Hesham Abdul Wahab – Qadam Badha

Hesham Abdul Wahab – Qadam Badha

When you first hear Kerala-based singer Hesham Abdul Wahab’s dreamy voice on his debut album Qadam Badha, you know he’s got this cinematic streak attached to every note. The Ernakulam singer, who has previously contributed as a playback singer to films such as Traffic and Urumi, aims for something similar to A. R. Rahman and his own favourite, UK-based artist Sami Yusuf, with a mixture of south Indian melodies, electronic music and a strong vocal-led base for each of the 11 tracks. While he’s meditative on ‘Aa Mil Yaar’ to open things, Qadam Badha is a steady process of opening up for Wahab. One of his most interesting fusions comes by the end of the album, with the track ‘Dil Hai Tera’, not so punchy, but a mix of vocals in English, Hindi and a bit of his native tongue, Malayalam and Carnatic elements. In between, Wahab tries his hand at a classic ‘Mast Qalandar’, with help from an acoustic guitar and Sufi beats, while he goes all out on the multi-lingual title track ‘Qadam Badha’, a soothing mix of light pianos, guitars and percussion. This is the typical but not-so-tired indie pop that we don’t see too often any longer. He pens an ode to his mother in ‘Meri Ma’, arranging an enchanting mix of santoor and percussions. There’s more traditional qawwali with ‘Ghongat’ but just when it seems to set into a formula, Wahab electrifies with the melodramatic Urdu number ‘Zehal-E-Miskeen’ and quickly goes to the Sufi track ‘Bulleya Ki Jaana’. Wahabturns to devotion in his tone on ‘Al Malik’, mixing English and Urdu.

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