November blues, November blahs

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Jospephs Gate

Honey Singh’s Blue Eyes hits the mark this month, but the rest of the bhangra beat-makers haven’t quite managed to rock the charts

Groove Nation

What’s up party people! The end of another year is fast approaching. It’s been a good one for music, movies and live shows in Australia. Producers have continued to push the boundaries and artists like YoYo Honey Singh attracted lots of attention. I’ll have a full roundup in our next edition. In the meantime let’s get into some new releases starting with Mr Singh himself. Not content with resting on his movie making laurels he’s dropped a new single, Blue Eyes, and I’ve gotta say it’s slick as, he’s done it again! Smooth auto-tuned vocals, catchy lyrics and phat beats. It’s a winning formula with Honey’s style stamped all over it. Check it out on iTunes.

Panjabi By Nature (PBN) has been keeping his twitter feed busy unleashing a new female artist Bambi under the Team PBN banner. This guy’s done some great stuff in the last few years with loads of singles including Superstar, Nachna Pawu, Saa Charju, Fitteh Moo, Go Crazy (Miss Pooja), Tenu Nachdi Vekna (H-Dhami), Sadi Gal Hor Yah (DCS) and Kaun Nee Jandah (Dhol Foundation). Not to mention singing his own tracks and a greatest hits album Hitmaker The Story So Far. His style is mostly desi UK bhangra with some exceptions.

It’s great to see a new singer given the opportunity by PBN, particularly since there are not many female singers in the bhangra scene who have risen to prominence, apart from Miss Pooja. Despite the positive feedback for Zaalma, I’m gonna stick my neck out and say I’m not feeling it. I just don’t find it catchy, neither the singing nor the music, which is a bit too generic PBN-esque. I’m not digging the dance moves in the video either, though we’ve been subjected to plenty of moves in Bollywood over the years, so be it. That being said, expect the unexpected and let’s see whether this tune’s a success.

My bro Taz Stereo Nation is back after a long break with a new single O Gal. He’s even busted out the old moniker Johnny Zee. I like the reggae feel of O Gal but it’s average at best. It’s no secret I’ve been a big fan of this guy over the years. I loved his old stuff Spirits of Rhythm (Larl Larl Boleyan, Peche Churee Jawani Da), New Dawn (Ishq Ishq), Vibes, Yaar Naal Nachle, Nasha (Apna Sangeet, the whole lot!), Jambo (Oh Carol), Taz Mania and Slave II Fusion (Nachange Saari Raat).

Quite frankly some of those albums were so far ahead of their time it’s not funny.  Certain songs are still requested to this day and easily fill a dance floor. Taz is, and always will be, a legend and pioneer of the scene. But I do feel he hasn’t hit the same heights for a long time. Albums like Cafe Mumbai, Jawani On The Rocks, Twist & Shout, Desi & U Know It haven’t been as popular. I especially didn’t like Desi & U Know It and would love to see him move away from copying English songs. I also think he sounds better when singing a song in Punjabi or Hindi rather than mashing them up in the same song.

Other new releases include Billo Rani by Bikram Singh and Tiger style, Chak Du (Kam Bajwa, DJ Dips), Gabru B Famous Remix (Rajeev B), Tere Hasna (Jass Kalkat, Rishi Rich), Let Me In (Salique, Mumzy Stranger), Sakeeriyan (Ishmeet Narula, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan), Ardaas (Sukshinder Shinda, spiritual), Feem (Diamond Cut, Jazzy B) and Gabhru Punjabi (KS Makhan, from the album Too Damn Desi). Rishi Rich has scored a couple of mixes of Kabhi Jo Baadal Barse with Arijit Singh and reggae star Maxi Priest for the movie Jackpot. He’s also produced the soundtrack for Punjabi film Love You Soniye.

Next month we’ll be doing a review of 2013, and I’ll be covering some of my favorite songs and albums of the year in Bollywood, Bhangra and Urban Asian. Do get in touch and let me know your thoughts. Which soundtracks have you been listening to the most, which songs have had you hitting the dance floor? Which Indian tracks have you been cruising to in your car? Let me know. Enjoy the festive season, have a Merry Christmas, and see you in the new year.

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 Tune In 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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