Archive for the ‘Music’ category

Love Is In The Air

March 2, 2008

This song has been haunting me for the past two days. I suddenly got in the mood to listen to this song and I have been hooked to it for more than 24 hours now. I like the Tamil original more than the Hindi version, even though I cannot understand a word in that song. I think the original has so much more romance, passion, sex appeal, emotions, yearning and love in it.

Bombay Jayashree has been one of my favorites for a long time now. Here is a short story from my history books:

It was almost 11PM, and five of us were sitting in our family room after finishing dinner – Me, my mother, father, brother and Bombay Jayshree. She had finished a Carnatic clasical vocal concert that evening and was relaxing after a tasty dinner. We were generally talking about different topics and she was telling us how her best friend, who happened to be a Kannadiga, would correct her Kannada pronunciations when she sang any Kannada songs. We were talking about different music styles and within no time she was sitting on the carpet with a harmonium. She went on to sing ghazals for two hours and I was mesmerized. I couldn’t believe that this was the same person who had given a carnatic classical concert just a few hours earlier. Pure classical music in a silk saree to melodious ghazals in a pink salwaar kameez – her voice had the same beauty. I am always impresses by such multi-faceted singers.

One other note about Bombay Jayashree. She called us regularly and always wanted us to go to her concerts whenever she came to the city. She kept in touch and my parents attended her concerts whenever they could. It’s been quite some time now. She has moved along and is a big name in Indian music today. And, I have moved along too, with not so big name in the computer industry.

But, that night is still etched in my memory. One small note….the first time I met her, I really didn’t know how to address her (basically, I was a dumbass) and called her ‘aunty’. She was gracious enough to smile and polite enough to correct me – and then I started calling her ‘akka’ 🙂

Anyway, back to the song. Listen and enjoy. And, if any good human being who visits this blog knows Tamil, please translate. Thank you!!!

Music And Moods

January 27, 2008

My wife and I had a romantic dinner. We came back home and started listening to melodious hits from ‘Gupt’, ‘Dil Se’, ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam’, ‘Kabhi Haa Kabhi Naa’, ‘Rampur Ki Lakshman’, ‘1947:Earth’, ‘Suraj Ka Sathwa Ghoda’, ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’, ‘Aa Gale Lag Ja’ and others.

Needless to say, it was a beautiful evening and I enjoyed every minute of it.  Music is so powerful. It can create the perfect atmosphere.

My wife is sleeping now. And being a night owl, I continued listening to more songs. I clicked on “Tera Mujhse Hai Pehle” from ‘Aa Gale Lag Ja’. That suddenly turned the wheel in a different direction. After that I went onto listen to “Tumse Milke” from ‘Pyaar Jhukta Nahin’. And then, yes you guessed it right, “Nee Meetida Nenapellavu” from ‘Nee Bareda Kadambari’. And, now I am back listening to “Tera Mujhse Hai Pehle”.

Music is so powerful. I always knew that. But being super romantic to downright hurt within a few hours is not something which I experience everyday. I have realized that writing is the best medicine I can ever get. Even if it is the form of a dumb post!

A Frog In A Well

December 26, 2007

One more death in the family. I am better off not dedicating a post for that. It’s become a norm this year. As I said earlier, I am really looking for a brighter, better New Year!!!

Now onto a completely different topic.

I can’t recall how many times I have had such discussions. I had one more yesterday, with yet another self-proclaimed Carnatic classical ‘purist’.  The difference this time is that I had 3 girls, including my wife support my stance this time. The discussion started with ‘M’ and his bride hunting stories and soon transformed into a debate on music, it’s core essentials and it’s role on mankind.

Now that I have mentioned that ‘M’ is a Carnatic classical ‘purist’, I need not specifically mention that he thinks that Indian film music is ‘crap’ (in his own words). Additionally his argument was based on a blanket statement of “If you are passionate about Carnatic music, you will not appreciate any other music”. Yeah right, talk of narrow mindedness. Unfortunately, from what I have seen (and I have seen quite some), there is no dearth for such attitudes among Carnatic classical musicians.

For the sake of argument, it was simple for me to combine film music, bhAvageethe, ghazals, vachanas, dEvaranAmas etc. under one ‘light music’ bracket. I tried explaining how people can easily listen to varied kinds of music and appreciate them both. I took my own example and said how I can enjoy both the harshness in ‘System of The Down’ and the melody of Latha Mangeshkar just fine. Then, I brought my mother’s example. Initially she used to give pure classical concerts, then she moved onto give both classical and light music concerts and finally she stuck with light music. Even today, she can enjoy both classical and light music equally well. ‘M’ knows about my mother from different perspectives (infact, ‘M’s mother once told me that she is a very big fan of my mother). And, in this case, ‘M’ came up with an argument that people like my mother are exceptions.

I tried explaining to him that there are tons of such people all over the place. A.V.Krishnammachar was such a passionate carnatic classical violinist, and at the same time he gave music to thousands of Kannada bhAvageethe’s under the name ‘Padmacharan’. He undoubtedly laid the foundation for the growth of Kannada bhAvageethe. My wife gave example of Vasanth Kanakapur, who is an excellent Hindustani classical harmonium player and at the same time a brilliant bhAvageethe composer. There are tons more. Balamurali Krishna and Bhimsen Joshi have sung light music. Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia have given music to commercial films. ‘M’ came up with a “they are an exception” for each and every one of them. Personally, I know several listeners including me, who appreciate multiple forms of music.

That was not the end of argument. Our dude tried giving rubbish analogies. Apparently, film music is like Toyota and Carnatic classical music is like a Ferrari. Not many people drive Ferrari because most people are not rich and similarly not many people are interested in listening to Carnatic classical music because theya re ‘intellectually challenged’. Do you see how pathetic the analogy is?

‘M’s problem with film music was that in some songs they use niShedha swaras without any regard to the ‘rules’. Sure, but then whose rules are we talking about? Music as a genre? The only rules in a film song is that it shouldn’t violate the basic music rules of pitch and rhythm and the music and lyrics should touch the heart and mind of the listener. It’s not that complicated, is it? ‘M’ argued that without rules you can never improve upon an existing infrastructure. I immediately saw why ‘M’ couldn’t appreciate film music. It’s because he was completely missing the point. He goes behind theory. He doesn’t understand that listening to film songs is not same as listening to Carnatic classical music. He certainly cannot appreciate film music. The reason was quite obvious to me by that time.

But, the claim that Carnatic classical musicians are ‘intellectually superior’ bugged me and the girls big time. Finally, I went tangentially and came up with the what is more important to humankind? Why we invented music? arguments. The fact that Latha Mangeshkar’s voice has touched millions more people than any individual Carnatic classical musician, she probably is so much more ‘greater’ and her life is so much more ‘complete’. ‘M’ didn’t have an answer to it and reluctantly agreed. Finally, I did mention to him that my argument was as stupid as his ‘intellectually superior Carnatic classical musicians’ argument and told him that I took this line just to counter him. I certainly won’t ever say that Latha Mangeshkar is ‘greater’ than Balamurali Krishna. It is so foolish to argue on those lines.

From what I have seen, ‘M’ is not an exception. It saddens me to see that several hardcore Carnatic classical musicians have a similar attitude.  Bask in the glory of your art form. At the same time, respect other human beings and other art forms. Only then is there any meaning to your loyalty. If not, your allegiance is the biggest farce the World has seen!!!

Sound Of Music

September 5, 2007

It was quite boring to watch Djokovic drub Del Potro and Jankovic overcome Bammer in the US Open. I was changing channels fast and instantly stopped when I heard the ever romantic “I am sixteen, Going on seventeen”. We had half an hour before our friends were going to join us. I knew the time was so much more well spent listening to

“Raindrops on roses and Whiskers on kittens, Bright copper kettles and Warm woolen mittens”.

I certainly have a different set of “My favorite things”. But, the song was good enough to suddenly make a gloomy evening, a very bright one.

And lucky me, just before my friends came in (and that’s when I had to switch off the TV), I got to listen (and sing along) Do-Re-Mi. Now, isn’t that a classic?

Do – a deer, a female deer

Re – a drop of golden sun

Mi – a name, I call myself

Fa – a long long way to run

So – a needle pulling thread

La – a note to follow So

Ti – a drink with jam and bread

and that will bring us back to Do!!!

I hope I have the lyrics right (wasn’t too keen to google). If you haven’t listened to the songs of ‘Sound of Music’, you have to. If not, you are missing out on something. So, go grab the CD or the movie. Until then, Que Sara Sara (oh well, some other time!).

He Wins, She Wins, Who Wins?

July 26, 2007

Sonu Nigam, I Am Sorry, but Chitra can console you. 

Let me give you an example of how the movie awards are given. When my mother was in the committee for film awards a few years back, she awarded the ‘Best Female Playback Singer’ award to Chitra for the movie ‘Chandramukhi Pranasakhi’. Since my mother was the expert in music, pretty much everyone agreed. But, there was one section of the committee which suggested that the award be given to Chitra, but for a different song from a different movie. Even that was a melodious song and rest of the people in the committee started agreeing to that suggestion. My mother’s main point was that the award HAD to go to Chitra because she had sung very well. They checked and saw that the other song was also sung by Chitra. Since a few people in the committee had reservations about the original song, plus the fact that the second song was also sung by Chitra, the award was announced for the second song.

Guess what??? The producers of the other movie had intentionally given the name of the singer as Chitra for the second song. It was infact sung by Latha Hamsalekha. After the awards were announced, the producers came out and said that the song was sung by Latha Hamsalekha and not Chitra, and thus the award was finally given to Latha Hamsalekha. Obviously, they had ‘booked’ a few people in the awards committe. That also explained why nobody had answers when my mother asked them as to why Chitra’s voice was different in the second song. My mother realized that being naive and straightforward are not good traits to be in a politically tainted awards committee.

ಅನಿಸುತಿದೆ ಯಾಕೋ ಇಂದು

July 25, 2007

Karnataka state awards for movies have been announced. What caught my eye was the award for the male playback singer.

Hemanth has won the “Best Male Playback Singer” award for the movie ‘Kallarali Hoovagi’. Sure, he has done a good job. He has certainly sang well.

But, wait a second. Didn’t the saints in the award committee not listen to, what’s that song again? Yes, ‘Anisutide’!!!!!!!!!!

‘Anisutide’ is so full of life and the depth of singing is almost unmatchable, at least in the recent times. Sonu Nigam has done an amazing job, period.

I am certainly qualified enough to judge music. And, I do agree that different people have different tastes. But brother, this is not about taste. This is too simple an issue. Sonu Nigam’s rendering of ‘Anisutide’ gives you an out of the World experience. It’s pure magic. 

Did the saints somehow decide that it is more appropriate to ‘encourage’ a Kannadiga than a very well known ‘outsider’? Could that have been the reason why Hemanth was chosen over Sonu Nigam?

Sonu Nigam did not lose. Neither did the fans, nor the saints. ‘Best Male Playback Singer’ award lost out.

‘Anisutide’ – here’s my two drops, added to a million more!!!

Minchu – Atrocious Song

February 20, 2007

Now that I am in India, I realized that as an ardent Kannadiga, my job is to worship TN Seetharam with the entire state. So, it started at 9PM on monday when his new serial ‘Minchu’ kicked off. It is too early to comment on the serial itself, but I sure will revisit the topic. What caught my ears though was the horrible opening music. Ashwath’s music is so bad and the singing is so below par that I am tempted to mute it. It absolutely has no emotions, is hideous and is excruciatingly painful to listen to. As always, just trust me.