Thursday, November 24, 2011

A puppet's lament

The puppeteer pulls the strings again.
Her smile widens, unwittingly. 
The rigmarole of innocence,
an acceptance of a lifetime.

An ignorant fool she wishes to be,
it's a story she has no part in;
a character she's entrusted with, 
a muted performance to be delivered.

She aches to tell the puppeteer,
"There's no one here to applaud.
Come out from behind the smoke-screen
and let go of the strings that bind me. 

Go on, build that new stage you wish for.
I want no part in it."

Monday, November 7, 2011

The journey that’s ‘Rangeele’

When Kailash Kher sits in front of you, flanked by Naresh and Paresh, it is almost like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. A glimmer of hope shoots through you; hope that you may finally be able to understand the roots of this band, their philosophy, their ideology.

I was excited; excited that I was going to be one of the few privileged lot, who might get to listen to the new tracks from Kailasa’s upcoming album Rangeele. At the end of 6 hours of interaction with the trio, the overwhelming feeling that one is left with is the beauty of their collaboration. It stems from their desire to create, to seek the magnificence of music from within and spread its wings.

There is an inherent idealism that envelopes Kailash’s persona. His beliefs have an almost transcendental sincerity. He believes that the roots of music lie in each and every one of us, at its pure, unadulterated form. Evident from our interactions, Kailasa’s musicality stems from Kailash’s deep-rooted spiritualism and the dynamism of Naresh and Paresh and the other artists.

Another interesting aspect of this gathering was that we got an opportunity to interact with the other faces of the band. One such talent is Tapas Roy, who is a master player of rare instruments such as the Oud, the Dutar, the Rebab, the Saz and the mandolin. Amidst a magical rendition of the Saz, the brilliant artist recounted how he proceeded to actually invent his own version of the Dutar, namely, the Tuitaar.

Their new album, Rangeele, has easily the most robust compilation of songs by Kailasa. As one heard track after track, the idea one gets is that here is a desire to break the shackles of the tag of a ‘new sound’ that Kailasa introduced with their previous albums. There is such amazing symphony of genres and sounds that it is difficult to pin-point the genesis of the track. One might surmise that Kailasa is ultimately an experiment to break new ground in contemporary fusion music.

There are a few tracks that stand out for me personally.

1.      Rangeele
The title track almost defines the ideology of the album. Kailasa is known for its soulful, Sufiyana lyrics and Rangeele (the track) does beautiful justice to uphold the credence. The song speaks about the desires of the mind, its need to break free, to unleash its wildness and yet to be guarded by the boundaries of reality.

2.      Albeliya
Lyrically, this track appealed to me the most. It spoke about the duality in self; about how one is constantly cornered by the expectations of what one is perceived to be versus the actual reality.

3.      Daro na rang
This track is the most brilliantly produced one in the album. It is a heady concoction of West Asian/Mediterranean instrumentation that blends seamlessly with a Jazz Rock harmony. The lyrics are a throwback to folksy, light-hearted words that once marked Hindi Cinema music.

4.      Babbaji
While harbouring a deep personal relationship with this song, Babbaji retains a kind of universality in connection. This song is actually a gift by Kailash to his adorable son, Kabir and the inspiration of Sheetal, his wife, is evident in the track. The track is characterized by simple use of percussion to highlight the strength of the words.

The album contains 3 bonus tracks.

‘Ujale baant lo’ - The song created by Kailasa for NDTV that talks about Global Warming.

‘Ambar tak yehi naad gunjega’ – Kailasa’s clarion call for awakening, this track was created in solidarity with Anna Hazare’s campaign against corruption

‘Dharti pe jannat ka nazara’ – This song was created for Kaun Banega Crorepati’s new season.

Rangeele is an experimental album. It is a serious stab at creating newer pedestals of contemporary music.

However, as I traveled back home that night, the only thing that rang true in my head was the philosophy of being true to one’s inner self and how Kailasa is the very embodiment of this idea.