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World Music CD Reviews South Asia


By Robert Kaye
Published June 27, 2006

Bhood The Album Vol. 1

It was bound to happen, given today’s cross-pollination of cultures in urban melting pots like London, Paris, New York, Bombay, etc. Producer Ashlene Nand sought to raise the profile of Asians in hip-hop, while concurrently appealing to African-Americans, Latinos and other North Americans. Aptly described as Bollyhood, this urban-infused music borrows from West and East, hip-hop, Bollywood and traditional Indian music. Some tracks are more successfully heterogeneous than others, such as “Just Move,” by vocalist Christión and written/performed by Bikram Singh, which almost seamlessly incorporates Indian influences with today’s hip-hop/rap.  In that regard, it’s somewhat akin to the heady explorations of the Beatles when they sought to meld Indian sounds with British pop. Similarly, the more compelling tracks on Bhood The Album are ones such as “Ishq Naag” (“Love Bites”), by RDB featuring Elephant Man, where there’s a more affirmative blend of influences, versus just throwing a rap track atop a modern Bollywood dance rhythm. Another immediately appealing song is “Laila” by Shahin Badar, which seems like Asian techno. This album isn’t staggeringly innovative, but overall, it’s a fun ride.