The beautiful voice behind melodious compositions (both Hindi and Tamil) such as Kabhi Neem Neem (Yuva), Naainaa Milaaikey (Saathiya), Hum Hain Iss Pal Yahaan (Kisna), Tum Mujhe Bas Yunhi (Aetbaar), Tu Bin Bataye (Rang De Basanti), In Lamho Ke Daaman Mein (Jodha Akbar), Vaaji Vaaji (Sivaji-The Boss) and Vaigasi Nilaye (Unnale Unnale) has finally come out with an album—yes, that’s right, Madhushree’s debut album Lagi Lagan is finally out! Lagi Lagan, as the CD cover indicates, is a journey through “The World of Thumri.” Thumri, for those of you not too familiar with classical sangeet, is a genre of semi-classical music—songs which fall under the thumri genre tend to deal with love and separation.
What is interesting about Lagi Lagan's nine tracks is that they are a blend of classical style singing, traditional lyrics and non-classical notes. As Madhushree says, it is an attempt to "do something different.” Lagi Lagan is an extremely ambitious attempt for both Madhushree and her band: Madhushree & De Band, as there have not been many private albums presenting Thumri songs in recent times.
Next up is Lagi Lagi (5:31). Naveen plays the flute very nicely. The use of the tabla and harmonium later on in the track is also a pleasant surprise. Unlike the rest of the songs in the album which use traditional lyrics, this song has lyrics by Cha Cha Choudhry. However, he fails to pen down meaningful lyrics (“Laagi laagi karejwa mei laagi, lagan tosey rahiyo naa jaaye”) which in turn makes it difficult to compose a melody allowing Madhushree to demonstrate her full potential as a singer.
Manat Nahi (6:11) is a soothing and soft track drawing from the Jazz music genre. The song incorporates the guitar, keyboard, drums and saxophone (played by Manohari Singh). The lyrics here are traditional once again: “Maanat naahi hamaa. Binnati karat hun, paiyan padat hun, ab kahe karat barjori.” Madhushree’s voice gracefully takes the twists and turns in this song, however the harkat her voice takes for the last 20 seconds of the composition while repeating the word “maanat” is a bit overdone. Overall, Madhushree handles this song quite well.
The fourth track, Aye Na Balam (4:31) is a catchy number starting with Gregorian chants and then shifting to club beats and the sitar. Madhushree's voice echoes and draws you into the song immediately. She sings the song with sincerity in her voice and does a great job of conveying a sense of longing which the lyrics require, “Kaa karoon sajni? Aaye naa baalam!...Tadpat beeti mori un bin ratiyaa.” This is a song you’ll enjoy listening to repeatedly.
Jabse Shyam Sidhare (4:47) has a Latino flavor to it and is the second most catchy track in Lagi Lagan. Once again, the lyrics deal with the “tadap” of being away from one’s beloved: “Jabse shyam sidhaar, tadap tadap jiyaa jaaye... Bin pritam se praan jaat hai, naa aaye pritam pyaare.”
Babul Mora (7:24) is an extremely emotional bidaai song which uses the shehnaai beautifully. The song is easy on the instruments, as the focus is on Madhushree’s voice. And, Madhushree does an awesome job of rendering such a serious song. Even the lyrics used are full of depth, “Babul moraa, nayhaar chuto hi jaaye. Chaar kahaar mil doliyaa uthaaye, apnaa begaanaa chuto hi jaaye.”
The next two tracks in the album are a Video Edit version of Piya Lagi Laganiya (3:48) and a House Mix of Lagi Lagi (4:43).
The last track in the album is Barsan Lagi (5:39) which uses the Sarangi (played by Dilshaad) and Tabla. Madhushree’s voice sounds calm and the use of the sarangi and tabla is nice on the ears.
It is great that finally someone has attempted to come out with an album that fuses thumri and world music genres—Lagi Lagan is an album worth listening to especially in a year when the music industry has continuously been disappointing (dare I say Bhoothnath, Tashan, De Taali, God Tussi Great Ho, Ugly Aur Pagli?). Aye Na Balam, Jabse Shyam Sidhare and Babul Mora are definitely the best tracks in the album. The rest of the songs do take more than one listen to get into, but are also enjoyable.
The lyrics could use improvement, though. It is true that Thumri is about the overall feel and presentation, instead of the lyrics. And, it is also true that repetition is typical of songs falling under the Thumri genre. However, it would have been nice if more powerful traditional lyrics were used, or if traditional lyrics were fused with original lyrics. But, whatever is lacking in the lyrics department Madhushree compensates for with her pleasant singing.
Robby Badal shines as a music director—he demonstrates his knowledge of various music genres and it’ll be interesting to see what projects he takes on in the future.
Fans of Madhushree, lovers of thumri, those of you into fusion music, and people just looking for something different and fun to listen to, check out Lagi Lagan right away!
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