Monday, 7 January 2013

It's Not Just Cricket

I've featured a few jazz records with Indian influences and have some more cuts earmarked for later, but for now I'd like to explore this East-West musical colonization in reverse, to tune in on South Asian music under the bizarro-world influence of Western pop.  

The opener and first to the wicket is Sitar Beat! Indian Style Heavy Funk Volume 2.

In 2006 and 2007 Guerrilla Reissues pressed a series of five EPs and two compilation albums of rare blaxploitation funk, soul, psychedelic rock, free jazz, and disco numbers culled from the soundtracks of 70s and 80s Bollywood films.  These selections had until these releases never been heard or made available outside of Indian and had been long forgotten within.  Imagine tabla breakbeats, garage rock twists on Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, near-nonsensical lyrics about dance parties sung to the tune of the Troggs' Wild Thing, and sitar solos -- all in one track.  It's musical masala: a blend of hot, tasty, weird ingredients.   

Babla and His Orchestra - "The Witness"

Kalyanji Anandji - "Pyar Zindagi Hai"

Kalyanji Anandji - "Nigahon Ka Adaon Ka"

Usha Khanna - "Tera Jasia Pyara Koi Nahin"

Hemant Bhosle ft. Asha Bhosle - "Phir Teri Yaad"

Ajit Singh ft. Asha Bhosle - "Main Akeli Raat Jawan"

And equally matched, delivering cutter bowls is Sublime Frequencies' compilation Pakistan Folk and Pop Instrumentals 1966-1976.  

Lollywood, the Lahore-based answer to neighbouring Bollywood, has traditionally been the focus of Pakistan's musical output.  But in a brief interim at mid century, between the end of the war over Kashmir with Indian and the beginning of fundamentalist Islamic regime under General Muhammed Zia-ul-Haq, the country embraced western music, free-thinking youth culture and a thriving nightclub scene.  A few privleged house bands even pressed some singles.  This album collects a series of disparate one-off 7 inches by groups with cool gang names, like The Panthers!  Most of the tracks rely heavily on California psychedelic surf and British garage rock tropes but you can glean a myriad of other American pop styles blended with native rhythms and instrumentations.

The Panthers - "Malkaus"

The Abstracts - "Mahiya"

Nisar Bazmi - "Aesi Chal Main"

The Fore Thoughts - "The Boat Man's Cry"

The Panthers - "Bhairvi"

The Aay Jayes - "Lal Qalander Lal"

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