Sunday September 22, 2013

Coke Studio @ MTV, Season 3, Episode 6 (Music review) – Amit Trivedi

Posted by Karthik

The severely under-rated Tochi Raina is the highlight of Rabba. The man lords over the lovely melody Amit cooks up, with some support from Jaggi’s rap. Sukhjinder Singh’s constant algoza sound is a lovely native Punjabi infusion in the tune, while the three ladies providing backing vocals – Dawn Cordo, Murishka Dcruz, Ardelia Dcruz – are fantastic too! But it is Tochi, with even pained, in-character expressions, who wins here, outright!

Amit throws a googly with Shaher mein, where he changes the hook’s tune to a fairly unusual note from how the song flows initially. Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics are fantastic, eliciting the madness of city life and Tapas Roy’s charango is a lovely accompaniment! If there was one thing that seemed amiss it is Tanvi Shah’s choice for this song. The usually adept Tanvi seems a bit flat for the song and I just wonder if this needed a more powerful singer – I don’t want to name anyone in specific, but someone with a full-bodied voice to bring out the loss of character in the nameless millions of the city.

Khari khari, despite star vocalists like Kavita Seth and Kutle Khan, seems fairly templatized. Arshad Khan on the esraj makes a difference, but the overall song is very look-ma-I-am-feeling-these-emotions-in-Rajasthan feel that changes note only twice – once, when Arshad joins the percussion, and again, when the song ends on a different note.

Things get progressively better with Naariyan. It starts with the perky lyrics by Kausar Munir, that has a nice conversational style, though the male portions are lesser and more of an after-thought’ish addition. Shalmali Kholgade, with not just her spectacular vocals, but also the expressions she throws at Karthik, is a superb choice for the song! Kishore Sodha’s trumpet is a great addition, as are the silences Amit fills the song with at strategic points! Karthik, at one point, even adds a lovely whistle interlude on his own to join the trumpet. And then that fabulous ending with manic energy from all involved! This is Amit going for the kill!

But no, the man has to top that too! And he does, in style, with Kyun na! This is Amit’s trademark – the layered music, led by Finix’s violin, the sudden outbursts… all intact here! The optimism and outlook portrayed by Ozil Dalal in the lyrics adds life to the already enjoyable song. The singers too – Karthik, Dhruv Sangari, Chandana Bala and Amit himself – are superb in their respective roles, and in the overall scheme of exchanging the lines amongst themselves that plays out beautifully like the musical equivalent of Rashomon! The lyricless portion in the middle – featuring beatboxing by Alan Desouza, Shree’s kanjira and Rais Khan’s morching is a throughly imaginative addition!

Amit’s set is completely original, with no folk/traditional covers! And that’s where the man excels, in his usual style! The overall tone is markedly more urban compared to the few earlier episodes that revelled in non-metro’ish, folk music that was great in its own way, of course. Barring Khari khari, this is a very, very good episode, albeit worth complaining that it has just five songs as against the usual six!

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