2006 saw one of the biggest collaborations the Bhangra industry had ever scene. Sukshinder Shinda alongside, the legendary Gurdas Mann and the equally talented Abrar ul Haq teamed up for a very special ‘collaboration’. From that song stemmed a whole album dedicated to Collaborations.
Nearly three years later, the ‘music man’ Shinda returns with part 2! This time featuring a more versatile line up vocalists including, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Nachhatar Gill, Labh Janjua, Shazia Manzoor, Amrinder Gill, and of course; Jazzy B.
Shinda has certainly kept himself busy since we saw Collaborations 1, producing for big names such as Amrinder Gill (Ishq), Harbhajan Mann (Nazran Miliyan), Jazzy B (Rambo) and his own solo album titled Living the Dream. More recently we were treated to the fantastic ‘Chadd Ke. Na Jana’ by Nachhatar Gill, which unfortuantly may have gone under looked by much of the public
The album begins with a song that has been receiving large critical praise across the spectrum. “Ghum Suhm Ghum Suhm” features Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, the newphew of the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. It’s not a full on qawali song, more of a bollywood feel to it. However it’s hard to take anything away from this song, it’s something ONLY Sukshinder Shinda could pull off. Vocally, Shinda does not seem out of place alongside Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Musically, Shinda is at his best. Melodious from start to the end, with an array of instruments, it’s a really impressive song. Also credit to the lyricist Karamjit Kado, for those who don’t know also wrote ‘Rambo’ for Jazzy B, two totally different, but equally unique tracks.
Following on from the soothing Gum Suhm is Bhangra heavy “Yaaria Banayi Rakhian Yaaria”, a simple dhad intro brings the song in, which features Jazzy B. Lyrically you can see exactly what Shinda is aiming for here, this song will be played out in the wedding season, just imagine your drunk uncles on the dancefloor singing to this. Musically it’s been kept relatively simple, but the the attention of the song should be kept firmly on the lyrics. Some may find it empty, but the drop into the chorus is deadly.
“All around the World” is song number three and feature east coast rapper Don Revo. Shinda seems to switch up his choice of mc’s and rappers, previously using Takeover Ent, HMC, Kanwar to name a few. The music by Shinda is immaculate; the faint flute throughout makes a great addition. Lyrically is probably my only gripe, but then I just find it funny hearing Shinda trying to fit the words Blackpool and Wolverhampton into a Bhangra song! Shame the lyricist forgot to mention my hometown of Ilford for a destination to woo his heer! All jokes asides, this is one of my favourite songs from the album.
Fresh from producing his solo album, Shinda teams up with the superb Nachhatar Gill for “Mul Na Lagda”, if the Jazzy B track didn’t really fulfil your Bhangra needs then Mul Ni Lagda will. No disrespect to Shinda, but this is probably the only song were he sounds out of place. The vocals of Nachattar Gill are fierce! You’d expect the Jazzy B track to be one of the better of the two songs, but in all honesty, Mul Na lagda and Nachhatar Gill overshadows the jazzy b song. No one does ‘bhangra’ better than Shinda
Everything is slowed down for “Apni Bana Ley” which sees Shinda sing alongside Pakistani female vocalist Shazia Manzoor. It’s the only real slow number on the album. Shazia Manzoor really is an amazing vocalist, she hasn’t really had many songs in the UK scene, I’m sure everyone remembers Aaja sohinya with Bally Jagpal. Although I’m not really a big fan of sad songs, but as with most sad/slow songs you really have to let it grow on you.
Manjit Pappu is up next with “Parande Sat Rang Da”, and is one of the weaker efforts on the album, mainly due to the large repetition in production. The tumbi intro is instantly similar to ‘gaddi’ (Rambo) and Majajane (Living The Dream) which does somewhat detract from the song. Much like the two songs mentioned prior, this is also on a very much pop Bhangra tip. A quick rendediton of ‘laal chure waliye’ prolongs the song, but overall it doesn’t really live up to the imaginative production we have seen prior.
Fresh from taking over Bollywood, Labh Janjua features on “Nachde ‘o’ Mundeyo”, this song has fastly developed into of the most catchy songs of the year. With an infectious flute and a light dancefloor beat the vocals of Labh Janjua fits perfectly onto the music laced down by Shinda.
“Tu Hi Tu” is the final song with Sukshinder Shinda singing alongside the fantastic Amrinder Gill, who seems to be getting better and better every time I hear a new song from him. This song is very much on the mellow tip, think Dildarian by Amrinder Gill. The influence of the Spanish guitar lays down the template of the song, which is a pretty good way to end the album.
All in all it’s a very good album by Sukshinder Shinda. Your average Bhangra fan would probably find it a little disappointing due to the fact it only has two real Bhangra songs, but what people need to remember is Sukshinder Shinda is now a worldwide artist, simply making bog standard ‘bhangra’ songs is something he did very successfully in the 90’s. For Shinda to make music like he did would be a massive step back not only for him, but for the Bhangra industry. As anyone who has been at the top for song long Sukshinder Shinda will get criticized with anything he does, but Collaborations 2 goes to show just how far he is ahead of everyone else, in terms of being a musician and also someone who can switch up his production style 8 different times in one album, that feat alone is quite remarkable.
Collaborations 2 isn’t as hard hitting as the first instalment, nor does it contain songs that will hit you straight away. Much like a lot of what Shinda has done recently, it’s much more melodious, with a larger concentration on lyrics rather than a ‘sick beat innit’. It certainly does grow on you, and although it’s not straight up Bhangra (apart from two songs), it’s a more mature and developed sound from Sukshinder Shinda, something the Bhangra industry has been missing.
Sukshinder Shinda – Collaborations 2 – 7.5/10