Written by our India correspondent Akash who is based in Mumbai. A keen follower of UK Bhangra and coming from a family with years of musical experiance, he gives his opinion on What makes music worthy of being paid for!
WHY PAY FOR MUSIC? PART 2
Perhaps you have been asking this question more often these days when the albums are much about hype and hoopla! Sum it with the fact that pirated music is available so freely over the internet, so what if it means cheating in dictionary language. Even though you felt cheated when you shelled out 10 pounds and got music worth a few quid. I don’t blame you at all; the music coming out is actually pushing us to develop an ear for mediocre standards. Let us look deeper into some aspects that are influencing and defining the current scenario.
There are lots of factors that attribute to the success of an album. It starts with Music Composition/Production, Vocals or Singing, meaningful Lyrics, Innovation/Creativity and of course how the overall package is presented i.e. Marketing. If the current observations are to be considered, Marketing seems to be the only aspect which is improving and the reason is quite easy to comprehend; most of the times the marketing is handled by 3rd party which has got nothing to do with the music/album. The marketing firm is good with their own art. But this is just one part, right; what about the other ingredients?
Well sadly these days everyone wants to Produce / Sing / Write and be Popular so much to the extent that you end up unaware about the credits for the cover artiste and assume that person could be the producer or he must have just remixed …oh no may be he leant the vocals for the songs or ahh! He is just a good looking MC saving money. Funny but true. That is how Bhangra albums are being churned out today. Why then should I end up paying for the album when there is just one song worth popping in to player that too is 7th remix of a song from a time when there is used to be good music.(that was not very long ago)
Well it is indeed a high time that Bhangra Conscious people should bring about a good level of improvisation if the market wants to be termed as 'Bhangra Market' in the future.
The first step towards this is to filter out the albums and the creators should introspect whether money needs to be the deciding factor or talent. Music Producers need to at least learn an instrument or two before entering the studio comprising of mixers and software loaded Macs. Same goes with the vocalists …singing is considered a very pure and deep form of art in India , so aspiring vocalists should come to India and learn the art at the source before going PRO. Just listening to Kuldeep Manaks and Wadalis on the ipod is not going to fetch much respect although aping their style may make one popular that, only temporarily.
If one spots raw talent or potential, that needs to be harnessed into something that will be remembered by the masses. But for that, a deeper sense of learning and understanding has to be infused. What you just read are few of the inputs that I believe should bring out some real good talent that can survive a generation and not just one album or may be two.
Same Old Same Old
Lyrics have to start sending message and not just flaunt about Punjabi +Alcohol and Punjabi+ Ego and Punjabi +++ on and on, u may even replace word Punjabi with jatt and that’s the only innovation, the writing should now reflect social change and concerns gripping the homeland. Few men like Manmohan Waris and Gurdas Mann who seem to have taken it on their shoulders from last ten years or so and no wonder every time their album hits shelves it makes space for the next one.
If there has to be one thing to get inspired from people like Gurdas Mann, Hans Raj Hans, Manmohan Waris and Kuldeep Manak…..it should not be the outcome like Money, Fame or the loyal audience they command today, but their passion, dedication and sincerity towards the music which was there when they started and only grew deeper as they grew.
Before you get a little too worried about the Bhangra Scene …..Do not ignore the fact that there also has been some real innovative stuff and new talent that has sprung up in recent times. (By recent times I mean 5 years). I will also discuss about the positive aspects in the coming few articles. But for now keep the tumba playing….and keep supporting the good quality artists.
Written By Akash (Mumbai)