Listen to the full album here.
Soft strains of Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt’s mohan veena herald Shreya Ghoshal’s entry in Yeh Aasmaan, the opening track of her first ghazal album. While the lady effortlessly goes about the complex nuances of the melancholic piece (kalyaana vasantam raga, my guess), the mohan veena keeps making its appearance off and on with some lovely phrases and pretty much rules the backdrop, but for one violin solo by composer Deepak Pandit. Guest lyricist Vaibhav Modi’s (Manoj Muntashir has penned most of the other songs) well-imagined lines in Naam Likh Kar get an interesting guitar-led arrangement from the composer – pleasantly tuned for most part with the occasional dark twists (sindhubhairavi raga I think) around which the guitars gather pace. The intermittence of percussion (Heera Pandit) too adds a nice touch. Yeh Dil Jo Pyaar Ka starts off on what sounds like puriya dhanasree raga but goes through multiple raga shifts over six and a half minutes, all of which is deftly handled by Shreya with some fabulous flute in tow (Pt. Ronu Majumdar and Ashwin Srinivasan credited). The mohan veena-violin combo is back in Raaton Ko (penned by another guest lyricist Ahmed Anees), but this time with more of violin. And guitars (by Sanjay Jaipurwale), most notably a prominent bass, something not often heard in a ghazal. If I were to pick a song where Shreya sounds her best, this would be it – there are some particularly fabulous improvisations from her throughout the song.
In Teri Talaash too the use of bass alongside the guitars stands out (more so here) even as the composer provides a rich arrangement featuring Dilshad Khan’s sarangi, harmonium et al – for the last 30 odd seconds it is just the bass and tabla accompanying Shreya’s alaaps. Shamma Jalti Rahi starts with Shreya singing the puriya dhanashree based bandish “Beet Gaye Jugwa” before moving on to a lighter theme for the main composition. Here it is Sanjay Jaipurwale’s keys and Deepak’s violin dominating the background; that first interlude with Deepak’s solo evokes a very Ilayaraja-esque feel. Lyricist Manoj is in particularly good form in Kuchh Rishtey uses lyrics penned by Ajay Jhingran and is presented as a tribute to the lyricist-singer who suffered an untimely death late last year. The song sees some beautiful improvs, presumably around raag sindhubhairavi, on vocals, flute and mohan veena. The composer decides to spruce things up a bit in Maahi Rokna Aaj – once Shreya is done with that prelude piece (shubhapantuvarali raaga – lalit/todi in Hindustani; sounds a lot like the Bhor Bhaye piece she sang in Delhi 6) the song takes on a predominantly Punjabi flavour both in its lyrics and arrangement. Neville Franco’s strings section provides excellent support to the vocalist on this one, alongside some fine sarangi-playing from Dilshad Khan in the first half.
It comes as no surprise that the star of Humnasheen is Shreya Ghoshal; it is not often that the singer gets to display her classical prowess and she makes the most of it here. That said, she is complemented wonderfully by Deepak Pandit and his brilliant set of musicians, featuring some well-revered names. And the result is one keeper of a ghazal debut for Shreya.
Top Recos: All of them!
Complete album credits:
Music arranged and solo violin – Deepak Pandit
Tabla and Rhythm arranger – Heera Pandit
Songs programmed, keys, guitars – Sanjay Jaipurwale
Mohan Veena – Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt
Flute – Pt. Ronu Majumdar , Ashwin Srinivasan
Sarangi – Dilshad Khan
Neville Franco and Group – “Bombay Strings Section”
Auto harp – Deepak Borkar
Vibraphone – Dhyanesh Dev
Recorded at Emsquare Studio and Ram Digital, Mumbai
All songs are Recorded Mixed and Mastered by – K. Sethuraman