METRO PLUS

Anyone for balle balle?

IT WILL come as no surprise to observers of changing music trends in the country that the traditional Bhangra form of music has graduated of late to the international scene. The coming-of-age Bhangra is here.

Stereo Nation is a band that shot to fame with its very first song, "Oh Baby, Don't Break My Heart". In fact, a straight rip-off of this song was featured in the Hindi film Mohabbat that became equally popular. It was one of those rare cases where the rip-off was released before the original song. Consisting of Punjabi munda Taz and the Caribbean-born Kendell Smith, the band presented a unique fusion of Punjabi music and Caribbean rhythms. With the band's roots in Britain, they duo gained huge popularity in the UK club scene as Taz started his musical career as a DJ in popular Birmingham clubs. When his manager Kendell Smith joined in and sprinkled some Caribbean flavour , the duo christened themselves as Stereo Nation. Their second album after Oh Baby featured the hit song, "Oh Carol", the band's own rendering of an evergreen classic with the same name. Jambo was their third major hit and by now, a new genre called Punjabi-reggae was accredited to be the band's creation. After this, things just didn't go right for the band as the next album, Tazmania, was Stereo Nation minus Kendell. The music too was purely Bhangra and nothing more.

Today, Taz under the name of Stereo Nation, has released Apna Sangeet (T-Series, CD, Rs. 125) and, unfortunately, carries the Tazmania trend forward. Except for the catchy title track and "Baby Don't Go" none of the other tracks stay in your mind. The album offers nothing new, and at a time when Panjabi MC and Rishie Rich Project are dominating the charts, the music from the band is a huge let down.

A. VISHNU

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