The Midival Punditz are back, and how!!! Though the name of the album, Hello Hello, might sound a bit frivolous, don’t let that mislead you coz you would otherwise be missing out on some really good music. The third studio album of the Delhi-based duo, which was released early last month, contains songs from diverse genres. While the opening track Electric Universe is a superb mix of groovy electronic dance beats and the bansuri (Indian bamboo flute, the acoustic version of the same song has Karsh Kale sing to a serene background of guitar and keyboard. Tonic has some brilliant Hindustani female vocals to a programmed Indian percussion interspersed with some English-Hindi rap by noted actor Ajay Naidu, and Atomizer features vocoded vox over a vintage disco template. One of the best tracks in the album is the recreation of Led Zeppelin’s Four Sticks, done in collaboration with Israeli electro jazz band J.Viewz. The Punditz bring in their innovativeness to play here too with the inclusion of instruments like the bamboo flute, giving a definitive Indian touch to the proceedings. Another classical-oriented melody is Naina Laagey, rendered by assamese singer/composer Papon to a western background of keyboards and mild electronic beats. The singing by Papon has been spot on, at times sounding similar to Hariharan. In Drifting you get to hear Pandit Ajay Prasanna in action on the flute, in conjunction with the guitar playing in the background. The song is unfortunately too short and is over before you really get enough of it. Desolate is another brilliant piece of fusion with ace vocalist/composer Shankar Mahadevan crooning along with singer/songwriter Shahid to a rock-ish and electronic instrumentation. As is Shankar’s wont, you get to hear a sargam sequence towards the latter half of the song which he carries out with aplomb. Ghazal artist Vishal Vaid executes the semi-classical Sun Mere Sanam in style, rendering the classical complexities with ease. Wonder why these artists never perform in the Indian music scene. Another Urdu song is a modernized version of Mirza Ghalib’s Har Ek Baat, with the tune remaining akin to that of a ghazal while the background is totally electronic, the flute being the only old school member. And finally, The Lucky One is archetypal electronica.
11 wonderful tracks. With two albums from Amit Heri, one from Midival Punditz et al, this is really turning out to be a good year for India on the World music arena. And as a religious follower of fusion music I couldn’t ask for more!! You can read a more detailed review of the album and listen to snippets of the songs on the official Punditz site.
Midival Punditz at Delhi during the Shalom Peace Concert 06, with Karsh Kale, Vishal Vaid, Papon and Ajay Prasanna among others
Another video from the Shalom Peace Concert 06