, the articles were general in nature, and lacked any local element.

Slowly, I had to build some ‘sources’ who would regularly feed me with info. I had my contacts at Wizcraft, which was organising the tour, and Clea PR, which was handling the publicity. Most of the time, I either got no information or irrelevant information, and I’m sure they were as sick of hearing my voice as I was of calling them.

The original plan was that MJ was to do two shows in India – one in Mumbai, and the other in either Delhi or Bangalore. It would be part of the HIStory World tour and India was sandwiched between Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok in his schedule, with an entire week’s time.
One afternoon, Sabbas Joseph of Wizcraft called me to give me the exclusive news that MJ would be doing only one show, and that too in Mumbai. We carried it under the headline ‘Just One Big Blast’, leaving a lot of readers confused about the word ‘blast’. Anyway, the competition didn’t have the story, and my job was safe.

By this time, Raj Thackeray and his Shiv Udyog Sena had become increasingly involved in the show. As the political reporters had better access to him, and could also speak Marathi fluently, they began chipping in with some stories, much to my relief. But closer to the event, the onus came back to me.

How many musicians would accompany MJ? How many bodyguards? Which room of the Oberoi would he stay in and what arrangements were being made? What kind of plane would he arrive in? Who all would be present at the airport? What kind of equipment was being flown in? What kind of food was being prepared? Were any parties being hosted for him? The works!

No wonder I kept waiting for the D-Day to come fast. Mercifully, it came.

The countdown

ON October 30, 1996, I reached the Sahar International Airport around noon. Though MJ’s private jet was expected only around 2 pm, one couldn’t take a risk, just in case he landed earlier. For a long time, one could barely see anyone, barring a few people who liked like they were from the Shiv Udyog Sena.

The moment word got around that MJ’s flight had landed, people came out of nowhere. Apparently, they were waiting in buses parked a little away from the airport, and they came with banners saying ‘Welcome Michael Jackson’ and ‘Mumbai Loves You Michael Jackson’. They definitely didn’t look like MJ fans.

A lot has been written about the airport reception, right from Raj Thackeray’s welcome and actress Sonali Bendre’s nine-yard saree and ‘nathni’ (nose ornament). There was also a lot of coverage of his visit to the residence of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, where another colleague Clara Sequeira had been stationed.

I left the airport with photographer Suresh KK, thinking I just had to file a short report on the airport arrival. So we took our own time, first having a bite and then going for some other assignment. When I reached office around 6 pm, it seems my boss had been frantically trying to get in touch with me. I didn’t have a mobile phone yet, and he had tried contacting my house.

We had suddenly received an invitation to attend MJ’s party at the Oberoi. The hitch was that guests were required to dress up in formals, and I was wearing blue jeans and some colourful pink and blue printed tee. Of course, my boss had sent an office boy all the way to my residence to get some of my formal clothes but when I reached office, there was no sign of him either.

So I borrowed the shirt of my colleague Anthony D’Costa aka Danto. To hide the jeans, I didn’t tuck in the shirt. And I made my way to the Oberoi, only to discover that nobody was really checking the dress code.

Mumbai’s entire hoity-toity crowd was present there, from film stars to industrialists to party regulars to models. All of them must have thought of spending a few minutes with the pop star, and getting their photos clicked. Alas, what MJ did was simple: he arrived around two hours late, surrounded by bodyguards. His manager announced that he wasn’t well, but he was really keen on meeting Mumbai’s people. So he stayed for exactly 90 seconds, said “I Love You Mumbai” twice and disappeared.

The next day’s papers were filled with stories on how people had shook hands with him or hugged him at the bash. They quoted him saying beautiful things to them, when the truth was that he hadn’t spoken to a soul. That much for the show-offs!

The concert was to take place on November 1, and we were informed that since MJ preferred to take complete rest a day before the show, nothing had been scheduled for October 31. Of course, the star did hang out in the Oberoi lobby to meet some fans, before attending a children’s event in the hotel. It would be, of course, only a few hours before Mumbai would witness the extravaganza.

The concert

THOUGH the show would start only after 6.30 pm, first with performances by Sharon Prabhakar and Bally Sagoo, people started walking in after 4 pm. It started as a trickle, but around 6 pm the crowds started swelling.

The costliest tickets, which had a seating arrangement, were for Rs 10,000, and those standing in the front had to shell out Rs 5,000. The side of the stadium and the standing portion at the back fetched lower ticket rates, with the lowest being Rs 1,500.

For Mid-Day, I was to write the main report on the concert, and Ruchi Sharma was to cover the glam element – the celebrities attending, what they said, what they wore etc. Uday Benegal, frontman of the rock band Indus Creed, was to write another piece, covering the show from a musician’s perspective.

Michael came in around 8 pm, and the image of the makeshift spaceship and his coming out of the door is etched in our memories. His show lasted two hours and 40 minutes without a break, and there were so many other memorable moments – the artificial tank, children waving flags, his famous moondance, the lead guitar on ‘Beat it’ and his act of pulling out a girl from the audience being some.

The set list consisted of all his greatest hits and newer songs. Prominent numbers were ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Beat it’, ‘Thriller’, ‘The way you make me feel’, ‘Wanna be starting something’, ‘Rock with you’, ‘Wanna be starting something’, ‘Off the wall’, ‘Dangerous’, ‘Stranger in Moscow’, ‘Scream’, ‘They don’t care about us’, ‘You are not alone’, ‘Earth song’ and ‘Black or white’.

The best things about the show were the scale and sheer entertainment value. There wasn’t a minute when one got bored, and there was a surprise every few minutes. India has witnessed a lot of great shows – Roger Waters, Rolling Stones, Yanni, Joe Zawinul and Angelique Kidjo being some of them – but this was something else.

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The aftermath

WE waited for the crowd to ease before leaving the venue. By the time we reached the office it was almost 1 am. No worries. The space was reserved for the articles and we had ample time to file.

Nobody knew when Michael was leaving, but early next morning, we suddenly received the news that he had already left, leaving behind at the hotel a signed pillow on which he had written a message to India. Thankfully, I was asleep at that time.

The show was over. But it wasn’t the end of my plight. I had to keep up the momentum of the coverage for a few more days, till everyone else stopped talking about it. That took a couple of weeks. Then came some stories on the financing of the show and how the proceeds were being distributed, but that was done by the political reporters.

Soon, it was time for another big event – the first Channel [V] Music Awards on November 30. That’s another story.

On Madan Mohan’s 90th birth anniversary, some Lata classics


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Great combination: Madan Mohan and Lata Mangeshkar

MANY glorious combinations of music director and singer have marked Hindi film music over the years. Some of the best examples are Naushad-Mohammed Rafi, Shankar Jaikishen-Mukesh, SD Burman-Rafi, RD Burman-Kishore and RD Burman-Asha Bhosle. As for Lata Mangeshkar, she’s done great songs with almost all composers ranging from Naushad, Shankar-Jaikishen and SD Burman to RD Burman, Salil Chowdhury and Laxmikant-Pyarelal, but some of her most memorable tunes have been for Madan Mohan.

With fans celebrating Madan Mohan’s 90th birth anniversary tomorrow, June 25, thought it would be ideal to list my favourite Lata-Madan Mohan numbers. Usually, it would be difficult to rate such a list in order of preference, as most of the tunes are classics. So very diplomatically, I am mentioning my top 20 “in no particular order”. This list only contains Lata’s solo songs, not her duets.

1. Tu jahaan jahaan chalega – From the 1966 film ‘Mera Saaya’, it was written by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan.

2. Aap ki nazaron ne samjha – Who can forget this Lata Mangeshkar gem, written by Raja Mehdi Ali in the 1962 movie ‘Anpadh’?

3. Agar mujhse mohabbat hai – From the 1964 release ‘Aap ki parchaiyan’, this Lata song is hummed even today.

4. Yun hasraton ke daagh – One of Lata Mangeshkar’s most popular songs, from ‘Adalat’ in 1958. Lyrics are by Rajendra Krishan.

5. Lag ja gale – Another beauty by Raja Mehdi Ali, in the 1964 film ‘Woh Kaun Thi?’

6. Naghma-o-sher ki saugaat – Sahir Ludhianvi’s words and Madan Mohan’s music work wonders in this song from the 1964 film ‘Gazal’.

7. Zara si aahat – From the 1964 war film ‘Haqeeqat’, with lyrics by Kaifi Azmi.

8. Naina barse rimjhim rimjhim – Once again, Madan Mohan, Raja Mehdi Ali and Lata combine to create this gem in the 1964 film ‘Woh Kaun Thi?’

9. Unko yeh shikaayat hai – Lata at her melodic best, in Rajendra Krishan’s song from the 1958 film ‘Adalat’.

10. Nainon mein bhadra chaaye – Another Madan Mohan-Raja Mehdi Ali-Lata combination, this was from the 1966 film ‘Mera Saaya’.

11. Jab yaad kisiki aati hai – The title song of the 1967 film of the same name, written by Raja Mehdi Ali and picturised on Mala Sinha.

12. Baiyan na dharo – From ‘Dastak’ in 1970. The film also had Lata’s brilliant ‘Mai ri’ and ‘Hum hain mata-e-koocha-o-bazaar’, penned by Majrooh.

13. Milo na tum to – Written by Kaifi Azmi in the 1970 film ‘Heer Ranjha’.

14. Ruke ruke se kadam – From the 1975 film ‘Mausam’, this was written by Gulzar.

15. Husn haazir hai – From the 1976 film ‘Laila Majnu’. Sahir Ludhianvi’s lines ‘Koi patthar se na maare mere deewane ko’ became a rage.

16. Rasm-e-ulfat ko nibhaaye kaise – Written by Naqsh Lyallpuri for the 1973 ‘Dil Ki Rahen’, this was one of Lata’s outstanding hits of the 1970s.

17. Aaj socha toh aansoon bhar aaye – The 1973 film ‘Hanste Zakhm’ was best known for Rafi’s singing and the orchestration of ‘Tum jo mil gaye ho’, but Kaifi Azmi shines on this one too.

18. Woh bhooli dastaan – An unforgettable tune from the 1961 movie ‘Sanjog’, this is classic Lata.

19. Woh jo milte the kabhi – From the 1963 film ‘Akeli Mat Jaaiyo’, with lyrics by Majrooh.

20. Badi barbadiyan lekar – A rarer song from the 1953 film ‘Dhun’, with lyrics by Kaif Irfani.

What is Sufi music and what is indie?


AS of now, not many people may be aware of Arijit Dutta, music director of ‘Filmistaan’. While he has composed a few good tunes like ‘Uljhi uljhi’ and ‘Bebaak’ which go well with the movie, it is still early to talk of his future prospects. However, one was delighted to read his interview this morning, where he said he doesn’t want to be associated with the term ‘Sufi music’, because it’s just being used as a fad, and that people are actually misusing the term.

Dutta has clearly hit the nail on the head with his observations. ‘Sufi’ is one of the two terms that musicians and music industry folk across India are using without really knowing or understanding its meaning. The other term to become trendy over the past few years is ‘indie’, and one is tired of listening to people use it without really being able to define it.

Let’s try and look at both the terms in detail, and mention what exactly our grouse is against the way they are being used:

Sufi music: In its original sense, Sufi music is a traditional and devotional form associated with the group of mystics known as Sufis. The qawwali and kaafi are the most popular forms of Sufi music, and have been associated with great poets like Baba Bulleh Shah, Hazrat Shah Hussain, Amir Khusro, Khwaja Ghulam Farid, Rumi and Hafez.

Among singers, one would associate Sufi music with Pakistani singers Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sabri Brothers, Pathaney Khan and Abida Parveen, and Indian groups like Wadali Brothers and Nizami Brothers. There are also certain tribal groups in Rajasthan who blend Sufi and folk music well. Through their voices and by following a certain pattern of instrumentation, all these artistes have stuck to the true meaning and purity of Sufi music.

Sufi music has always had a restricted but devoted audience in India. To make it more accessible to the masses, attempts were made to modernise it by infusing it with pop sounds. This is where the problem began.

Soon, anybody using a few technical vocal patterns was named – or began naming himself – a Sufi artiste. By adding typical words like ‘Maula’ and ‘Khuda’, songs were dubbed Sufi. Even filmmakers and music directors insisted on using one or two such songs in every film, and music companies released compilations of Sufi music containing tunes that were anything but Sufi. ‘Sufi-rock’ became a fad too, though only a few bands like Junoon, Mekaal Hasan Band and Fuzon got the mix right.

To be fair, there have been a few instances when some good music has been created with a Sufi influence, especially by A R Rahman, Kailash Kher and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. But it would have been adequate to describe these songs as ones inspired by Sufi music instead of saying they were a full-blown part of Sufi music.

It’s been over a decade since people have misused the term Sufi music. Sadly, the trend still continues. As such, it was heartening to hear Dutta’s views on the subject, especially at a time when most well-known music directors claim to be producing Sufi music.

Indie music: Our problem with the term ‘indie music’ has more to do with the fact that there is no specific way to describe what it means, and yet one sees so many people who claim to be backing this form.

Yes, the term ‘indie music’ started in the west to describe music produced by artistes who were independent or partly dependent on the mainline record labels. They would pay for, record and produce music albums or songs on their own. In most cases they would sell directly in stores, or even online. However, at times they have approached the big labels for distribution.

Depending on the kind of music they produced, ‘indie’ groups in the west were clubbed in sub-genres like indie-rock, indie-metal and indie-pop (not to be confused with Indipop, or Indian pop music).

The same rules were initially applied in India, where ‘indie music’ was used to describe musicians who released their own albums. A lot of underground talent was discovered. Music awards ceremonies began giving separate awards for indie artistes, events like Nh7 Weekender were built up around the indie scene, radio stations had separate indie shows and even a channel called MTV Indies was floated to cater to this segment.

The audience too caught the indie bug. Ask many youngsters today about what music they like, and they will tell you they are fans of ‘indie’ music. But ask them to define it, and chances are that many of them won’t even relate it to the term ‘independent’.

In the Indian context, what exactly is ‘indie music’? If one looks at artistes associated with indie music in India, they include rock bands like Thermal and a Quarter, alternative groups Spud in the Box and Sky Rabbit, jazz artistes like Adil & Vasundhara and Shefali Alvares, fusion bands Indian Ocean and Agam, electronic outfits Dualist Inquiry and Shaa’ir & Funk, hip-hop/ drum ‘n’ bass band Bombay Bassment and the reggae-influenced Skavengers. Even veteran rock bands like Indus Creed and Parikrama are being called ‘indie’.

While most of the artistes mentioned are genuinely talented, the truth is that none of them have any connection with each other in terms of sound. How can all of them be clubbed under one type of music, when they are themselves so varied?

People have started using the term ‘indie’ for any kind of music which isn’t mainstream, which doesn’t belong to Hindi or regional films, which isn’t classical, which isn’t devotional, which isn’t ghazal or which doesn’t fit in any genre that can be specifically labelled. In short, just because it’s become fashionable to promote ‘indie music’, people are going all out to support it, even if there is no actual way of defining it.

Over the years, the music industry has been using various names to describe many genres and their numerous sub-genres. But there was some method to it. Today, a term like ‘Sufi music’ is being misused, whereas ‘indie’ is being used without being understood.

Percussion from India ― 5/ The other drums


The ‘Percussion from India’ series was started in November 2013 as a follow-up to the ‘Instruments from India’ series, which talked of melody instruments. The first two parts of the new series, which aims to features drums commonly used in India, spoke of the tabla. The third part talked of double-headed drums like the mridangam, pakhawaj and dhol, and the fourth part talked of Carnatic instruments besides the mridangam – namely, ghatam, kanjira and morsing.

In this concluding part of the series, we shall look at some other drums commonly used in India. Of course, there are numerous other percussion instruments used in different types of folk and devotional music, but here, we shall stick to the most common ones.

In this series, I shall not go into too many technicalities and playing styles, unless really necessary. I shall focus on how the instrument is used in different genres. The instruments mentioned below may not have any renowned maestros, like we have in tabla and mridangam. Yet, there are talented players across the country.

INDIAN music is so diverse that one finds different kinds of percussion instruments in different geographical regions and genres. While the tabla, pakhawaj and dhol are the most popular in the north, and the mridangam, ghatam and kanjira in the south, one finds many other instruments that are used in specific forms of music.

Let’s take a look at some of them:

manjira

Manjira: A traditional pair of cymbals, the manjira has found plenty of use in devotional bhajans. Besides being played in temples, they are also played during home recitals or in Mumbai’s local trains.

Manjiras are usually made of bronze, brass, copper, zinc or bell metal. They produce a tinkling sound when struck together. Based on their size, weight and the material used, their pitch can be varied.

In his bhajan recitals, vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was often accompanied by a manjira player.

Kartal: They are a pair of wooden blocks or frames with small metal jingles mounted in them. They are simply beaten together to provide a rhythmic support to bhajans, kirtan, folk and other light music. The term kartal is also applied to wooden claves.

One often finds kartal players in Rajasthani folk and Sufi music, with the player usually bouncing on stage in an effervescent manner.

Jal tarang: This is a set of China bowls that are filled with water. Each bowl is struck with a light wooden mallet to cause it to ring. Jal tarang is not very common and is normally found in the accompaniment of kathak dancers.

George Harrison played the jal tarang on the title track of his 1982 album ‘Gone Troppo’. In India, Seethalakshmi Doraiswamy is an accomplished player.

Chenda: It is a drum from Kerala and parts of coastal Karnataka. The chenda is mainly played in Hindu temple festivals and as an accompaniment in the religious art forms of Kerala. It is used as an accompaniment for Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Kannyar Kali, Theyyam and among many forms of dances and rituals in Kerala.

The Karnataka version, known as chende, is also used in the dance drama known as Yaksha Gana. It has heads on both ends but only one side is played.

dafli

Daf or dafli: The word ‘dafli’ became popular with the song ‘Dafli waale’ from the Rishi Kapoor-Jayaprada film ‘Sargam’. It is basically a tambourine, similar to the kanjira of south Indian music but much broader in that it can even have a two feet diameter.

It is commonly used in folk music but is rarely heard in other styles.

Tasha: The tasha is a popular folk instrument of the kettle drum variety. It is characterised by a very shallow metal shell, and is is played with drumsticks. It is extremely popular in marriage procession bands.

Nagada: Another form of kettle drum, they are 1 or 2 feet in diameter, and played with sticks. One often finds it as an accompaniment to shehnai.

Tumbak: The tumbak is basically an Indian version of the goblet drum. One finds it mainly in Kashmiri folk, and it is similar to foreign instruments like dumbek, darbouka and djembe.

Talking of the djembe, though it is actually an African instrument, Zakir Hussain’s brother Taufiq Qureshi has modified it in such a way that he plays Indian rhythms on it.

ghung

Ghunghroo: A very familiar instrument as it is used with dance in the form of anklets tied to the dancer’s feet. The ‘Chor Machaye Shor’ hit ‘Ghunghroo ki tarah’ and the Pankaj Udhas song ‘Ghunghroo toot gaye’ made them a household word.

The ‘ghunghroo’ evolved from the payal, which are basically anklets. However, to produce a rhythmic sound, special anklets were created and named ‘ghunghroo’.

In sum: As mentioned, India has a vast range of percussion instruments, used in different types of folk music, devotional music, classical music, film music and dance. It would be ideal to enjoy these instruments at live concerts.

This brings us to the end of the series on percussion instruments. If readers have any queries regarding any other rare percussion instrument I have missed out, do write. If I get the right information, will be happy to send it across.

Long live Indian Ocean!


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WE managed to catch the gig purely by chance. On Saturday afternoon, my friend Parag Kamani and I had gone to the Palm Expo at Goregaon, primarily to attend the Indian Recording Arts awards. As luck would have it, Parag saw a board announcing a performance by popular band Indian Ocean at an event presented by Yamaha. It was to start any moment, and we rushed.

Almost an hour later, Indian Ocean began their concert with ‘Behney Do’, a song from their latest album ‘Tandanu’. The small venue was packed, stuffy and sweaty, but one was quite surprised at how well the young crowd knew this number and ‘Gar Ho Sakey’, despite the fact that they are barely a few weeks old. Over the next hour, older and familiar tunes ‘Bandhey’, ‘Jhini’, ‘Ma Rewa’ and ‘Kandisa’ mesmerised the audience.

One had always wanted to see the new Indian Ocean line-up, moreso after Nikhil Rao replaced extra-popular guitarist Susmit Sen, who quit last June. I had often seen the original line-up – vocalist-bassist Rahul Ram, Susmit, drummer Amit Kilam and vocalist-tabla player Asheem Chakravarti (who passed away in December 2009) – but had missed the few occasions when vocalist Himanshu Joshi and tabla player Tuheen Chakravarti had performed in Mumbai. And since I have been tripping on ‘Tandanu’ for a few weeks now, this event was an absolute delight.

In ‘Tandanu’, Indian Ocean have done something unique in that each number involves a collaboration with a well-known Indian artiste. Thus, the songs feature singers Shubha Mudgal and Shankar Mahadevan, singer-music director Vishal Dadlani, Mohan veena exponent Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, violinist Kumaresh, drummer Karsh Kale and kanjira player V Selvaganesh.

Each song is brilliant on its own, but if someone were to point a gun at me and ask me my three favourites, they would be ‘Charkha’ with Bhatt, ‘Longing’ with Kumaresh’ and ‘Gar Ho Sakey’ with Mudgal. Of late, ‘Behney Do’ has been growing on me – its main vocals are sort-of stuck in the head, moreso after hearing it live.

What’s interesting is that despite the variety of musicians, the band retains the original Indian Ocean flavour. The smart fusion of folk, semi-classical and rock is very much present, and so are some amazing instrumental solo passages. The recording by Shantanu Hudlikar and mixing by KJ Singh are first-rate.

Two thoughts came to mind while hearing the album. One is that the decision to tie up with other illustrious musicians seems to be an intelligent or even a safe move. If they had released an album on their own, old-time fans might have compared the earlier line-up with the new one. But with some well-known musicians, the entire attention has been diverted. Of course, it must be emphasised that vocalist Himanshu, guitarist Nikhil and tabla player Tuheen have all played brilliantly. Even at the show, they were in great form.

The other thought is about how these songs would be played live, considering they feature guest musicians who will not tour with them each time. With ‘Behney Do’, it was possible because the guest (Karsh Kale) was a drummer, and one didn’t have to change much in the melody lines. At the show, they also adapted ‘Gar Ho Sakey’ with Himanshu’s voice instead of Shubha Mudgal. It was a superb rendition.

However, as bassist-vocalist Rahul pointed out, they are still working on the others, though it would always be difficult to match Bhatt and Shankar Mahadevan. He felt the only song which seemed really difficult to adapt is ‘Longing’, moreso because it has such a gorgeous violin stretch by Kumaresh.

For a while, one may expect Indian Ocean to perform only two or three songs from the new album (in all probability ‘Behney Do’, ‘Gar Ho Sakey’ and maybe the Vishal Dadlani number ‘Roday’) at its shows. But the good thing is that the band has such a fantastic repertoire, and its back catalogue is filled with loads of great tunes.

In the end, a huge round of applause for Rahul and Amit for keeping the Indian Ocean brand alive. After Asheem’s demise and Susmit’s exit, the hardcore fans may have had doubts about the group’s future, especially since both were hughly talented musicians with a major fan following of their own. In similar circumstances, any other band may have fallen apart. But Indian Ocean decided to rock on, and ‘Tandanu’ is on par with all the great music they have created in the past. Long live Indian Ocean!

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