Masala King: Sundar Popo

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Hey everyone, it has been a long between drinks as they say down here in Australia. Other projects (such as writing one book and editing another, ramping up a business) have taken over my waking hours. Sharing music has paid the price.

But a good friend who does a bit of work for the Red Cross in the Caribbean recently returned from the region with a couple of CDs, including this one which we share today. The very best of the King of Chutney music, Sundar Popo.

The CD is excellent with all the big hits and loads of fun. Drinking, pleasurizin’ and groovin’…the great three elements of West Indies Asian sound…chutney…are all here in abundance.

Here is a link to an article I wrote for Scroll.in a couple years ago about the man and his music!

Enjoy at full volume. And with a bottle of rum!

The Ultimate Sundar PoPo

Track Listing:

01 Nana & Nani

02 Don’t Fall In Love

03 Caroni

04 I Wish I Was A Virgin

05 Chaadar Beechawo

06 Hum Na Jai Bay

07 Pholourie

08 Bhouji Rahan Chalan

09 Cuss

10 Is De Spanner

11 Is De Spaner

12 Dotish Boy

13 Cold Water

14 Naina Band

15 Samdhi Bhara Ray

16 Suraji My Darling

17 Mother Love

Popo

Everybody Must Get Stoned: Sunday Sounds

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The exact moment that India finally embraced Flower Power is captured forever in the hypnotic and groping guitar riff that opens the hippie anthem “Dum Maro Dum” in the film Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971).

That this cultural milestone was designed by director and film lead Dev Anand to warn Indians about the loose, drug-addled lifestyle of hippies, rather than embrace it, is the very definition of irony.

“Dum Maro Dum” became an instant hit. Along with Asha Bhosle’s sultry vocals, the acrid smell of charas (hashish) seemed to seep out of radios all across North India. The composer, RD Burman, used the song as a platform to fly at the loftiest levels of popular music for the next 15 years. A young Zeenat Aman, on whom the song had been picturised, shot to “national sexpot” status overnight. Even Anand confessed he had fallen in love with his co-star.

The song remains one of Bollywood’s all-time favourites, as evergreen as eternal young man Dev Anand himself.

Over the years, as reputations of Bhosle and Pancham da (Burman) grew internationally, “Dum Maro Dum” became a source of inspiration for a slew of artists all over the world. [full article]

Sunday Best

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For several years now I have been privileged to write a weekly column for India’s premier online newspaper, Scroll.in. The column is called Sunday Sounds. I consider myself privileged for a couple of reasons:

  • I have been given a very wide and liberal brief. Essentially, I can write and share music of any genre, type, style or artist so long as it has some connection with South Asia.
  • As I’ve prepared for each week’s column I find myself researching and learning and discovering ever more about the incredible diversity and abundance of South Asian musical talent.
  • As a result of the column I’ve created a small following of fans many of whom are connected with the arts and culture communities of South Asia. In turn and through their good graces I’ve been able to begin other creative projects, such as writing books.

So to all the people at Scroll.in, especially its incredible editor Naresh Fernandes I say thank you.

There have been the more than 100 editions of Sunday Sounds thus far. To share my gratitude and joy I have put a small collection of just 25 tracks in a double ‘disc’ which I hope you will enjoy. If you’re already a fan of Sunday Sounds, you can look forward to more columns and fascinating music. If you’re a newbie, I hope you’ll log in to Scroll every Sunday and enjoy the stupendous and endlessly pleasing world of South Asian sangeet/musiqui.

This is diverse collection and reflects the Sunday Sounds mandate perfectly. You’ll discover South Indian rock fusion and fresh Pakistani qawwali. You’ll also find some English pop songs from the Beatles and Sam Roberts. Of course, there is quite a bit of South Asian folk music (one of my favourite genres), some ragas (both traditional and funked-up) and contributions from the South Asian diaspora in South and North America. In other words, quite a bit to keep a smile on your face for several hours!

Sunday sounds v1

Track Listing (pt. 1)

01 Panivizhum Malarvanam [Karthik and Bennet and Band]

02 Limbo Jazz [Wynton Marsalis and Sachal Ensemble]

03 Akhan cham cham wassiyan [Tina Sani]

04 NSA vs USA [Shahid Buttar]

05 Mustt Mustt [Brookly Qawwali Party]

06 Love, Love, Love [Shaukat Ali].

07 Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child/ Mai Ni [Madeleine Peyroux and Sachal Ensemble]

08 Hai Sharmaon Kis Kis Ko Bataon [Tabla for Two]

09 People Power in the Disco Hour [Clinton]

10 Jokerman [Divana]

11 Light My Fire [Ananda Shankar]

12 Dear Prudence [The Beatles]

 

V1

Track Listing (pt.2)

13 Sialkot [Sunny Jain Collective]

14 Idhar Zindagi ka Janaaza Uthega [Attaluah Khan Niazi]

15 Taj Mahal [Sam Roberts]

16 Raag Megh [Zohaib Hassan Khan]

17 Charkha [Ustad Ameer Ali Khan]

18 Blues For Yusef [Lionel Pillay]

19 Soul Raga [Abbas Mehrpouya]

20 Api Sanasille [Wayo]

21 Raat ke sapna (Raatein Sapna) [Ramdew Chaitoe]

22 Hippie Hindustani [Bonnie Remedios]

23 Hello madam disco [Nahid Akhtar]

24 Sri Jimi [Prasanna]

25 Mere Ghar Aaja [Blind Boy Raju]

V2

Sunny Days: Sunny Jain

Sunny Jain

Sunny Jain

Sunny Jain is a jazz drummer and one of an increasingly large muthi-ful of South Asian expatriates in the forefront of American jazz. What I like about his music and approach is that he has tapped into a vein of Indian music that doesn’t normally get much attention in the jazz world: folk music.

Collaboration and inspiration aplenty have arisen out of western jazz musicians’ attraction to the Hindustani/Carnatic classical tradition but few have explored the deep folk roots of India and indeed, Hindustani classical music itself.

Jain has in his recent work put that most ubiquitous and ungainly of folk instruments, the dhol, at the center of his art and as a result made jazz quite a bit more interesting and listenable.   Under the banner of Red Baraat and Junoon Sunny Jain and his crew pay open hearted homage to the Indian wedding band and sounds of the local mela.

Having said that, the collection we share today is a straight-ahead modern jazz album. Still exciting especially cuts like Sialkot and Awara Hoon and Wo Xiang Ni.

Avaaz

Track Listing:

01 Sialkot

02 Avaaz

03 Pink City

04 Johnnie Black

05 Meri Bhavana

06 Awaara Hoon

07 Wo Xiang Ni

08 Baraat

09 Lazaro

SJ

The Future: Perera Elsewhere

Perera Elsewhere

Perera Elsewhere

Without question the most impressive debut of the past 12 months in the desi music diaspora was the emergence of the rainbow haired embodiment of ‘cool’ who goes by the name of Perera Elsewhere.

 

Born into a Sri Lankan immigrant family Perera cut her artistic teeth in Europe and in particular the grimy arty clubs of Berlin. In that eternal musical markaz to which artists flock when careers need re-ignition or launching, this slight statuesque woman worked with an electronic band with a reggae name, Jahcoozi. After several albums and the purchase of a cheap guitar in a French street stall she branched out on her own and released her first solo album, Everlast in 2013.

 

imgresIt has taken the indie music world by storm.  The sound is rich and soulful but ultra-contemporary with no flashbacks to any previous decade and nothing Ceylonese. This is thinking person’s club melodies and beats, structured to soothe and seduce.

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Elsewhere is obviously not her real name. But it is a well chosen nom de plume. Though her music lies several oceans removed from the teardrop isle Perera is a restless soul, such is the destiny of the immigrant. Elsewhere, means, not here. Someplace other than this. Or that. An uncertain location. Indeterminate. Impossible to specify. Simply, ‘out there’.  What immigrant or third culture child has not felt more at home in these ambiguities than behind the mailbox and picket fence. Indeed, the true home of the immigrant, the globalised citizen is in the fissures between lands, not in any one.

 

With this loopy commendation I suggest you have a listen to a woman who is bound to loom large in the culture for many years, Perera Elsewhere.

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Track Listing:

01 Drunk Man

02 Giddy [ft. Gonjasufi]

03 Bizarre

04 Light Bulb

05 Ebora [ft. Aremu]

06 Dreamt That Dream

07 Shady [ft. Springintgut]

08 Bongoloid

09 Carousel

10 The Zap

11 Lazy

12 Dimmed Down

*^^@