Moving away from masala film songs, music lovers are embracing various genres of global music writes Sohini Chakravorty

The lyrics Bibi sanam janim, anaar e sisstaanem, Dam darwaza e tagqurghan jayee sanam janim are on the lips of eight-year-old Shrishti. It is one of her favourite songs but when asked the meaning of the words she is singing, she simply shrugs and says she doesn't understand the words but simply likes the song for its music. Zeb and Haniya, the musical duo from Pakistan who sang this song, are her favourite artistes. John Lennon had once famously said that ‘music is everybody's possession'. That also probably explains why Kolaveri di has become a global rage.

Despite it's hodgepodge lyrics, Kolaveri di has become a universal favourite, with CNN declaring it the song of 2011. It is not just music composers; an average music lover is also experimenting with music. Even the Hindi film industry which usually determines musical trends in India, has started experimenting with tunes by transcending genres. In fact, listeners are moving away from Hindi film songs which are dished out regularly and are embracing global tunes, irrespective of the language.

“With better communication methods, one cannot shut themselves to a particular kind of music. For music to evolve and include new blood in music, sounds across boundaries need to be incorporated. Fusion of genres and music beyond boundaries will only lead to fresh music,” explains Iryna Tsarenko, a pianist specialising in western music.

Music shows like the ‘Pakistan Coke Studio' and ‘The Dewarists' have provided platforms for music artistes to dabble in different genres of music. Whether it is soulful fusion of folk tunes from Central Asia and India or didactic poetry of electronic and rock, the music created in these shows have a huge audience. “Hindi film songs are over-exposed and barring a few, we forget most of the songs that are created these days. But the music created in shows like ‘Coke Studio' and ‘The Dewarists' are soulful and stay with us. The tunes are unfamiliar yet soothing.

It was surprising to see that music composer Vishal who has composed masala songs like Chammak Challo has also created a song like Minds Without Fear in collaboration with Grammy winner Imogen Heap in a never-heard-before style,” says Parikshith S, an MNC employee. It is the artful inter-mingling of genres by artistes, without the attitude of a musical purist, that appeals to listeners.

Strains of Sufi

A lot of credit goes to composers like A.R Rahman, Shantanu Moitra or bands like Indian Ocean who are reintroducing long forgotten tunes into mainstream music. “Rahman brought mystical tunes of Sufi into mainstream music. Whether it's Kun Faaya Kun, Khwaja mere Khwaja or Haji Ali, these songs have an ever-lasting effect,” explains Sandhya Shankar, a student.

Pakistani pop rock bands like the Strings or Junoon have not only revived the music market in their country but have also acquired fans all over the world. Reviving old folk tunes of Central Asia with jazz beats, Zeb and Haniya's music is a harmonic fusion of the old and the modern. In fact, they insist that they do not want to confine themselves and will instead include African beats and Turkish instruments along with traditional folk in their repertoire. The huge popularity of their music truly proves that this is the age of global music.