Sanjeeta’s ‘Red’ and Bawari Basanti’s ‘Rahiman Dhaga’, A Tale Of Experimentation And Reclamation

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It is fairly easy for musicians to experiment with a new sound on their debut releases while established ones usually stick to one that has already been accepted by fans. Sanjeeta Bhattacharya and Mahima Dayal aka Bawari Basanti, who are both singer-songwriters based in Delhi, have in the past, come to be known for their own particular brand of music. Both their latest singles are an aberration from their comfort zones. While the former experiments with hip-hop on new single “Red”, the latter has gone with a left-field electro hip-hop sound on “Rahiman Dhaga”.

“Red” by Sanjeeta is a home-grown, remotely produced, international collaboration with musicians based in three countries- Madagascar, U.S.A and India. The track features Malagasy singer-songwriter, Niu Raza and Boston based guitarist and producer Aman Sagar, who are Sanjeeta’s fellow Berklee College of Music graduates. It also features Delhi based producer Pranay Parti who plays keys for Pakshee. “This would be my first time experimenting with neo-soul and hip-hop!” exclaims Sanjeeta. The song has lyrics in both English and Malagasy which address how it’s easy to lose perspective of what really matters in pursuit of conventional success and when we lose our roots in this pursuit, music plants us firmly to the ground and helps us “reclaim our own red”. While all of Sanjeet’a earlier works were Jazz/Rnb focussed creations, sweet and sublime, we see Sanjeeta in a fierce mood with this track. “Red” is an interesting direction that she’s taken and it’ll be great to see what direction Sanjeeta progresses towards next.

Bawari Basanti’s “Rahiman Dhaga” is a slow-burning electro hip-hop production. Produced by Hyderabad’s DJ Mosh, the track uses Bawari’s vocals as another tool in the soundscape rather than a spotlight on the vocals as we’re used with all of Bawari’s previous works. The song is a play on the age old causality dilemma; relationships once broken, can they ever be mended? A collage of dohas by Mirabai and Rahimwhere their words speak of the non-performance of relationships. “I use Mirabai’s words and her life as an example to sing about how our society still misunderstands and misrepresents women who decide to take a stand on their relationship choices.” says Mahima. With “Rahiman Dhaga”, Bawari Basanti lets her vocals take a backstage but retains all the essentials we associate with her music. Completely left-field from Mahima’s music until now, it depends on how her audience interacts with the track if Mahima goes forward experimental production in the future or not.

Both the tracks are available on major streaming platforms.