Album Review

Zeshan B – “Vetted” – [Minty Fresh]

aarbor   4/27/2022   Blues, CD

First generation Indian-American Zeshan Bagewadi grew up in Chicago singing as a cantor in his mosque, then in high school joined the gospel choir – which changed his life. Even though he trained as an opera singer, he’s left Western classical music behind in favor of Memphis R&B, Chicago blues and there’s even a jolt of raw South Asian soul. He sings and plays the harmonium, lives in the South Bronx, made his TV debut on the Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert. Singers he idolizes are: Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and Donny Hathaway. On this, his debut album, you’ll find cover versions and originals dealing with frequent soul-music concerns such as lust, alienation and resistance. George Perkins’ response to Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral was the song “Cryin’ in the Streets”; Zeshan’s version speaks to the era of #BlackLivesMatter Vetted also includes “Meri Jaan” (My Baby), a sexy original sung in Urdu, and “Ki Jana” (Who Knows), a 200-year-old Sufi poem in Punjabi. Horns and strings also accommodate a droning tanbur and harmonium in Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City,” which Zeshan opens with an improvisatory Indian-classical alap. He says “India and Pakistan have their own type of soul music that’s not as commercialized as Bollywood. It’s down-home, raw, and visceral, especially in Pakistan, where most of the population lives in abject poverty. People sing about unrequited love, urban despair, and oppression – just like here. It’s all about that feel, that groove, bro. It comes from a deep place. I’m into all music that serves a greater purpose, whatever that may be.” AArbor

you heard it 24 times on kfjc! most recently:
  • 3 days ago, Zero Gravity played Ki Jana?
  • 4 days ago, Carson Street played I'm at the Breaking Point
  • 7 days ago, Ann Arbor played Ain't No Love In The Heart of The City
  • 12 days ago, Sam Yorko played Cryin' In The Streets
  • 17 days ago, Sir Cumference played Ki Jana?
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