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Eternally Bonded
Their friendship dates back many years and yet the two never got to working together. Don’t read that as a problem between the two maestros; it was simply that destiny never allowed their professional lives to cross…till now.

But now, the two friends who believe in the presence of an eternal bond between them have come together to release an album aptly titled Yaara, under the Music Today bastion ~ an album that speaks of the true friendship between the Sarod Ustad and the Ghazal Maestro, and captures the spirit of oneness, adding a freshness to music. For Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Pankaj Udhas’s friendship, there couldn’t have been a better celebratory album!

Pankaj Udhas remembers the day when Ustad Saab called him to discuss the album. “I was happily busy doing my round of shows all over the world and working on the concept of my new album when Ustad Saab called me and said that he has teamed up with the Sufi scholar Madan Mohan Gopal Singh for an album. I was elated. As an admirer of Sufi music, I have had the greatest regards for Singh Saab and I instantly got curious to know more about the association,” informs Udhas. “My joy went over the roof when Ustad Saab told me that they had decided to offer me [the chance] to sing on the album.”

The Sarod Maestro was looking for a voice that had an eternal feeling to it ~ a voice that didn’t quaver like the many voices around today, and yet had that softness and ever-lasting sincerity that touches the heart of every listener. “Pankaj Udhas was unanimously in our minds from the very beginning,” says Ustad, who had earlier composed for album titled Vaada, which was written by Gulzar and sung by Roop Kumar Rathod. That album too had met with a great response, which somewhere was the inspiration for the Ustad to come back with another set of compositions.

However there is some disappointing news for the classical admirers of Ustad Saab. He hasn’t played Sarod on this album. “We have tried to give a very contemporary feel to the sound of this album. Even though the lyrics have a touch of Sufism, the arrangement is modern, which will appeal to a wide range of audience. As they say, man has to evolve with the times and so has our music. We didn’t want the audience to say that three old-timers are creating music of the old era.”

Udhas adds another interesting piece of trivia to the album. “For the first time I have recorded an album at a stretch. I was in the studio for four consecutive days and I sang all the songs minus the music. Once my voice was recorded and all the takes were identified, music was layered on the sound by Hitesh Sonik, who had arranged the songs for Vishal Bharadwaj’s Omkara last year. This was a new experience for me, as for the first time I saw how advanced our technology had become.” However, Udhas warns this shouldn’t be taken for his voice being tampered or altered to suit the music. “In fact, the music was altered to suit the singing style,” he informs proudly, looking extremely satisfied with the end result.

So what is Yaara all about? Yaara, meaning beloved, is a celebration of love, poetry and togetherness. The coming together of the legendary artists ensures pure musical magic and the brilliance of both artiste and composer. The album is a mix of passionate love ballads as well as peppy numbers, drenched in the beauty of poetry and music. It packs in energy, folk and soft romance in the enthralling voice of Pankaj Udhas. A unique amalgam of tradition rich music and engaging lyrics, the album is about making a connection with the listener of today.

It begins with the title track, which has been shot into a beautiful video set in the Bengal of the 1950s. The song talks about the coming together of two lovers amidst the pain of separation. The ease with which the song has been delivered instantly catches one’s attention. This is followed by the track Bolo Ji Bolo, a song that depicts the naughty behaviour of two individuals who have just fallen in love. The song brings about the beauty of new romance with all the teasing, the impish deeds that lovers engage in while experiencing first love. The next track, Jagi Jagi Raaton Mein, brings out the western sound in the album. Rich with the sounds of guitar and other contemporary soft musical instruments, the song enlarges the appeal area amongst the listeners. Two other songs that bring out the softness of fresh romance include Haule Haule and Chalte Chalte. A perfect gift for Udhas’s fans! Chhaliya Re is intended to create the magic of qawalli and Udhas completely succeeds in delivering the song. The song also has a pinch of folk music thrown in, which brings about a great effect. Finally, a track titled Woh Baat ends the album with a slow haunting tune, which ends up staying back with you.

You can read the rest of our feature Eternally Bonded in the November 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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