Playlist for Calming music
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Music in happy times is a drug but music in tough times is a balm. Here is a playlist of the songs keeping me in good spirits as we battle COVID-19, the biggest crisis of our times on this planet.

Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho, Meri Jaan 

Always good to start with Geeta Dutt’s powder-coated voice bridging Kanu Roy’s minimal composition and early Gulzar’s complex-poetry. This entire album is a landmark in the history of Hindi Film Music and this song especially is a nerve-calmer for all seasons.

You can listen to it here

Aami Shunechi She Din

My plan for self-isolation period is to memorize at least 4 new Bangla songs and this one is first on the list because of its ethereal melody and beautiful, deep words. Moushumi Bhowmik is a legend and if you want a gateway drug to Bengali music, this is the place to start.

 

Sajna Ve Sajna

Punjabi is my mother-tongue and early Gurdas Maan is an aesthetic that will forever remind me of home. This is a happy, nostalgia-inducing song about endless summer afternoons of small towns.

 

Roz Roz Aankhon Tale

And now for some classic, familiar RD Burman in the mix – this gentle love number, written by Gulzar and sung by Amit Kumar & Asha Bhonsle melts like a mishri in the heart.

You can listen to it here

Kajraare

If the mood and energy are a bit low, this one always brings it up with its beautiful rhythm & composition (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy), and of course Gulzar saab’s fun poetry. And who would have thought the queen of indi-pop Alisha Chinai would render a folksy, shuddh-desi item number with such ease!

Kun Faaya Kun

Nobody will contest that ARR has made more than 200 songs that deserve to be sent as space-signals to aliens as a proof of the superiority of our species so really difficult to pick one or two for any list. And still, Kun Faaya Kun is among the very few where the lyrics (Irshad Kamil), composition, singing (Mohit Chauhan), and the on-screen visualisation have aligned so seamlessly that the song manages to give an out of body experience (the Sufi state of rising ‘haal’) in just 7 minutes.

Khwaab Ho Tum Ya

What’s a list without Kishore Kumar and Dev Anand songs? Written by Majrooh Sultanpuri and composed by SD Burman, this breezy song brings cheer to my heart.

You can listen to it here

Raat Bhar, Aapki Yaad

Jaidev’s divine composition of Makhdoom’s shaayari, delivered to perfection by Chhaya Ganguly’s masterful voice. A song for long, endless nights of FOMO.

Big Medicine

Discovered this song recently almost by accident and now I’m constantly playing it in loop for its meditative words and instrumentation. Mari Boine’s dreamy rendition of the existential poetry seems to be tailor-made for these tough times.

Jogi

Coke Studio is my happy place and it’s really difficult to choose two or three tracks from it but I’ll try. Fariha Parvez and Muazzam Ali Khan’s jugalbandi on Sufi poetry, deliciously produced by Rohail Hyatt is always on my playlist, no matter which app.

Ishq Di Booti

Rohail Hyatt gives a beautiful peppy treatment to this almost-fatalistic, sad-giving poetry with Abrar Ul Haq’s cheeriness and a dhol-rhythm. Always uplifting.

Aaqa

Abida Parveen with Ali Sethi. Enough said.

Dharti Kahe Pukaar Ke

This one, Salil da and Shailendra at their sublime best, asking us to be compassionate and self-aware.

You can listen to it here

My Heart, My Life

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has a body of work that can last us 10 lifetimes and still, this 1996 album (Night Song) he made with Michael Brook is an experience unlike anything else.

Ehna Akhiyaan Ch

Surinder Kaur’s sweet melancholy counters my anxiety quickest.

Dekhechi Roop Saagore

Another Bangla song I’m learning nowadays. So old-world, melodious, and gently happy.

Kya Khayaal Hai

An Indo-Pak collaboration, Swanand Kirkire and Shantanu Moitra with Zeb Bangash. Another beautiful collab of Swanand and Zeb is ‘Hone do batiyaan’ from Fitoor.

Ramaiyya Vastavaiyya

The song I used to wait the most for during ‘Chitrahaar’ on DD in the 90s. Nothing purer than early-Lata and Mukesh, nothing more soul satisfying.

You can listen to it here

 

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