Hare Krishna

EMI

Price: Rs. 395

The album cover calls it a ‘world fusion experience’, and that it features some of the finest works of this kind. After listening to “Hare Krishna”, you tend to agree, but partly.

The album, which boasts big names such as Deva Premal, Sanjeev Abhyankar, Anoushka Shankar, Advaita, Boy George and Asha Bhonsle, Kula Shaker, Jai Uttal, Kedar Pandit, and Paban Das Baul, starts off with the meditative ‘Jai Radha Madhav’ by German-born Deva, who was chanting the Gayatri mantra when she was all of five. This soothing number with a heavy Western influence has wonderful instrumental interludes that lull you into a trance. The kind of dreamy song that you’d like to settle down with at night, to wash away all the worries of the world.

What follows is ‘Bhakti Mantra’ by Pandit Jasraj’s acclaimed disciple Sanjeev Abhyankar, he of the well-trained, rich voice that plumbs the depths of devotion and touches its peaks too. Listening to Sanjeev is always a pleasure, and this number is no different.

Anoushka Shankar features next in the bhakti-steeped ‘Beloved’, and you almost forget she is a sitarist.

What follows is ‘Radha Krishna’ by State of Bengal Vs Paban Das Baul, the kind of number that reminds you of bhakti in its purest, rawest form, shorn of all embellishments.

Preety Bhalla takes off on a sugary plane with ‘Krishna Salone Shyam', the lovely flute interlude taking it to another level altogether.

“Bow Down Mister” by Jesus Loves You, featuring Boy George and Asha Bhonsle, is a peppy number, the kind that tends to linger.

But, there can only be so much of a good thing. It’s difficult to accept devotional songs in a new groovy format. That's one of the major flaws of this album.

Take, for instance, the drumbeats-filled ‘Madhurashtakam’ celebration mix by Kedar Pandit featuring Sanjeev. For ears so used to M.S. Subbulakshmi’s rendition of the same, this rockstar version grates on the ears. And, why did this ‘dance floor' number need a Sanjeev Abhyankar at all?

Advaita's ‘Miliha’ is passable. And, then comes Kedar Pandit's ‘Om Namo Bhagavathe’, the meditation mix, featuring Sanjeev.

‘Govinda’ by Kula Shaker, an English psychedelic rock band, is next. The song has won rave reviews across the world, but the pronunciation irks Indian ears!

‘Shri Krishna’ by American musician Jai Uttal comes right after this — there's nothing to rave about this, really!

On the whole, “Hare Krishna” leaves a mixed impact.

Unforgettable Melodies — From the films of the legendary A.R. Kardar

Saregama

Price: Not mentioned

Saregama has brought out an album featuring two discs of songs from the creations of renowned yesteryear filmmaker A.R. Kardar. His films spanned genres, and included historicals, family dramas and comedy capers.

Among those who worked with the talented maker are Shamshad Begum, Nalini Jayanth, Mohammad Rafi, Uma Devi, Talat Mahmood, Suraiya and K.L. Saigal.

The album features 40 songs, including hits such as ‘Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya' and ‘Jab Usne Gesu Bikhraye’ from “Shahjahan”; ‘Koi Sagar Dil Ko’ from “Dil Diya Dard Liya”; ‘Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon’ from “Dard”; ‘Suhani Raat' from “Dulari”; ‘Tasveer Banata Hoon' from “Deewane”; and ‘Murliwale Murli Baja' from “Dillagi”.

A wonderful album to tune into, to re-live a time when melody was celebrated in Indian cinema.

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