Jag Changa – The Raghu Dixit Project (Fusion Album): Music Review

raghu dixit - jag changaParasiva could make for a good dance song in a Kannada movie; its heavy-on-percussion folk base layered with some nifty guitars. And being a Kannada song, Raghu Dixit has little problem rendering it to the tee. It is in the other two Kannada songs that the man scores an A+ though! First there is Lokada Kaalaji with its happy guitars and banjos (Abigail Washburn, Bryden Stephen Lewis) bringing with it a very festive mood. The horns section (Andy Mellon on trumpet, Brendan Kelly on sax) only adds to the carnivalesque-ness. Kodagana Koli Nungita on the other hand takes a dark route, with an Arabic base (loosely based on vakulabharanam or mayamalavagowla I think) powering yet another pulsating arrangement led by the strings. While Bryden and Raghu do a neat job with the guitars, the star of the song is Mysore H N Bhaskar with some beautiful violin bits. That classical solo towards the end is particularly splendid (that segment seems to be in ahir bhairav). The fourth South Indian song of the album comes in Tamil, Amma, penned by Madhan Karky. Here too Bhaskar’s violin playing amidst the folk percussion stand out in backing the endearing tune (ananda bhairavi raga it would seem).

The combination of sarod (Soumik Dutta) and pakhawaj (Praveen D Rao, Gurumurthy) lend beautifully to the pensive mood that Rain Song is set in (thilang raga possibly), Soumik in particular playing some excellent solos all through the song. The acoustic guitar complements the combo equally well. Raghu’s singing doesn’t always work for me in this piece, but there is enough awesomeness in the song to mitigate that. While Raghu and chorus do an exuberant delivery of Niraj Singh Rajawat’s lyrics in the title song, in the background guitars and banjos and khartals come together in a joyous mix, with some Celtic elements thrown in for good measure. Yaadon Ki Kyaari is expectedly nostalgia-driven, Ankur Tewari’s lyrics talking of saaranna and mosaranna and basundi set to a lovely tune and a simple strings-led arrangement. The melodica by Varun Pradeep adds a nice touch to the proceedings. Semi-classical Sajna is the most elaborately orchestrated song of the album. The emphasis is once again on strings; Raghu, Bryden and Gaurav’s guitars joined this time by Suhail Khan’s sarangi and a violin section arranged and conducted by Manoj George. All of whom do their parts superbly and the result is another beauty that completes the fabulous album.

Jag Changa. Raghu Dixit delivers a stunner in his second private album as well!

Top Recos: All of them! You can buy the album here. Or listen to the songs below and then buy the album.

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