The Firstpost Playlist: Atif Aslam, Tagore and Jakob add a touch of soul to music
On Firstpost Playlist, listen to Rahman, Tagore, Jakob, Benjamin Clementine and more.
The weekend is upon us and that means one thing to us - no, not a chance to see X Men: Apocalypse. It's time for another edition of Firstpost Playlist. This week, we have lined up for you some amazing songs from Atif Aslam and DNCE, and interesting instrumental music from Paul Oakenfold and Jakob. There is a bit of reimagined Rabindrasangeet as well. Play on!
Tajdar-e-Haram by Atif Aslam
The music from our neighbouring country almost never gets its due credit. Luckily, the composers in India have managed to tap Pakistan’s brilliant voices in the past decade.
However, those who do listen to the music from the culturally rich nation might have heard of Tajdar E Haram: a qawalli, dedicated to the Sabri brothers, composed by Maqbool Ahmed Sabri and sung by Atif Aslam.
The first four lines of this soundtrack translate to
"Let a life of peace and contentment be my fate
May my ship never sink even in troubled waters
Let this be my fate
It’s not that heaven would not be acceptable to me, but
O Writer of Destinies, let Medina be my fate."
Coke Studio Pakistan began its eighth season with this soundtrack and it has remained with me since. It’s a good track that lifts your spirits almost immediately.
— Siddharth Aalambayan
Jiya jale (Dil Se) by Berklee Indian Ensemble (Cover)
Is there a song you keep going back to, no matter what additions you make to your playlist? For me, it's this Berklee cover of AR Rahman's celebrated song Jiya jale. This cover is a part of a huge concert that Rahman did with Berklee students back in 2014. What is most beautiful about this cover is the arrangement; it makes you come back to it time and again, and every time you listen to it, you discover something new.
This time, I discovered that Jiya Jale is essentially a song that celebrates ecstasy; the loss of control when your emotions take over you. The original song gets lost somewhere in Lata Mangeshkar's voice (she can easily own your attention, right?); this cover has a soothing undertone, and smooth, contemporary vocals. And yet, the classical bits have been retained (if not added onto). The use of the cajon, violin and cello makes even the Malayalam bits (which are is so famously mouthable) very catchy.
To me, this cover is like a shot of happiness. Listen!
— Swetha Ramakrishnan
Ready steady go by Paul Oakenfold
This song was actually used as the background music for a thrilling car chase scene in The Bourne Identity. While it's understandable that the action sequences in that movie are so good that it becomes difficult to focus solely on the music, that car chase scene in the movie with Bourne in the red Mini Cooper would not have been half as thrilling without this song playing in the background.
This song defines chaos, speed or a simple adrenaline rush. Listen to it while jogging to get that motivation to sprint the last leg. Or listen to it to revisit that exciting and charged atmosphere which exists in a newsroom when covering the election results in four states and a union territory.
— Anshu Lal
Mayaboni Biharini from Bed Room
Every Bengali child worth his/her salt has had to go through the pain of learning an "art" of some sort. Anything. Singing, dancing, painting - anything that spells culture. You couldn't be a person who fails to appreciate the intricate world of culture. And a very big chunk of that world was Tagore and his poetry. I grew up reading Tagore's poems and later singing his songs. Tagore was a master, a craftsman, and most Bengalis will hate you if you try and remix their favourite Rabindrasangeet.
Why I chose this song for this weekend is because this song not only broke traditions when it was first staged in 1939, but it also broke many stereotypes when Moinak Bhowmik decided to let an all-girls band in a gothic get up sing the song for his film Bedroom in 2011. Mayabono Biharini is a love song and it explains the bond of separation. Mayabono is about that moment when we see a beautiful object, and tend to run after it. Only after have we acquired it, do we breathe a sigh of relief; till then, it lingers in our minds and we envy, strive, vie, cry, fight for it. The song signifies the importance of nurturing the value of separation and letting things be, because once conquered, the value is lost and we move to a new conquest. Unconquered, it lingers in our minds for a longer time and the value remains.
This particular song — probably for the first time — put Tagore in a "club" setup and signified gender reversal.
— Devparna Acharya
I won't complain by Benjamin Clementine
He takes his place on stage in front of the grand piano. With a looming presence over the wind instrument, his fingers deftly slide across the keys and what emerges is a sound of great sorrow, perhaps more of saudade. Clementine's music, when heard live, offers an excruciatingly beautiful acoustic experience. And when he is not singing, he stands on stage nervous, hesitant, barely addressing the audience. And it's all fine because his music does the talking for him.
Clementine's billowing voice doesn’t beg for your attention, it simply commands it. His songs are deeply personal with an intensity that subsumes the listener.
— Vishnupriya Bhandaram
Toothbrush by DNCE
In the music video, DNCE's lead singer Joe Jonas is seen having all the fun with plus-size model Ashley Graham.
Outwardly, Toothbrush is a song about a crazy-in-love someone's appeal to a keeping-things-cool other about leaving their toothbrush “at my place”. But if you look close enough or have been following DNCE wisely, you’ll see that it's a weapon the band has used to slam their critics down.
When Cake by the ocean first released in May, the internet was flooded with comments saying how they 'sounded' a lot like Maroon 5. With a fresh hummable song like Toothbrush, DNCE turned the impossible into possible by making even trolls confess they were wrong in the first place.
It may be true that DNCE is only as old as a couple of songs. But looking at the way their work has turned out, they are quite likely to enter the A-list soon
As a listener, it is up to you now. You could listen to this band's latest right now and love it. Or listen to it few weeks from now in every possible store, and love it then. I have made my choice already. And it is not the second one.
— Yael Ajgarni
Darkness by Jakob
This song reminds me of sweeping landscapes, of waves swelling and crashing on a coast; very relaxing after a hectic office week! I have always found purely instrumental tracks to be very engaging as they surpass the limitations that language place on emotions. The fact that the band released their 2014 album after eight years just makes me value their music even more. (Not so) Fun fact about their album: it took a long time to release because all of the three band members simultaneously got hand injuries!
— Siddhi Desai
Explained: As Duolingo files to go public in the US, a look at the company’s trajectory over the years
Duolingo is the most downloaded education app in the history of the App Store and in 2019 became the top-grossing education app worldwide.
On that Note: Sanjay Subrahmanyan presents engaging stories about Carnatic music in an effortless manner
What would be an ethnographer’s delight, the socio-cultural history that On that Note explores is not projected deliberately. It lurks in every incident Sanjay Subrahmanyan narrates and every note he sings, but is never spelt out.
He won the National Award for best animation film The Prince and the Crown of Stone in 2010.