Taubah Taubah marks the confident return of a self-assured singer.
Jaspreet Pandohar 2009
While he may not be a household name, ADH (aka Amarjit Dhanda) is a fully paid-up member of the UK bhangra fraternity having produced three albums (4Folk Sake, Never Look Back, Bad Boys Bhangra) over the past five years. But despite best efforts, the popularity and appreciation afforded to his peers has unfortunately eluded the Birmingham-based vocalist.
Hopefully his new release, Taubah Taubah, may go some way to redressing the imbalance and showcase his musical development since beginning his singing career with Gabhru Panjab De dance group in the late 90s. A respectable mix of traditional and funked-up Punjabi music, its ADH’s strong vocals that narrowly steers this album from being run of the mill.
The ten-track album features an impressive line-up of producers and collaborations. There’s urban desi flavours through the tracks Taubah Taubah featuring US rapper Gop Virk and Akh Mastani with Hunterz: both of these cater to the younger listener who prefers their music blasted loud and proud in a club, or while cruising in the car. While the title track keeps things light and fresh, Hunterz repetitively asking his girl to “just bounce” becomes an irritation in the otherwise raunchy Akh Mastani.
In stark contrast is the more traditional sound heard on a pair of duets: Put Sardara De, with the legendary Kuldeep Manak, and Muqabala, performed alongside current queen of bhangra, Miss Pooja. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of performing with his musical inspiration, ADH does a good job keeping up with Manak’s commanding performance in the macho opener. The old master sounds just as potent as he did 20 or more years ago thanks to Aman Hayer’s musical arrangement and the bravado-filled lyrics penned by Jandu Littranwala.
Former B21 band members turned producers, Bally and Bhota Jagpal, put their own signature sound behind ADH’s solid vocals in Sassi Thal Wich and Jind Mahi. While Bally’s updated ode to the tragic romance popularised in the Punjabi fable of Sassi Punnu is easy on the ear, Bhota’s Jind Mahi is lacklustre. Similarly, when ADH steps in as producer himself that things turn a smidgen ordinary: the soppy ballad Tu Ni Jaandi and monotonous chorus of Tere Bina Kada Jeena are devoid of the energy delivered in the album’s others tracks.
It may have taken a while to put together, but overall Taubah Taubah marks the confident return of a self-assured singer.