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Kailasa Rangeele Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

Album four from the popular group packs a colourful hit of emotion and vocal exuberance.

Ashanti Omkar 2012

Released by and featuring the voice of Bollywood’s most famous actor, Amitabh Bachchan, Rangeele (Colourful), is certainly the best-marketed offering from popular group Kailasa, with extensive tour dates and promotional appearances tied to its release.

Having worked with Grammy- and Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman, and captivating the masses all over India, Kailasa frontman Kailash Kher, and his somewhat raw voice, seems to know no bounds. Formed around brothers Naresh and Paresh Kamath, Kailasa have played at prestigious venues like Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and at a jam-packed Royal Festival Hall in London.

But while past successes speak for themselves, Rangeele might be the group’s weakest long-player to date. That said, what it lacks in innovation it makes up for with catchy melodies and grooves that shine, allowing it to stand out in the tough Bollywood music market.

Myriad emotions hit the ears and, due to the captivating instrumentation and sheer variety of genres covered, the language barrier does not present a problem in uncovering the heart of these arrangements. The country and western vibes of Kathagaan make it the standout track – its earthy, rustic, uninterrupted progression showcases the delightful voice of Kher in all its glory.

The title-track might not be original but it is instantly identifiable, following a similar scale to that used in Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The soothing Ujaale Baant Lo (translation: “let's distribute lights”) features lyrics with deep meanings about togetherness; indeed, many of the tracks are lyrically well thought out. Daaro Na Rang (“don't pour colour on me”) starts off in a melancholy fashion yet brings an innately Indian quality to the fore, revealing a bluesy edge as it continues.

Elsewhere, Babbaji is a stunning devotional, about the holy man above, watching over. The bonus track is a beautiful guitar-infused acoustic version of Yadaan Teriyaan (“memories of you”). The cutest song on the album is undoubtedly Hudkaan Maan Bitti (“about a village game”), featuring the toddler son of Kher, while Tu Kya Jaane (“the anger inside you”) has proven itself as a chart-topper.

Sax riffs and vocal percussion, the North African Oud and the banjo: many a constituent features on this eclectic offering. Atop this varied musical backdrop, Rangeele traverses the entire gamut of love-based emotions and is a charming, albeit habitual, latest step for its makers.

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