Anushka Manchanda, aka NUKA is an artist-producer, singer-songwriter, composer, director and editor based out of Mumbai, India. NUKA’s work reflects her commitment to build a more sustainable planet. She believes in working towards a future that is brighter than the past and uses her art and activism as a medium to propagate her vision. NUKA has recently released her latest bilingual (English + Urdu) track “Kashmir” and that’s what we are reviewing here.
Anushka Manchanda uses her alias of NUKA to explore the intersection between nature and humanity. The track “Kashmir” is her attempt at capturing the spirit of Kashmir in just over six minutes. The bilingual track also features Parvaaz lead singer Khalid Ahamed and award winning Rabab player Sufiyan Malik.
“Kashmir” is more than just a tribute to Kashmir, it also talks about the connection between nature and humanity in the region. According to NUKA, “Kashmir feels like the spirit of mother nature, the Earth in her most heartbreakingly beautiful form. I cannot describe in words how I felt in her lap, and it took me years to create a piece that could express my love for the valley.
I am an outsider, yet I wept when I was leaving Kashmir. To me, it felt like home.” The track has endured a five year long creative process. It started when NUKA visited her friend’s wedding in 2015 and continued when she returned to Kashmir in the following two years to shoot during Chillai-Kalan, the 40 day long harshest period of winter in the region.
Featuring NUKA and Khalid Ahamed’s haunting vocals sprinkled with the ambient textures suggested by the title, “Kashmir” is exploratory, texturally inventive and rich in wonder. The track showcases some great composition and astonishingly clear sound design. All of which you can enjoy with the help of the Dolby Atmos sound. It will allow listeners to discover hidden details and subtleties in the sound with unparalleled clarity, so they can experience the instruments and vocals in isolation with more space and incredible fidelity. With all that clarity, you can truly hear the musical dreamscape woven by NUKA breathe like a living being.
There’s a compelling depth and freshness that makes “Kashmir” work, regardless of whether you care for its purpose. Drop the preconceptions, dive deep and prepare to be moved.
Verdict: As serene as a shikara ride on the Dal Lake.