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Indi-pop, Snap and Crackle!
The Indipop scene is buzzing with new releases from established artists so we tracked down the stars to see what they’ve been working on. Here are powerhouse singer Mehnaz, Canadian duo Josh and classical music bluebloods Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan and Rahul Sharma telling us what they have in store for you.


The Story So Far:
- This petite singer made a solid debut in 1996 with a fresh pop sound on her album Miss India. The success of the undeniably catchy title track was followed up with live performances showcasing her strong vocals and this earned her the Channel [V] Award for Best Female Vocalist in the Indian Pop category in 1996.

Brand New:
After a seven year gap, Mehnaz returns with a new album titled Sajnaa. She tells us, “First of all I’m really happy and excited to be back. It’s been too long, I know, but I started work on this album in 2003 actually. I wasn’t signed to a record label, I was doing this album on my own so it becomes a very big decision when you are thinking of how to go about it.” One of the first decisions to be made was about the sound of the new album. She recalls, “With the new album I just knew I wanted it to be Indian. I had all sorts of suggestions, people saying I should make a dance album and things like that, but I’ve already done that kind of music, and people also perceive my work as being this western kind of pop… which I am to an extent, but I wanted to have an Indian sound for this one.”


The Story So Far:
- This Canada-based band comprises musicians Rup and Q and initially started as a cover band, performing all types of music including popular Punjabi, filmi, kawali, or ghazals. Rup was part of the original lineup of the band and Q joined later.

Brand New:
Their third album Mausam comes on the heels of 2004’s successful release Kabhi and the duo had high expectations to live up to. Says Rup, “In one sense it gives you a sort of freedom, but it also kind of puts some pressure on you. We thought let’s just go back to how we made [the last album] Kabhi which showed people us, the bare, naked us, that’s what Mausam is. It’s an honest album about our feelings with some new music.” Adds Q, “We have a very strong philosophy – what comes from the heart goes to the heart.”
Since the last release, Josh has added another achievement to their list – they have become the first Asian band to be signed to Chris Smith Management, a management company, with successful artists like Nelly Furtado and The Philosopher Kings on their roster.


The Story So Far:
- Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan, the sons and disciples of sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, represent the 7th generation of the Bangash gharana.

Brand New:
Says Amaan, “We’re very excited about the new album. It is very loungey in feel but even the common man can connect with it. And the name we have for it seems very beautiful – it’s called Truth.” Adds Ayaan, “I think each and every track is like a child, it has distinctive features and character. The tracks are all raag-based and that is something that we always would like to do because that is where we come from. You can collaborate your classical training with the contemporary times – so each track is raag based, some are trippy, some are loungey and while maintaining the sanctity of a raag, you can venture out into this world as well.”


The Story So Far:
- Mumbai-based santoor player Rahul Sharma hails from the first family of santoor, being the son and disciple of renowned maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and the grandson of Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma, a master of the instrument credited with bringing the santoor to the forefront of the classical music scene.

Brand New:
His latest record is called Maya, The Illusion and marks the musician’s 35th album release! It features eight continuously linked tracks combining santoor melodies and modern rhythms, accompanied by some interesting instruments including an Egyptian qanoon (a descendant of the old Egyptian harp). Rahul explains the concept of the album, “This album is about Maya, the illusion. I believe there is this goddess Mahamaya who seduces us into this world of materialistic desires. It’s a deep concept and I have Sunidhi [Chauhan] as Mahamaya in it so her voice is very much there in the album and that’s what the album is about. It’s a new age and contemporary sound.”

You can read the rest of our feature on IndiPop in the January 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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