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Rajasthani folk song gets a new twist

A city duo joins hands with a Middle Eastern a capella artiste and Australian musicians to give a Rajasthani folk song a new twist

Stills from the music video
Stills from the music video

The words, I'm so in love with you Habibi, set to an Arabic tune make for an uncanny yet melodious start to a revamped version of the popular Rajasthani folk song, Mhaari Re Mangeter. Recently, Mumbai-based music duo Maati Baani featuring Kartik Shah and Nirali Kartik, released their version of the peppy track. The new track is performed in collaboration with Middle Eastern a capella singer and producer Aala Wardi, and two Australian musicians, Linsey Pollak and Zaia Kendall. The music video which has a quirky '90s video game feel, was launched on Qyuki, a multi-platform media network across digital, live, TV and film, founded by AR Rahman, Samir Bangara and Shekhar Kapur.

"We have been following Aala's work for a long time. After we released our song, Lagan Laagi in February last year, he wrote to us saying he would be happy to collaborate. We were ecstatic and have been looking for an opportunity to work together since. We spent a month brainstorming. Alaa doesn't speak Hindi. To get him to pronounce Rajasthani words was tough but hilarious. We would send audio files to him on chat," says Shah.

"We didn't realise how funky our age-old folk songs can sound, till we started the process of working on them. It's a wedding song and we wanted to do a version of it during the wedding season. It's a fun, catchy, dancer number which also suits Aala's vibrant personality," he adds.

Pollak's TED Talk video, where he speaks about how to create instruments from a variety of objects has over six million views. "He is an inventor. We asked him if he would create instruments for this song and he came up with three — a carrot clarinet (which he can be seen chomping on at the end of the music video), a cylindrical test tube that creates a bass sound and one made with surgical gloves. Kendall has also used a tree trunk. All of them don't just make a sound, they make music," shares Kartik.

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