Album review: Qadam Badha

The artist, who grew up in the Middle East, has masterfully channelled the works of Sufi poets into contemporary and qawwali-style renditions.

Qadam Badha (Step Forward) by the Middle East-raised Indian musician Hesham Abdul Wahab. Courtesy: Andante Records
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Qadam Badha

Hesham Abdul Wahab

(Andante Records)

Three stars

The Indian singer's debut is a marriage of his Hindustani classical background and a recently acquired knowledge of Arabian sounds. Under the tutelage of the British composer Sami Yusuf, Wahab channels the works of the Sufi poets Bulleh Shah and Amir Khusro into qawwali-style and modern renditions. The title track, which sings of unity, has been composed by Yusuf and opens with a serene tempo on keyboard by Wahab. Bulleya Ki Jaana and Aa Mil Yaar are woven around the sonorous tones of the santur and sitar. Dil Hai Tera and Zehal-E-Miskeen have Arabesque undertones. Wahab has also reworked the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's version of Mast Qalandar, to make it danceable. While his attempt to package traditional poetry is spot on, Wahab needs to improve his diction in Hindi and Punjabi.