On track with the classics

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Two Maestros in the news this month – AS Kang for his new album after a decade of silence and the one and only AR Rahman, who will perform in Sydney this August

What’s up party people! AS Kang’s new album Maestro, his first in a decade, has been getting a lot of attention and I’ve had a few people asking me about it since dropping the news last month. Now that I’ve had time to listen properly to all the tracks I’d like to start by giving the lowdown on this. To begin, the album’s a mix of new songs and covers of his many classics. With the release of Maestro, Kang has now been singing for five consecutive decades! Three of his biggest hits Giddhian Di Rani, Aashiq Tera and Lambran Di Nau Nachdi are revived here with a desi beat. It’s nice to hear these tunes though I have to be honest and say that Kang has lost a little bit on his voice. He still sounds great though.

Of the new tunes, the most notable is the obligatory (especially given his past) Maestro Boliyan. Again it’s pretty good but I will say not quite as good as his boliyans from the 90s. Which brings me to my next point. Since getting Maestro I’ve found myself listening to Kang’s older tunes from Jawani, Flashback and Kang Fu. They’re on constant repeat and sound just as good today as they did back in the day! So my advice to all bhangra heads is to grab a copy of Maestro from iTunes. Once you’ve done that, check out the albums I mentioned, in particular Valeti Boliyan (Kang Fu), Boliyan and Desi Boliyan (Jawani). These are timeless classics worthy of any bhangra lover’s collection, trust me you won’t regret it!

Next I want to express my appreciation of Melbourne’s funkiest band The Bombay Royale for making waves in UK and Europe performing at various festivals and even a tube station. Following their iTunes Album of the Year award last year, these guys are absolutely smashing it in 2013 making cool Bengali funk the new Punjabi! Asides from Glastonbury and Womad, to name a couple, they appeared on BBC TV singing one of their own compositions Henna Henna. What a transition, I’m still scratching my decks to believe it. These Aussie Indian Village People nutters have gone from being a Bollywood cover band singing retro 70s and 80s to writing their own original music and banging out their own tunes. They’re different, fresh and taking the world by storm. What I’d really love them to do now is hit the mainstream charts. Congratulations guys, keep up the great work and can’t wait to see what’s next.

AR Rahman’s on his way to Sydney performing at Allphones Arena 24 August. Eight years ago, a newly formed group called Charindaa brought Rahman to Australia for the first time ever. His amazing entourage included almost every big singer from Bollywood as they rocked the house at Rod Laver Arena. The show was a groundbreaking and memorable event and remains to this day one of the best concerts seen in this country. This time round, it promises to be an audio and visual spectacular with musical fusion, lighting and audience interaction. Mind you, all that was there in 2005 as well. Anyway, Rahman being Rahman, he’s taking it to the next level! I’d like to big up the promoters Techfront and also the team at Charindaa, especially “the two Ronnies” Mohan and Mohan, for supporting this latest RahmanIshq tour. Exciting stuff.

Last but not least, some new beats worth checking out. Surinder Rattan and Deep Jandu’s Dil Tera is floating my boat on a Punjabi House vibe. Panjabi Hit Squad’s back in town with Electro Mahiya, Fulkari and a remix of Dil Mera (Rahat Fateh Ali Khan). Priyanka Chopra’s looking smokin’ hot in Pitbull’s single Exotic. Check the video if you haven’t already. Naughty Boy’s La La La is annoyingly catchy whilst 3Mix’s Hero is smooth r&b. Chennai Express is alright, Sukshinder Shinda’s getting spiritual in Simran and Honey Singh’s paying tribute to Rajnikanth in Lungi Dance. Elsewhere, Shikari (Banger, Jaswinder Jassi), Aar Nachle (Gurvinder Singh, Meet Malkit) and Maahi Ve Maahi (Preet Brar, Sudesh Kumari, Moneyspinner) are high pitched, hardcore Punjabi, sung as if the vocalists have something stuck up their butts!

That’s it for this month! For more on the latest in the scene, check out my weekly radio show Mumbai Masala at www.pbsfm.org.au (available on demand online or live in Melbourne on 106.7 PBS FM, Monday evenings 7pm-8pm). You can also listen using TuneIn app or PBS Radio’s iPhone and Android apps. Get in touch with me on Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to hear your feedback on this column and the show via my website www.richimadan.com, info@richimadan.com. Peace out.

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