Every time a YouTube video becomes popular,creating overnight sensations of people,it proves how democratised entertainment has become,at least on the Web. It also shows how far the Bollywood story has reached. In this case,as far as Riyadh.
YouTube and Bollywood enabled 28-year-old Saudi resident Alaa Wardi to showcase his unusual talent. The video,an a cappella (music characterised by its vocals without using instruments) version of the Bollywood song Pehla Nasha,shows Wardi producing musical notes from his mouth,body,with the bass,rhythm and chords in harmony with the lyrics. The video got nine lakh views.
Wardi has done covers of Arabic and English songs before,but his cover of a Bollywood song brought him unprecedented success. Inspired by American a cappella artists,he had picked up the knack of doing a cappella covers two years ago. Gifted with a sharp sense of sound,he took a liking to a cappella instantly and soon started practising by himself. Many think its a unique talent. I dont. Any musician who can arrange and knows a bit about sound engineering can do it. I was lucky to be the first to do it on YouTube, he writes in an email interview.
A look at the video gives a sense of the elaborate process that Wardi has undertaken. The split screen video shows the artist adding each layer of his song,and the ability to produce the song in his head even before he stars recording. I start by imagining how I want it to sound when its done,then record the various parts,edit and mix what Ive recorded and modifying them to sound their best, he explains. This process might take a month depending on the complexity of the song and how lazy I feel, adds Wardi.
Originally from Iran,Wardi currently lives in Riyadh. Growing up in a rigid musical environment in Saudi Arabia,Wardi carved out his own musical path. A self-taught musician,Wardi pursued music education in Jordan for four years,and sound engineering for another year.
Wardis exposure to Hindi films,however,owes to his mothers family,which hails from India. Soon after Pehla Nasha,Wardi followed it up with another Hindi cover,this time AR Rahmans Jiya Re from Jab Tak Hai Jaan. It got nearly five lakh views.
As much as he revels in the sudden fame,Wardi is working on his album,with his band Hayajan,which is due for release.