The Music I was hooked onto in 2016

In 2016  I made an honest attempt to make an outreach to the up and coming and not so popular musicians​ in India. My attempt was to dig into deeper and discover new artists, songs and music genres. 

With a little of 'Sherlock-ing' a world of some exceptional music kept unfolding. I just loved the kind and quality of music that's currently being produced in India. I was mind blown x 1000 times with some of the music you see in this list. 

Most of the music in this list still lingers in my head. The one's I desired to collaborate with, I reached out to them and worked on a few projects. Some of this material is released whilst the others are scheduled for next year. 

Enjoy the curated list music that kept me hooked this year. 

Pssst : It includes some of my songs too!​ 😉

Film Songs

​1. Man Mandira

A gem of a song from Katyar Kaljat Ghusali beautifully rendered by the father and son duo of Shankar and Shivam Mahadevan. 

​2. Poomaram

The songwriting, the singer and the presentation of this song is the simplest and purest form of music. Kudos to singer Faizal Razi.

​3. Poyimaranjo

Anuraga Karikkin Velam was a game-changing score for my team and me. It is a milestone of sorts in my career, and the reasons of that I will share soon. This melancholy sung by my sister Preeti Pillai and Arun Kamat was an unexpected winner from the soundtrack.  

​4. Manogatham

The other song from the Anuraga Karikkin Velam soundtrack was a refresher for me too. The magic of music can be experienced in this track thanks to every single person who contributed to it success.

​5. Tere Liye

Did you know there is one Sufi track that I've done for each of Bejoy's films till date? This time for Wazir, I got debutant Gagan Baderiya to croon this rebel Sufi track that was beautifully used in the film score too. 

​6. Kho Gaye Hum Kahan

This track belongs to Jasleen Royal. In love with her voice!

Indie / Non-Film Songs

​1. Softly as in a morning sunrise

Frijo Francis' gem  of song from their live ensemble.

​2. Vivek Santosh Trio Live

Vivek Santosh and his band performing at the now iconic The Piano Man Jazz Club in Delhi.

3. Kitni Saadiyan

This refreshing track from NESCAFE Basement Season 4, Episode 8 celebrates cult guitarist Faraz Anwar. Lookout for the voices!

4. Laal Peeli Ankhiyaan - Filter Coffee Feat. Bundu Khan

A folksy electronic fusion by the ethnotronic band Filter Coffee featuring the rusty Bundu Khan.

5. Awesome Laxmi Stuti Barama | Jayateerth Mevundi

Pure Bliss !

6. Sleep 

Sleep is an original by singer/songwriter Mahesh B Raghunandan. This beautiful song caught my attention and a few months later we got working together for a Malayalam Film score. A super sombre track!

7. Tears (Cover) - Django Reinhardt by Joey Sharma & Siddharth Gautam

Absolutely love this! The one to your right is Sid and he has been playing for my projects since the last couple of years. Brilliant is an understatement for this session!
Btw Django is one of my favorite artist. 

8. Sarjapur Blues Band - Lady Nicotine

The cool dudes of underground concert in India nailing their original. The humour machine and Electric guitarist Vinoo Matthew was featured on the Let's Talk Music Series too.

9. Morning Jams with Sid Sriram Feat. Sanjeev Thomas

Ace guitarist Sanjeev Thomas and Sid Sriram's magic in this super mashup video.

10. Nate smith in India Feat. Sanjeev Thomas - "Vara Veena"

This time Sanjeev picks the carnatic tripper Vara Veena for his mashup video with the cult drummer 0 Nate Smith .

11. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Vasudev Prabhu and Joe Anthony of the By 2 Blues band belt out a supercool rendition of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.The unusual combo of Ghatam and Harmonica makes this track a stunner.

12. Khanda Blues - Gino Banks I Ron Cha  Feat. Rhythm Shaw

Watch out for the guitarist Rhythm Shaw. This performance peaks all his previous jam videos he's put out.

13. SAXOPHONE(Hindusthani Classical) - JONATHAN KAY

Calcutta / Kolkatta is a brewing place for expat classical musicians who are putting out some amazing music. This is one of Jonathan Kay's (the other half of The Kay Brothers)  best performances till date. I'm so happy to have bumped into his world of music. Love the vibes. 

14. Carsten Wicke Rudra Veena Raga Bhairavi

Rudra Veena player of German origin Mr.Carsten Wicke is very few Rudra Veena performers in the world. He is currently based out of Kolkatta and his genius can be heard in this gem of rendition. So much to learn from him.

15. ELEVEN - Manjunath Bc

Recently I heard this beautiful rendition by prodigal Konnakol artist Manjunath. This video is in ELEVEN,  that he discovered 12 years ago in a Choreographical piece by Dance Legend Akram Khan. Groove !

16. Konarak Reddy Live in Budapest

How did I even miss out on hearing this outstanding artist. Konarak is India's most innovative guitarists and is known for integrating Hindustani and Carnatic playing styles. Truly inspiring!

Hope you'll enjoyed this list! 

Do share in the comments section below what alternative music you've been listening to.​ Would love to hear it.

About the Author Prashant Pillai

Prashant Pillai is one of the most experimental and distinctive musical producers around today. An unconventional thinker, Prashant is a thought leader on creativity and music and his writings can be followed on the blog here.

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