Monday, July 25, 2011

Awara Sur: Shafaqat Ali Khan

Awara Sur was released in 1995 and as such is considered an early example of Paki-pop.  It is heavy on the electric keyboards and musically is extravagantly and slightly over-produced.  But the focus and point of this album is not the music but the voice.  And in that way it is succeeds in spades. Shafaqat Ali Khan is the youngest son of one of the absolute giants of Hindustani classical music, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan. He began his singing career at the age of four and has wowed audiences all around the world since then.
Shafaqat Ali Khan
This exceptional trend shattering album (first released in the 90s) brings out Shafaqat Ali Khan’s ability to fuse classical Indian singing with Western beats and rhytms. Balma Kyon Na Aaye the first number sets the mood of the album with a swinging rhythm that compliments Shafaqat Ali Khan’s powerful vocals.  The song which describes a woman’s yearning for her loved one is brought alive by Shafaqat’s steamy vocals and Amit Khanna’s superb verse.

Shafaqat Ali Khan moves on to explore a foot-tapping Punjabi song with Tere Ishq Ne Nachaya which would be a sure winner the young at heart. Songs like Dhalki Jaye Chunariya ( a modern thumri) and Taron Bhari Hai Raat (based on a Rajasthani mand) set to slow mellow strings brings out Shafaqat’s  skill as a versatile singer. Shafaqat Ali Khan flew in from San Francisco especially to record this extraordinary album. His resonant voice and robust singing style is enhanced by Bappi Lahiri’s trendy music and Amit Khanna’s charming lyrics.

Awara Sur which represents a confluence of different styles of music from jazz and rock to dhrupad  and ghazal has universal appeal with something in store for everyone. (Liner notes)

So there you have it. Bappi Lahiri, the Bringer of Disco to Bollywood, teamed with one of the preeminent voices of modern South Asia. Could be (and is) interesting.

            Track Listing:
            01 Balma Kyon Nahi Aaye
02 Dhalki Jaaye Chunariya
03 Taro Bhari Hai Raat
04 Soya Zamana
05 Piya Kaise Rijhaoon
06 Tere Ishq Nachaya
07 Ruk Ruk Dhadke
08 Jhoole Jhoole Lal
Listen here

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