Haaru Haaru  (Kannada Rap Song) – Sandesh Manuel (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

We hear so much about World Music these days, a phrase so broad that it borders on meaningless, just a lazy way of labelling something with a more culturally specific name, be it Balkan folk, Afrobeat or groovesome Latin Salsa. To really qualify for the term surely you would have to be making music which fuses aspects of music from any number of different countries and cultures, genres and geographic locations. And if we use such a definition then Haaru Haaru is indeed world music…no capital letters required, music of the world, music blended from culture, country and creed, no boundaries, no labels…just music which reflects the ever shrinking world we live in, the sonic cross-pollination from people and places free to meet and mix across this global village of ours.

There is also something freeing about listening to a song in a language other than your own, it frees the listener up to appreciate things from a more holistic view point, one where the vocals take their place as an instrument and can be appreciated for more than just the direct communication of the lyrics.  The language in question is called called Kannada which is spoken in Karnataka, India and which sounds beguiling and exotic and even when the language barrier means that you don’t understand directly, you still feel t a positive vibe emanating from the vocals. Again Haaru Haaru provides this new window on music. It also combines the religious and the secular, a call to really celebrate your life, strive to be the best and a reminder that failure is all part of the journey to success. There is so much that is great about this song and I haven’t even got to the music itself yet. So….

Musically it’s a great song, a deft combination of the soft and emotive vocals drawn from classical eastern music and the urban rap of the more contemporary west, the perfect blend of orient meets occident. Throw in some staccato blasts of electronica, infectious beats, gentle folky acoustic breaks and a wonderful celebratory rap section reminding us that even those who have achieved greatness stumbled and fell many times before they reached their goals and it is hard to think what more you could fit in.

Haaru Haaru (meaning Fly Fly) is the perfect song for the world today. At a time when we seem to be building walls not bridges, when we seem to be breaking down into ever smaller, ever more isolated groups, here comes music which ignores barriers altogether, be they musical, religious, political or anything else. Here is a song which is about inspiration and celebration, which is about unification and love and which revels in the knowledge that the only way forward is to give each other the confidence to reach for the stars. Not only a great song but an awesome sentiment too.

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