Episode 3. Amit Trivedi. Ergo, one of the most awaited episodes of the season. Having kicked off his musical career in the Indie scene (for the uninitiated, Amit was keyboardist of a 5-member fusion band called OM the Fusion Band which also had vocalist Shriram Iyer and guitarist composer Amartya Rahut, who launched one self-titled album in the early 2000s and stopped with that. Do check that if you haven’t, had some nice songs) I was waiting to see how he would fare in this return after the Bollywood stint. So, my thoughts on the episode below, with the videos.
Nirmohiya has you hooked right at the dreamy keyboard sequence from Amit that opens the song, and from there it only keeps getting better as other elements keep adding on – the guitars, the fantabulous singing by Harshdeep Kaur, Devendra Singh and the backing vocalists, the clarinet by Shankar Tucker, the interesting percussions.. The song is apparently themed on adolescent romance, and this is one hell of a romantic track for you. Filmy, yes, but lovely!
Don’t let the accented Hindi from Natalie Di Luccio act as a turn off; you would end up missing an Amit Trivedi trademark in Bari Bari. Though I found the track surprisingly upbeat for something whose predominant emotion is supposedly angst, there is no questioning the energy shot that the song is. The composer’s attitude-loaded singing along with Shriram Iyer’s classical prowess and Natalie’s fluidity (if you ignore the accent that is) is quite a combo. The classical-jazz-techno arrangement sees some stellar performances, particularly from Amit’s harmonium star Akhlak Varsi and the drummer Darshan Doshi.
With Yatra the composer sheds the filmy elements and gets into full-blown fusion mode, mixing world music and Indian classical elements with aplomb even as Mili Nair carries her end beautifully with her rendition of Swanand Kirkire’s lines about the journey of life. The clincher though is the point where the song does a surprise yet seamless shift from the African-dominated section to the groovy mix of the Abhogi raga-based kriti Sabhapathiku Veru Daivam sung by Shriram.
In Chaudhary a third folk singer for Season 2 is introduced, this time a more familiar one though – Mame Khan Mangniyar. And while he rules the song with his singing, the arrangement by Amit is commendable in that while it modernizes the folk song, he ensures that every folk instrument used in the background has its significance (tip of the hat to Dilshad Khan in particular). You can’t help but feel buoyant at the end of the double-timed climactic finish.
The way Badri Badariya starts off it almost seems like a reprise to Chaudhary – the prelude, led by Arshad Khan’s esraj is brilliant. But then the song turns rock. Having heard a folk song the way I did just before this one, this take didn’t quite work for me.
The last song might not have taken my fancy much, but that doesn’t stop this from being the best episode yet on Coke Studio India! Only grouse being that there is one song less this time.
Top Recos: Like I said, everything except the last song.