To the tune of Nesdi and Nusrat


What’s up party people! I’d like to kick off by talking about Nesdi Jones, a talented singer from Wales. Nesdi announced her arrival on the scene earlier this year with impressive guest vocals on Money Aujla’s London. The music for the song was produced by Yo Yo Honey Singh and instantly caught my attention. Indeed I’ve played it several times on the Mumbai Masala show on PBS. Well I’m pleased to say Nesdi’s back with her own single Tere Naal and I’m really feeling it. Her English vocals are great and she even sings in Hindi and Punjabi on this one, earning her the nick name the Welsh Desi Gori. Check out the video on YouTube. She also released a qawwali style single Akhiyan Udeek Diyan with Northern Lights last month but I’m not digging that one. Tere Naal’s where it’s at and I recommend everyone have a listen. It’s my kind of fusion.

Speaking of fusion, the 515 Crew dropped a fantastic single Baarish with UK singer Shama in 2012 and they’ve teamed up again on a new song Jogan also on a qawwali vibe. I haven’t heard the full track but I must admit the promo’s not quite floating my boat. I’m not feeling the vocals, which is surprising as Shama’s actually a really good singer. Don’t take my word for it though, you be the judge, have a listen and see what you think. While you’re at it, definitely check out the monsoon mix of Baarish it’s really good. Another qawwali tune fresh out of the studio is Lovers’ Eyes (Mohe Pi Ki Najariya) by Damian Lazarus and The Ancient Moons. This is a wicked piece of electronica. In addition to the single there’s a separate EP with several remixes.

Vix Sambi is an R&B/soul singer from the UK looking to make a name for himself. I recently heard his single Don’t Fly Away featuring Tariq Khan and I like it. It’s a smooth tune with mostly English lyrics and some Hindi. The combination works really well and Vix’s voice sounds good. Have a look at the video online. From R&B to Hip Hop, Blizzy’s brought out a new tune Police with Deep Jandu. Jiggapree and Jessi have released 218 (Tu Ho Gayi) with a clubby dance feel to it. Jags Klimax has got everyone doing giddha with Make It Clap featuring Lembher Hussainpuri and one of the pioneers of the UK Bhangra scene Mick St Clair is back with reggae and desi versions of Singh Sardaar starring Daljit Mattu of Captain Bhangra Da fame.

Listening to Mick’s new single reminded me of his work back in the 1990s so I decided to check out his classic album House of Shah. This is interesting as it is Volume 8 of the late great Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s collection titled the Mick St Clair Remixes. Mick was probably the first artist to have a go at remixing Nusrat’s sound and I think it came out quite good. I particularly like Shahbaz Qalander but really this was the prelude to Bally Sagoo’s Magic Touch in which Bally absolutely nailed it and achieved perfection with the concept of modernising Nusrat’s sound. In doing so he introduced the Ustad to a whole new generation of youngsters including myself who had never heard of him. Songs like Kinna Sohna inspired us all and led to me checking out Nusrat’s original qawwalis and enjoying them. It’s unlikely this step would’ve happened if it wasn’t for the brilliance of Bally Sagoo bridging the gap between east and west with his music.

Turning to the film side of things, AR Rahman’s latest project is the score to Disney’s Million Dollar Arm. I’m a huge fan of Rahman’s music and it’s great to see him kicking ass in the mainstream ever since the success of Slumdog Millionaire. The soundtrack’s releasing on 22nd August. I’ve already heard a couple of tracks Million Dollar Dream (Iggy Azalea, Sukhwinder Singh) and Makhna (Sukhwinder Singh). It sounds good. Salman Khan’s Kick is getting some love at the box office as is the music featuring Yaar Na Miley (Yo Yo Honey Singh, Jasmine) and Jumme Ki Raat (Mika Singh, Palak Muchhal). There’s actually four versions of Jumme if you include the remixes and six versions of Tu Hi Tu. Finally, Samjhawan (Arijit Singh, Shreya Ghoshal) from Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania is a very nice version (albeit a blatant ripoff!) of Main Tenu originally sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in the Punjabi film Virsa.

That’s it for this month! For more on the latest in the scene, check out my weekly radio show Mumbai Masala at (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, Peace out.


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