Long may he continue...
Jerome Blakeney 2009
And so, the Dr Dre of Bhangra returns. Prolific and well-loved by both Bhangra and world music buffs, the Punjabi master follows up his previous 2006 Collaborations album with part two. And it's a real winner.
While the core of this follow-up is still good old Bhangra, served with a plentiful supply of thumping Tabla, Dhol and Dholki, played by the man himself, it also throws up one or two surprises. Take, for instance, the opening track, Ghum Suhm Ghum Suhm which introduces Qawwali into the mix by featuring Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, the nephew of Nusrat. It's a bold move that works perfectly, as does the closing Tu Hi Tu - Tu Hi Tu which combines Bollywood with Latino guitar beautifully.
It wouldn't be a Shinda album without the appearance of Jazzy B, and the pure Bhangra of Yaaria Banayi Rakhian Yaaria certainly makes up for any mistakes on last years's disappointing Rambo. Meanwhile the hip hop heads in the crowd are catered for by the amusing Shinda Around The World featuring Don Revo. This manages to namecheck New York, Disneyland and...Wolverhampton. Brilliant.
However, depending on your tastes, the highlight here could well be the more Filmi Apni Bana Ley - where Shazia Manzoor's vocals drip into the ear like honey, borne on a cloud of Bollywood strings.
By this point you're in no doubt as to how the album's going to fare. While the Manjit Pappu feature, Parande Sat Rang Deh pushes the BPMs a little too close to some mindless club banger the rest of Collaborations 2 just reiterates over and over what a fine producer and an inventive musician Shinda is these days. Long may he continue...