MUMBAI: Till a few years ago, one could see men and women dressed up for the Navratri, swirling their ghaghras and twirling their dandiyas, dancing around a cassette player blaring out prerecorded music.
But today, even in the outskirts of Gujarat, youngsters fancy dancing to the beats of a live band rather than to a CD. Does this mean that the age of Garba cassettes and CDs is over?
Raj Audio, a label that has released only three albums this year, would tend to agree. The company's latest offering is Jalawadi Jabli (Vol 1 and Vol 2) recorded by a stage artiste, Mridula Desai. Till last year, the label would release around 25 albums before each Navratri. The label that sticks to only releasing cultural and folk songs in a world dominated by Bollywood, is in a dilemma. "There's 20-40 per cent dip in turover, caused mainly by an increase in production costs. Piracy is a major issue â€“ all the albums are easily available with hawkers at the local railway stations. Besides that, small retailers have their own problems too," says a source from Raj Audio.
The big names routinely churn out Navratri fare too, as they have done this year too. But that's merely a ripple in their calendar of events. This year, T-Series has brought out five albums - Dholna, a pacy album with old Gujarati traditional songs interspersed with the new, sung by Archana Dave, 41 Non-stop Gujarati Dhamal, Kesariya Dhola are musical and complete with a racy video, Dandiya Masti 2008 encompasses T Series superhits including Karzzzz, remixed with Dandiya music and a devotional Gujarati album Jagone Albeli Ammba with Prabhatiya songs set to the beat of the ektara, a tribute to Ammba Mata.
Times Music too has released a Non-stop Dandiya Mix featuring Dandiya Remixes of songs from its hits 'Singh is Kinng', 'Welcome' and chart-busters like Pardesia, Paree Hun Mein, Mere Angne Mein, Pallo Latke, Disco Station, Odhni Odhae and many more. Not to be outdone, radio station My FM that has a big presence in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, has brought out a special CD that includes the â€?Varnan'of nine incarnations of Maa Durga, the Godess of Power, alongwith the Shlokas chanted in sonorous Sanskrit pronunciation. This is interwoven with Maa Durga Bhajans. The CD has been developed by MY FM in