Artist Aloud: Reviewing new releases from Shaarib-Toshi, Arun Kumar and Sudeep Banerji & Aalok Shrivastav

This weeks new releases from Artist Aloud feature the artists Shaarib-Toshi, Arun Kumar, Sudeep Banerji and Alok Shrivastav. The genres are a mix of sufi and classical and this is what makes Artist Aloud stand out, as their platform supports a variety of artists from all genres of music and that is why they are such a unique platform.

Artist Information about Shaarib-Toshi

Shaarib and Toshi are the most loved singer-composer duo in the music industry with over dozens of films with big banners like Vishesh Films, Dharma Productions, Banaras Media Works, Balaji Motion Pictures, Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and many more. They came into the limelight with their debut song Maahi from Raaz 2 in 2013. Shaarib- Toshi released their first album ‘French Kiss’. Some of the most popular songs from them in recent years are Kabhi Jo Baadal Barse, Samjhawan, Bandeya and more.

My review of Saanson Ki Maala

I am already very familiar with music duo Shaarib-Toshi since their days as reality show contestants (SaReGaMaPa challenge, Star Voice of India etc), to their first film as a music director (Jashnn 2009, for Mahesh Bhatt) and to their most recent album French Kiss. They have both worked very hard over the years and their effort show in their latest offering Saanson Ki Maala.

Saanson Ki Maala is an already popular song, and it is good to see it being given a Shaarib-Toshi makeover. I would say that they have done a fine job and it is a fitting tribute for the original composer. I am happy to see them branching out into the independent music scene.

Artist Information about Sudeep Banerji and Aalok Shrivastav

Aalok Shrivastav: His poetry collection, Aameen and story collection Aafreen are his most critically acclaimed literary works. His works have been translated in Russian and Japanese besides various Indian languages including Gujarati, Marathi and Punjabi. He has also edited several books by renowned Urdu poets. His poetry has come alive through artists like the ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas, Talat Aziz, Kailash Kher, Richa Sharma, Malini Awasthi, Shubha Mudgal as well as the legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan.

A recipient of the Dushyant Kumar Award by Sahitya Akademi (Madhya Pradesh), he is also the youngest poet to receive the International Pushkin Award from Russia. He was felicitated at the House of Commons at the British Parliament and also received the renowned Firaq Gorakhpuri Award for poetry. As a senior print and television journalist, he has worked with media houses like Aajtak, India TV and DD for nearly fifteen years.

Sudeep Banerji: Sudeep’s ghazal repertoire includes Zafar, Ghalib, Zauq, Daag, Jigar, Shakeel, Faani, and Firaq on one hand, and the sharp edge of the writings of modern poets like Faiz, Nida Fazli, Ahmad Faraz, Bashir Badr and Amir Qazalbash on the other. He is also the voice of vibrant new poets like Faiyyazuddin Saeb, Farzana Akhtar and Indira Varma, amongst others. Sudeep’s unending romance with the ghazal has flowered under many influences. Many a day has been spent in the company of inspiring poets like Bashir Badr, Nida Fazli, Amir Qazalbash and Ahmad Faraz and ghazal legends like Begum Iqbal Bano, Ustad Mehdi Hasan, Jagjit Singh and Ustad Ghulam Ali, amongst others. Sudeep has also received invaluable guidance in Hindustani classical music from one of India’s leading classical vocalists and gurus, Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty. Sudeep loves Urdu. He reads and writes Urdu fluently. It is this that enables him to dig deep into the fascinating treasure-trove of enchanting classical and modern Urdu poetry. Sudeep’s singing is inspired by the music of his three inspirations Mehdi Hasan, Jagjit Singh (who has also sung to Sudeep’s music) and Kishore Kumar.

My review of Noor A Romantic Ghazal Single

This is the first time that I am listening to both artists Sudeep Banerji and Aalok Shrivastav. While my knowledge of this genre of Hindi music is a bit limited, I was pleasantly surprised by Noor and enjoyed listening to this romantic ghazal. The composition has a very peaceful vibe and it is comforting to listen to such a track at the end of a busy day. I look forward to hearing more songs from Sudeep and Aalok.

Artist Information about Arunkumar

Arunkumar is a trained professional and versatile singer having a sweet, melodious and romantic voice and can sing all types of songs. He is a professional and versatile performing vocalist (singer), giving music concerts all over India singing pure Hindustani classical and also light music such as bhajans, ghazals, thumris, tappa, geet and other varieties of music in his concerts. He has studied under very eminent maestros of ‘Gwalior’, ‘Agra’, ‘Kirana’, ‘Bhendibazar’, ‘Jaipur’ and other styles / ‘gharanas’ of  hindustani classical music and has evolved his own immaculate and soothing style of presentation which is an amalgamation of all above styles of music learnt by him. He holds a Sangeet Vishrard and Sangeet Alankar degree (Master’s Degree) in vocal music and has given over 100 concert stage performances all over India and had performed on many occasions for various and numerous Government concerts and have a number of newspaper and magazine reviews to his credit. His classical recordings of half hour each were telecast by Doordarshan National, Doordarshan Sahyadri, DD Bharati, Zee Jagran, Asianet, Gurjari, Lashkara, In cablenet TV and many Television channels in India and abroad. He has recorded over 3 dozen cassettes / albums for TSeries comprising of light music such as film songs, version songs, bhajans, Mata ki bheintein, folk songs and so on.  A pop album and a few classical vocal recordings of his had been released by Paradise Music which were broadcast by radio stations and telecast on TV channels such as CMM, DD Metro, Zee Bangla, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and so on.

My review of Raga Surmalhar – Part 1 and 2

Now I will say that I am a novice to pure Hindustani classical genre but I do believe that it is not possible to review a Raag of such stature! A raag is truly an ornate and exceptional piece of music on its own, and deserves to be heard by those who particularly enjoy and who deeply understand this genre of music.

As always, to listen to all of these songs, simply stream and download these and many more, exclusively on Artist Aloud app:

Songs are also available on iTunes, Wynk, Hungama, Jio, Idea and other WAP Platforms.

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