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4 comments | Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The king of melody has returned to mesmerize with some amazing vintage ghazals, khayaals and punjabi folk songs. After a long wait of more than one year, I finally managed to grab my copy of Padmashree Hariharan's latest album Lahore Ke Rang, Hari ke Sang. Thanks Times music for releasing it in India.

I have gotten enough time to do a comprehensive review of this album. I will do that in another week's time. I have listened to the tracks less than 20 times till now (Thats very less by any standards for me when it comes to Hari Ji's ghazals.) This review covers 3 tracks from this album which have really grown on me in a span of less than 3 days! The album starts with a high energy yaman composition, a manifestation of amir khusrao's vintage poem "mohe apne hi rang mein rang de..." The most amazing part of this song is the momentum that this song maintains throughout. As Hari ji himself remarks on the CD pamphlet, this song will definitely make you think of color. The tabla accompaniment is spirited while the interludes are vastly acoustic and minimal. Despite the flamboyance of the track, the track doesnt give you that heavy giddy feeling that some of the vintage ghazals give. a must listen track, great way to open an album.

The third track is by far the best in this album. This track has the lyrics "Dil se har guzri baat guzri hai, Kis qayaamat ki raat guzri hai..." This is signature Hariharan. The composition also deserves special mention. Nazir hussain saab's arrangement and placement of notes has a characteristic freshness in it, something which you hardly hear in the popular ghazals of recent times. It has the pseudo melancholy feel to it. your heart will certainly long for the song to never get over. It is once again rendered in a very restrained fashion, but to perfection. One thing I notice about this album is that Hari Ji kas kept a low key approach when it comes to impromptu improvisations. Thats a disappointment indeed for some one like me who adores is style of improvisations. This is more a well rehearsed execution, good-very good to the ear neverthless!

"Begana vaar unsay mulakaat ho, to ho..." Once again, full marks to Nazar hussain saab's composition. This is a masterpiece in raag darbari. The song has been treated in a very unhastly fashion. It forces the listener to concentrate, indulge in the sheer exuberance this raag generates. The short alaap in the beginning is unmatchable by any singer of any ages! This track bears resemblance to one of the earlier renditions of hari ji - "kab tak yun hi rulaayengi, tanhaayean hamein...." I am greatly impressed by the way the song order is designed for this album. The album ends in a subtle, melodious and soft note, with begaana vaar...

For those folks who havent gotten their copy of this great album, get urs now! This album is in stores in Bangalore, I picked up mine from Landmark. I hear that this could be ordered online through indiatimes.com too.

If you want to listen to 1 minute samples of all tracks of this album, you can do that here!

Verdict: Great album! (it cant be otherwise for a Hariharan album, so the verdict is kind of irrelevant!)

Hari ji is un paralleled when it comes to rendering tracks which has the mid-octave notes predominantly. The ease with which he fleets his brighas to the higher octave and then touching a note which technically is not part of darbari and then back is a lesson for every musician. Its easy to sing within the raaga, which many "pro-carnatric music only" people argue is the basis of a good rendition, bah!. Sorry about their ignorance, singing something outside the scope of the raaga adding that sublte twist and then coming back to a raaga is one of the biggest challenges for any musician, how many ever years of music training he/she might have! Singing a ghazal is no joke and its the most sublime form of imaginative music!

PS: The links provided in the post are only pointers to the samples of the songs hosted in various sites that found on the internet. Please buy original cassettes and CDs and fight music piracy to save the music industry and musicians.


Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...


Thanks for writing about the album.

I usually buy most of 'Hari's' albums. I'll check it out here this evening.

1:13 AM

Blogger Sree said...

great review man, will buy the album right away:)

I noticed the devil too "Its easy to sing within the raaga...":)) shud we get into it now?:D

7:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Harish,

Yup I just happened to bump into the album yesterday at Planet M. Well being a Hariji fan myself, but just for a particular genre, I decided to take the low risk route and buy the cassette and listen to it in my car.
My My... I think its one of the most accomplished and beautifully rendered and arranged albums in the recent times. Absolutely Put Feet... The way Hariji combines and gives the hint of classical to these ghazals, is out of the world..
I am off to buy the CD and preserve it for life... :-)
Have already recommended the album to 18 of my music lover friends.. Hope Hariji comes up with such albums more often.. God Bless Him.


9:43 AM

Anonymous Kavita Chhibber said...

Hi Harish,
thanks for the review.Its a wonderful album. I just interviewed Hari ji and he said the musicians at Lahore made him sound refreshingly different. He will be here in Atlanta to perform this coming friday.
Please do send in your detailed review before that. I will be happy to show it to him.
He is truly one of the greatest singer to emerge from India in recent decades, and more than that a very warm and down to earth person.

Kavita Chhibber(kavita@kavitachhibber.com)

4:26 AM


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