• Tue, Jul 7, 2020

Check Out The Latest Folk-Pop Collaborations From Equals Sessions

Oct 30, 03:00pm

‘Nasha’ features Mumbai band Faridkot and Amar Jalal group from Punjab

Irrespective of how hot it is right now, fusion is not always easy to pull off. Dealing with mixing up genres is always dicey because it’s deceptively simple to get horribly wrong. A lack of familiarity or knowledge in either genre usually results in the whole house of cards falling down and the music turning out boring or insipid. Equals Sessions is handling this ‘marriage of sounds’ concept in a pretty interesting way. They are putting together collaborations by getting well-established ‘urban’ composers and folk music groups to make songs together, and that theoretically solves the problem of lack of depth as long as there is chemistry between the two sides of the musical coin, as it were. ‘Nasha’, a track made with Mumbai-based Faridkot and the Amar Jalal group from Bathinda is a cool example of this.


The idea of the session is for the two artists to get to know each other and record a track in 5 days. ‘Nasha’ is in spirit a fairly glamorous and glitzy track, but that is mainly a result of the instrumentation and production here. Time and again, the fusion space has brought one thing to the fore, which is how awesome a westernized rhythm section sounds with more rootsy Indian sounds. The same applies here; the bass and drums form a delightful base for everyone else to do their thing. The modern pop side of everything brings more to this table by adding synths and some pretty smooth background and lead vocals in parts from Faridkot’s Ip Singh, who has a nice pop voice anyway. There are also some structural decisions that sound planned in the way that modern music does, with a nice toned-down interlude before the song kicks back into the gear for the end and a bunch of small but interesting transitions to move from passage to passage. Honestly, ‘Nasha’ with these elements alone would be a bit too overwrought and shiny for its own good if the other side (the folk side) of things didn’t make it fun and grounded. The main things that end of it bring (due to some really solid writing from Amar and Balla Jalal) are a super sweet and honest lyrical arc (which is something really nice about a lot of music from that region in general; there are some hard ass beats and really big tunes, but the lyrics are often deceptively simple and uplifting), awesome harmonium and percussion performances and some incredible singing. I’m sure there are a bunch of people who would kill for half the amount of personality, power and depth the group’s vocalists have. Led by Amar Jalal, they sing with so much power and feeling that the song doesn’t need to elevate itself or do some outrageous stuff with the instrumentation. The voices just do so much and add so much to the lyrical content of the song (a romantic-themed story that has a wholesome tone to it) that they end up pretty much driving the entire track through its sections and pauses.


The initiative of having such sessions is good, and the format of it is also a very solid one. Allowing folk artists to be ‘mentored’ (a silly word to use because we have a hell of a lot to learn from them in the first place) by modern composers while bringing their sounds into a new context is a step in the right direction for finding a middle ground between overcooked modern music and underexposed folk music.

Watch NASHA below:



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