Arrk Various Artistes

Music Today; Audio CD; Rs.199

The title of the album takes reference from Noah's Ark. . In an effort to revive the dying breed of non-film/non-commercial music, Sujith Nalini Chellapan churned out this production along with his college mate Siddhartha. One can only imagine what happens when soulful Sufi strains transcend barriers and meet a contemporary rock form.

The album couldn't have started on a better note. “Marhaba” by young Bollywood singer Keerthi Sagathia, is a classic example of Sufi meets Bollywood meets classic Rock. The heavy guitar riffs coupled with flawless percussion is the highlight of the opening track. And when the singer breaks into the chorus, the listener is left speechless.

Next up is “Pakida” by the man who's belted out hit after hit after hit. He's mesmerized us with “Mitwa”, “Tum Mile” and “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna” among many other songs and this track by Shafaqat Amanat Ali is no exception. The opening has this airy hollow sound. There's something soothing about the song. Even what sounds like the snapping of fingers adds to this feel. It is only when you get to the interlude that the track sounds like an out and out Rock number.

“Dum Ali” has a mellifluous piano opening. Keerthi Sagathia, Syed Adil Hussaini and Kshitij Tarey have lent their voices to this one. It is hard not to picture whirling dervishes when you hear this song. The funky guitar plucks half way through the song are brilliant but it is at the end that the bassist takes the song to a new level of Sufi Rock.

Following this is “Sunle Rahi” by Zubeen Garg. The tuneful flute opening and the echoing effect must be applauded. The song is otherwise rather monotonous.

“More Meet” has a funky start but is otherwise a tranquil piece. Rock flavour is infused when the singer croons “more meet re…” This track is the result of what happens when east meets west musically. The arrangement of “Umde Umde” is noteworthy. The song poetically speaks about the beauty of the earth. The syncopating beats break every stereotype people have of Sufi music. The bellowing drumming and Supriya Acharya's honeyed voice give “O Piya” a refined texture. It is the longest track on this album.

The last song is “Agayi Re”, which has quite a tricky start, but the rest of is a consistent soundscape, making for a very peaceful ending. “Arrk” is definitely worth more than one listen!

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MeetSeptember 24, 2010