New Delhi based singer-songwriter Pragnya Wakhlu‘s music is an inspired blend of blues, folk-fusion and jazz driven by personal reflections & causes she is passionate about. She won the Best Folk Fusion artist for her critically acclaimed Kashmiri folk-fusion album ‘Kahwa Speaks’ and the ‘Best Female Vocalist ‘and ‘Best Genre-Bending song at the VIMA music awards(Malaysia).
Her debut album Journey to the Sun was nominated at the GIMA awards for Best Music debut and Best Pop album. She has featured on VH1, MTV, Zee TV, ETV and Songdew TV for her work in music. Her latest single “Whale Song” is a collaborative effort with artists across three different continents, and that’s what we are reviewing here.
‘Whale Song’ is the second single (after ‘Fallin’) from Pragnya Wakhlu’s upcoming third studio album ‘Lessons in Love’. The song is India’s first indie collaborative song & music video featuring whale calls, real humpback whales in Tonga and collaborators from 3 different continents (Australia, North America and Asia). The collaborating artists include musicians Pragnya Wakhlu, Kunal Netrapal & Sonic Shori from India, Australian jazz guitarist Marcos Villalta, and Hawaii based Karim Iliya, National Geographic photo contributor, professional diver & whale swimming guide.
Real whale calls immediately remind us of Gojira’s blistering track “Flying Whales”. However, while that track is a relentless metallic assault, “Whale Song” is much more mellow and restrained in nature. Musically, “Whale Song” can be described as a moody, dark track featuring a signature guitar riff, whale call simulations and real whale calls that create a haunting, interesting soundscape for the listener.
Beyond the whale calls and the name, “Whale Song” talks about our perception of people. What we see and know of people is only what they show you on the surface. The whale serves as a metaphor for the feelings that lie under the surface. It’s only when you take a deep dive into knowing somebody that you really discover who they are and see all facets of their personality. “Whale Song” is about confronting uncomfortable emotions that lie under the surface, getting to terms with them, and using them as an opportunity to learn and grow.
“Whale Song” also offers a lot in terms of dynamics (watch out for Pragnya Wakhlu breaking into a rap at the three minute mark). Through all of this and the whale sounds, the song never loses its rhythmic integrity and offers some deliciously smooth grooves.
“Whale Song” is deeply meaningful music, the very essence of gentle euphoria, captured in that sublime moment when the water rising from a humpback whale’s blowhole catches a rainbow. It’s a song that is much better when experienced than described.
Verdict: Dark, melodic, and soothing.