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Brit sound, desi flavour

The biggest Asian crossover artiste from the U.K. releases his solo album in India


ONE HEARD him first as one of the members of the Rishi Rich Project, which featured on the soundtrack of Boom. The song Dance With Me shot instantly to fame and gave Panjabi MC's Mundiyan Tho Bachke a run for its money. The Rishi Rich project was also featured in the soundtrack of Hum Tum for a remix version of the title track. The lead vocalist of the band, Jay Sean goes solo and his debut album, Me Against Myself (EMI; CD; Rs. 295) has just been released in India. Jay Sean is a 22-year-old British-born Indian from Hounslow who left medical school in 2003 to pursue a serious career in music. Having mastered the fast rap technique by studying popular rap acts like Notorious BIG and Mobb Deep, Sean was part of a punk rap duo called Compulsive Disorder, where he combined his rap skills with lyrics that revealed his inner voices and visions in life. After earning `local notoriety' due to his strong lyrics, Sean joined the Rishi Rich Project, which features a handful of up and coming talent like Juggy D., Veronica and Billy Grant. The year 2002 saw a great spurt in the Asian underground and Brit-Bhangra scene; Sean, with his unique ability to sing hip-hop and Bhangra with the same expertise, assured himself an enviable position in the Asian underground movement, and Me Against Myself has been a runaway success in the U.K. After having kick-started the `British sound with an Indian flavour' concept, Sean has created a cutting-edge formula, which appeals to Hip-hop fans and Bhangra enthusiasts alike. The first single from the album, Eyes On You is a typical example of Sean's powerful, yet smooth vocals. Though the vocals are entirely in English, the impressive flute samples give it a very `desi' feel. A Hip-hop groove of a slightly more energetic order, accompanied by occasional break-beat vocals, has ensured that the track becomes a dance-floor rage. The flute gives a very feel-good groove to the track, which combined with an infectious piano intro, makes the song stand out. The combination of Hindi vocal samples blended with a commercial R&B sound give tracks like One Night and Stolen a very cutting-edge feel. Dance With Me, the track which was featured in the Boom soundtrack finds its place in the play-list alongside tracks like Man's World and I Believe In You, which have heavy hip-hop and R&B influences. While Meri Jaan impresses with its tabla sounds and a sing-along Punjabi vocals, Me Against Myself is vocally aggressive and is a sort of a `jugalbandi' between the two faces of the artiste.


The album previews the future of Brit-Bhangra music, which sure is here to stay. It's time to take Bhangra to the next level.

A. VISHNU

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