An overdose of Bollywood music, which has been hogging the limelight despite being repetitive, is posing a threat to independent artists and their works, feels balladeer Rabbi Shergill.
"Bollywood's monopoly has taken its toll on independent music. People are hearing less solo music and it has become real hard for independent composers to thrive," he rues.
He says other forms of music need to survive as well. "We want to celebrate uniqueness and not clones. Bollywood music has become so repetitive," he says.
According to him, independent singers and composers need to develop avenues to rival multiplexes. "Maybe, we can do more live shows as television channels are also not helping much in our cause," he says.
Rabbi, whose Bulla ki jana main kaun on Sufi poet Baba Bulle Shah four years ago went to become a superhit, has now come out with his second album "Avengi Ja Nahin" where he croons in Punjabi, Hindi and even English.
Avengi Ja Nahin has been produced largely in Milan by the Italian progressive rock maestro and producer Maurio Pagani, who has also arranged and conducted the strings.
In the album, released by YRF music, Rabbi engages more directly with social issues even as he grapples with the downside of romantic love. "It has a little echo of the past but still there is a new touch".
Avengi Ja Nahin is YRF Music's first non-film album. Besides his acoustic guitar, Rabbi also uses the accordion, the cello and the Hammond organ, besides the traditional Greek musical instrument bouzouki in the album where he also pays tribute to a Karachi girl in the track "Karachi valie".
The album also addresses Bilqis Rasool, victim of sectarian violence during the Gujarat riots, in the number Bilqis (Jinhe naaz hai).
Rabbi says it was sheer laziness that it took him so long to bring out his second album which he claims is triggered by random things. "I have my own way of doing things. Also I had this passion of shooting the album in Italy. These things took time."
According to Rabbi, whose fans include the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and VS Naipaul, semi-Sufi, semi-folksy kind of music with some Western arrangements interests him. "I am more interested in what lies beneath the pop-racy tunes."
For Rabbi, singing or composing for Bollywood means limiting yourself. "Film music has its limitations. You are confined within a certain limit. You can't go and try things beyond that. But my music has no limitations," he says.