Bandhu, Shunte Pachho'
Orient Express Sagarika; Rs 40
Sha na na Kaya Sagarika; Rs 40
Brishti Chhut Arko Sagarika; Rs 40
Boitha Banjara Sagarika; Rs 40
Critics of Bangla bands ' as a genre of music ' have always pointed out that it borrows heavily from Western pop and have little else to offer other than poor imitations of the same. The criticism was not entirely unfounded, so the good news is that the Bangla bands are evolving.
Most of them now have a rich repertoire and a lot more variety. They are weaving in folk and local tunes very effectively which makes listening an enjoyable experience. For far too long we have been subjected to an onslaught of loud orchestra without adequate back-up in terms of voice or lyrics. This is evident from a set of new Bangla band releases.
Leading the pack is Orient Express who have come out with their fourth album, Bandhu, Shunte Paccho' Curiously, this is their first Bengali album and is preceded by one each in English, Spanish and an instrumental. They are influenced by Afro-Cuban music which is a refreshing departure from the regular Western stuff that we get to hear. It does sound a little mismatched at times but gets your feet tapping all the same. The title song and Mone Pore are worth mentioning. The pitch gets a little too high at times but overall the album leaves a lasting impression. Lead vocal Dibyendu Mukherji and Debopratim Baksi in instruments have done a wonderful job.
Kaya has been around for some time and the title track of their album, Sha Na Na, is already a big hit. Here, too, the accent is on melody and rhythm. The lyrics by Moinak are funny and go well with the tunes. Some of the lines are a shade predictable and there could have been more variations. But they are several notches higher than any run-of-the-mill band and seem promising enough.
Arko is another band that promises great music if their album, Brishti Chhut, is anything to go by. The lyrics are inspiring and they speak of dreams, ambitions and an ideal world. The tunes are simple but manage to catch the listener's imagination. Ambition (lyric: Partha Bhattacharya), Paagli toke chai (lyric: Sudip) and Shei swapna khunji (lyric: Sudip) sound different. On the flip side, Dik bhranta (lyric: Sudip) is pleasing to hear. Only the songs could have been shorter. The music drags on for a little too long.
Boitha by Banjara is another interesting album. This is their debut but you get the impression that they have been around for years. The tunes are mainly folk and they have sung with a lot of passion. Phande poriya, Udas baul and the title song are a pleasure listening to. The words are simple, as they should be in folk and tunes come straight from the heart. The fusion between eastern and western instruments like ektara and guitar has been good.
Comparisons will obviously be drawn with Bhoomi but Banjara will make its own place if they can live up to this effort.
Ang se ang lagana balam... Holi songs from films
SaReGaMa; Rs 40 (double pack)
If the title of this Holi album is kind of appropriately sleazy, the inlay cover photographs of Mallika Sherawat, and Saif Ali Khan-Rani Mukherjee in a rainy closeup, is appropriately unholy. Both the photographs have nothing at all to do with Holi, and they could well have been saved up for another album on those types of songs. You feel a little hoodwinked if not amused.
So, there are 10 Holi numbers, from the oldest Aaj na chhodenge (Kati Patang, 1970) to Rang de (Thakshak, 1999). Of course, the mandatory Dil mein holi jal rahi hai (Zakhmee, 1975), arguably the best Holi song in Bollywood, apart from the great older ones of V. Shantaram films. And not to mention Rang barse (Silsila, 1981). The rest, if you are already high on bhaang, will do to help you shake a leg on that unholy day next Friday in the disc or flail an arm and paw out on the road or lawn.