Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Album Review : Sona by Sona Mohapatra
Artiste : Sona Mohapatra
Label : Sony Music/Sony BMG
CD Price : Rs 175
Cassete : I don't know, haven't seen any.
Sona Mohapatra, many of us have already been familiar with her name, her having made a mark in the recent music scene with her 2006 debut album. But since I purchased the album 3 years later, I intend to write the album review now.
For me like observant girl-watchers(we are not Casanovas, nor do we flirt, we just watch) Sona was first seen on television as an audition-er for the 2002 Channel [V] Popstars reality show. She and her sister Pratichee performed "Dama Dam Mast Qalandar" in front of the four member jury. She was rejected on the 1st round itself while her sister eventually won the show, formed the band, released two albums, got the band split and now is almost forgotten.
Come 2006, Sona hooked to legendary and made-famous-by-controversy composer-musician Mr. Ram Sampath, the founder member of the now forgotten "Colorblind" band. Sona has been very lucky to have got a lofty music producer as husband who instead of expecting her to make delicious dinners, is helping her to realize her dream. Having quit her thick salaried job at Marico with all those B.tech and MBA degrees, she is now ready to storm or music systems.
The CD opens with a much listened, much promoted track "Bolo Na". The song is beautifully composed depicting a lady soul searching and trying to reason out what made her loose her love. It essentially tries to bridge the communication gap between a parted-by-misunderstanding couple who are yet arrested in love with each other. Very nice song for quarreling couples.
Track # 2 is a bit complicated or twisted rather. "Abhi nahin aana" has the flavor of typical "nakhra" of Indian girls. The girl in this song, is asking her lover to come late so that she can spend the longer time daydreaming, blushing herself with imaginations and fantasizing their love and her lover. The lyrics are beautifully interwoven like a garland of pearls. The words are more ethnic sounding and more classically styled, like a raaga. Especially I like this line "Sanmukh apna mukh mat laana".
Third song of this album is a peppy punjaabi folk based rhythmic number called "Aajaa Ve". But wait ! don't wean away. The song has sound lyrics and is no comparison to the chaotic nonsense of bollywood's bhangra music which we are more familiar with. The song has a naughty girl appeal, one which is more synonymous with extrovert tomboys who do not shy away from flirting with boys. Uh hmmm!??
The fourth song of the album is the real gem of this album. Many like me, who have been passing off this girl till now, were forced to change their minds when they heard this one. Its like a storm in a desert. Sadly this is one song that got least airplay on Music Channels (God bless Youtube!). The song is "Tere Ishq Nachaya" , verses by the legendary 18th century sufi poet Bulle Shah, (made familiar to us like naive listeners by Rabbi Shergill's 2005 hit, "Bulla Ki Jaana"). The song is about madness of love, desperation for companion and pain of separation and betrayal. This song has been earlier performed by many, including legendary singers like Abeeda Parveen. But having said that I would give Sona 10/10 for her rendition. Its really an enthralling experience to hear a song like this in a voice like Sona.
The fifth song "Aise Jaagi Re" is a real surprise and also a stream of relief for those who bought the original(over-priced) CD, since it confirms that the rest of the non-videotised songs are not fillers. The song has very Bengali sound, like typical Rabindra Sangeet although the album inlay refers to it as Baul influence. It is really an intoxicating song, especially for us like grown-up-with-rabindra sangeet Bengalis. I personally think that if the lyrics could be altered, it could have become an exceptionally good devotional song for Durga Puja. The song is as if a girl "Devdas" is crying her agonies, wailing for her lost love. I myself being a Bengali, is extremely excited to imagine Sona singing a Rabindra Sangeet some day.
The next song is "Aawaaz". This is a sweet song although not that extra ordinary, but why am I expecting all the songs to be blockbusters? Isn't song writing a tough job? Mean me! anyways the song is about a girl talking to herself, playing hide and seek with her naughty(nothing to do with sex please!) emotions. the song has a humming tune and the long "hm-hm-hm" in the song keeps chiming in your mind long afterward.
The next song "Jai Phulo Re" is an absolute marvel. Complete take off from anything, any cliche's , any genres, any experiment that we have known so far. Another gift for the original CD buyer. This song really makes me proud and guilt free that I spent Rs. 175 on this item. Fully paisa-vasool album. The song has unusually sweet lyrics and the music has a jaggery like natural sweetness. Words like "radha rani" appear in this song which although is supposed to be omnipresent in our cultural and ethnic music but have somewhere lost due to excessive urdutization/punjabization by bollywood music. The song has an antara in Oriya, Sona's mother tongue. This folk emulsified song depicts Radha's despair and anxiety at Krishna's absence. The song fills your mind with images of lord Jagannath, Puri temples and doe-eyed Odissi dancers. Although I always held Oriya culture, dance and architecture with high regards, the Oriya language had always appeared a bit rustic, a bit edgy to me(stop! I am not a tall nosed Bengali chauvinist). But Oriya language could be so sweet, this is the first example I experienced. Hats off to our Oriya sundori.
The next and the last original song on the album is "Sapne". It is a "jhin-chak" kinda song, very rhythmic and pacy. So far I have not been able to appreciate this song, nor have I listened to it patiently(as it usually happens with ending tracks on every album). But one thing I can say that this song is definitely not average one. It talks about dreams and aspirations, their effect on our lives, our thoughts and our learnings.
Track no. 9 is a Remix version of "Bolo Na", remixed by our VJ turned DJ Nikhil Chinappa, DJ Naved, Chris and Zoheb. This song is nothing but a "dhik-chik-dhik-chik" version of its original. Won't pain my fingertips typing more about this filler.
Tenth and the last track on this CD is a Remixed version of "Tere Ishq Nachaya", remixed by Medieval Punditz. The song isn't that great since songs like Tere Ishq are very unfit for remix........according to me. This totally rips off the mild intoxication from the song and tries to inject a narcotic dizzy dizzy sensation to it. The acetic nature of the song is somewhat preserved. The vocals has been re-recorded for this track which I think is a good practice. Much better than the previous dull one. The song is a good pick for "Gaanja Parties" (just joking! I don't endorse marijuana!)
Overall, this album is great, worth its price......... although I opine that Rs 175 is too high price for a music album, given the fact that it came out in those freakin pitch board cases(I hate Sony Music for this cheap innovation, I want jewel case with lofty album art).
Munna Dhiman has done a commendable job as a lyricist. Being the sole lyric writer of this album, his writing style has rendered a thematic feeling to it, extending and embedding his personality as well, in an album whose face is someone else. I prefer this kind of thematic work rather than incorporating haphazardness in the name of variety. The lyrics are not monotonic but has a certain flavor and a good mix of classy and peppy style has been maintained. Nice change from the typical over-sweet bollywoodish lyrics.
Ram Sampath's compositions are great. Obviously when you are composing for your gharwaali, you would naturally put extra effort, else who will cook food and raise kids? The compositions are urban and hip, at the very same time ethnic, meaningful and rooted to our culture.
With so many people contributing so rigorously to this project, this album, although being promoted as a "Solo Artist" CD, is essentially a band product.
Sona's slight nasal tone is very soothing to the ears. As quoted by someone, Sona definitely has an "ancient voice". Listening to her music gives me a feeling of being rocked in a cradle. Disagree? Comment boxes are open(You are allowed to be rude but please spare my parents, no son-of-...... gali is allowed. And also my teachers, religious and ethnic background)
NB: I forgot to mention, the album's graphics, design and layout is great and is carefully done. Sona's make up and get-up is nice.
All videos by the artiste are available here.