Sounds & Sensibilities: Jag Changa Music review

Sounds & Sensibilities: Jag Changa Music review

Composer: Raghu Dixit Lyricists: Shishunala Sharif,Ankur Tewari,Madan Karky Rating: 3-1/2 stars

Numerous concerts,similar kind of folk fusion and many line-up changes later,we wondered if Raghu Dixit was becoming monotonous. But with his latest— Jag Changa — Dixit turns the theory on its head,in turn giving us an absolute stunner. A phrase in Punjabi,which means the world is all good,this one is exactly the feel good album one’s been waiting for from the indie pop side of life for years. Dixit’s full throated voice stands out in texture,has chutzpah and is infused with lots of charm. As for the album,it makes one enter a world where one does not find only music,but a cackle of laughter,something that lacks even in class acts of today. Everybody seems happy here and are not limited by genres. The happiness goes beyond folk fusion to give us a musical balance on the larger spectrum of genres.

Parsivana,a stunner,begins with some uplifting drums,which continue throughout the song. A fantastic opener,the track has all the elements of a commercial hit,yet it’s extremely warm and heartfelt. We did not understand the words (it’s in Kannada) but it took us only seconds to sway to its groovy hook. The shehnai interludes are an interesting touch. Then comes Rain song,easily the best track from 2013. And there isn’t any exaggeration in that. Like most rain songs,the track does not use Malhar ragas as base,which is extremely refreshing. Based on Mishra Tilang with touches of Jog,the poignant strains from Soumik Datta’s sarod are outstanding. The rapid strumming towards the later part of the track make Datta sound like a cross between a classical musician and a steel guitarist. The deep,introspective glides reach the most obscure corners of the heart. The title song is another interesting track with an addictive chorus paired with the sounds of khartaal,banjo and violin and Dixit’s acoustic guitar. Yaadon ki kyari has a lovely accordion prelude followed by the warmth of lyrics that go Chhupa chupi akhiyaan khelo na,gunguni dubki le lo na..

Amma is an emotionally charged Kannada song dominated by heaving violins throughout. Sajna begins in a Rajasthani maand style with Sohail Khan’s sarangi prelude. Based on raag Des,the song owes its brilliance to soft tonal patterns and a flute. Lokada kalaji is the only weak link here. After listening to so much good,this ordinary melody,typical of Dixit’s enthusiasm though,does not work. The album concludes with Kodagana Koli ninguta,based on south Indian raag Vakulabharanam,full of heavy orchestration with violin as the highlight. This man’s candied voice modulations paint a whole new canvas for us. It’s the effortlessness in Dixit’s voice that takes one into another world — where life is fun. By the end of it,there is a strong urge to put this one on loop. We bow down to the heart’s will.

— Suanshu Khurana