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UMD Anokha

University of Maryland

Dheere Jalna/My Immortal - Single (2011)

2.0

Review By Catherine Lewis

August 12, 2013

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Anokha is a co-ed South Asian American a cappella group from the University of Maryland that continues the current trend of mashing up Hindi/Bollywood songs with American pop songs.

Unfortunately, the recording of Dheere Jalna/My Immortal is distracting, and the arrangement doesn't quite deliver. Thematically, these songs work beautifully: Dheere Jalna is a song from the Bollywood film Paheli, in which a ghost falls in love with a woman. The haunting My Immortal is a beautiful conversational response in the context of that story, but the two songs don't mesh musically. The arrangement just slams My Immortal into the end of Dheere Jalna, and there are no smooth transitions between any of the song changes in the A-B-A-B arrangement structure. It becomes more of a medley than a mash-up, as the track just changes from one song to the other without anything really linking them together musically.

There are some production choices here that make the song feel even more rudimentary. The percussion is awkward and rough, sounding more like something that was recorded in the 1990s rather than something more contemporary. The arrangement drags; I can't tell if it's the tempo or the syllables/notes, but there's just no emotion or urgency here from the backs or the soloists. A final issue with the song's energy is its length, at nearly five minutes long. It can be tempting for a group to include large passages of songs to better deliver the lyrical story, but it can make for a challenging listen, especially without movement in the song (either dynamics or nuances in the arrangement).

Anokha has pulled together two songs with a great deal of thought and consideration for their meaning and themes, but the group unfortunately missed the mark when it came to the delivery of these songs and the arrangement.

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