Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

LA you beauty

When music makes your heart soar, explore and love and live life to the fullest – that’s the soundtrack of La La Land in all its glory. Listen and love.Take a bow Justin Hurwitz.

Men’s rooms and celebrities

I am convinced. The best way to catch a celebrity who happens to be in the same building as you is to wait near the washrooms and then catch a selfie/groupie or whatever they call the pictures taken with varied angles. Now, post the Pankaj Udhas concert at the KSCA grounds, a few friends and I were waiting near the boundary for Pankaj Udhas to come out of the green room. We wanted a photo with him after the wonderful concert that evening. He went past us with the coterie of KSCA office bearers and a ring of guards and made his way to the exclusive lounge. The doors were shut with guards posted outside and we followers were left ruing a chance to get at least an autograph from him.

Two minutes later, as we got ready to move back home, we see Pankaj Udhas slip out and make his way to the men’s room. OK, this was our chance. We waited a few metres away from the men’s room and after a protracted period he came out and we immediately waylaid him. Well, waylaid is a bit harsh, we actually went up to him and told him how big a fan we were and our families were of him. He gently and patiently spoke and listened to us and then readily posed for a photograph with all of us. And we got a selfie too. He was more than happy to have us around him. At least that’s what I gathered from his body language.

Pankaj Udhas was quite a gentleman and took the time to pose for these snaps that I have posted here. And yes, we got photo-bombed by the security guard.

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Pankaj Udhas live

I am writing this post in real-time, in between a break at the KSCA cricket grounds in Bangalore where singer extraordinaire Pankaj Udhas is rendering some of the most beautiful ghazals from his collection. Known for his lyrical ‘nasha’, Pankaj Udhas has been a ghazal favourite and I jumped at the opportunity to attend a “by invitation only” show that rekindled some of the most unforgettable tunes of the ’80s and ’90s.

Pankaj Udhas sounds just as he does on tape. The smooth as whisky voice, the clear lyrical diction and the beautiful Karnataka Cricket Association setting makes it a moment of bliss. Forget the crowds around the food and bar counters and we have the stars shining down bright in the cool evening breeze.

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Nazia Hassan, Kimonos and Alice in Wonderland

This was a tune lost in time. An extremely hummable song, I remembered the chorus and lines “Dum Dum baby” as I heard it then. It was 1988-89 and I heard this light disco song playing in my uncles car on the TDK tapes. Never thought about it till the tune just popped up in my head a few days back. Can’t pinpoint what triggered this, but it set me searching for a tune that I had absolutely no idea of.

Searching online for South Asian female singers from the ’80s I came across Nazia Hassan (of Aap Jaisa Koi fame) and typed in ‘Dum Dum baby Nazia’ on Google. And there I find her video called “Dum Dum Dee Dee” from her album ‘Young Tarang‘.

An amazingly smooth and clear voice bordering on the sensuous, light lyrics and an Alice in Wonderland vs Japanese Geishas and Samurai’s makes it a nonsensical marvel of a video that lends to the relaxed feel of the disco ’80s. And Nazia Hassan’s presence makes it an extremely watchable video.

Playing in the minor

I have always enjoyed playing with the minor chords ‘Am, Dm, Cm, Bm’. Maybe it’s because of the flexibility that these chords exude in terms of stretching the fingers thus giving a sense of accomplishment when you hear the first notes on the guitar. While a lot of my early work surrounded oldies from Cliff Richard, The Beatles and even Shakin Stevens, I decided to try my hand at songs new and trending – Sam Smith, a case in point.

I like Sam Smith’s vocal range, it’s classy, smooth, emotive and is ‘different’. “I’m not the only one” really struck me as a beautiful ballad and I reached out for my guitar to try out the song with a slow rhythm that, though not exact, did bring out the songs vibe. The chords were extremely simple – F, A, Dm, A# and C. All I needed was the right vocalist. Well forget the falsetto, I tried my hand at singing (something I was good at in my school days before my voice broke – and believe me I did win prizes in singing). And it was good enough with the normal vocal range to strum my guitar and get the tune in place. Maybe I will record this stuff someday and make a mix tape out of it. It’s good to be vain and hear yourself belt out some good hits from time to time.

Discovering Tom Rosenthal through Morse Code

Inspector Endeavour Morse is an unlikely promoter for singer Tom Rosenthal. It all began with a trailer on ITV that showcased Endeavour, the new series on the Inspector Morse books by Colin Dexter. I have read a couple of books from the Inspector Morse series and while interesting they didn’t captivate me the way Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle or G.K. Chesterton did. However the series, Inspector Morse, that ran in the late ’80s and throughout the ’90s was driven by good solid British acting and a tight storyline that was suspenseful and dramatic. Endeavour-Tom-Rosenthal

Endeavour brought back memories of the old series and with its ’60s setting it looks real mean and dark. There is accuracy to detail down to the ’60s stockings, from what I saw on the trailer. It features Inspector Morse in his younger days as he works himself up the Carshall-Newton PD ladder. I have only seen the trailer but it holds a lot of promise and interestingly came with a haunting soundtrack that led me to Tom Rosenthal.

A bit of Googling and I come across this body of work that is beautiful in a folksy kind of way. While I couldnt find the exact trailer that held this song, I came across the direct works of Tom Rosenthal and information on this unique singer who prefers playing it low. His simple ballads are rendered with minimal instruments and the piano work on “It’s OK” is goosebump -worthy. The earthiness of these ballads belie the dreamy feeling that sweeps over. If there was a case to crack, the mystery of Tom Rosenthal’s low profile would surely be it. And one more thing, he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Come on!

 

Kabira – Rhythm and notes

Kabira is an extremely guitar friendly song and the rhythm and riffs really reach out and make me want to strum my guitar. For some reason, this song takes me back to the notation days where I used to write music as a student of the legendary Bennet Pinto – musician extraordinairre.

My first composition was writing musical notes for Edelweiss (The Sound of Music). The notations stumped me and I got it all wrong the first time. And then I remember sitting late and picking out the chords and strings to get the right musical balance and then churning out the complete song on note.

Kabira is beautiful, haunting and the chords are simple – D, A and B-minor with F and G sprinkled in between. Rekha Bharadwaj and Tochi Raina bring in a soothing lilt that captures the essence of Sufiism in all its spirituality and awakening. I need my guitar right now, cause every time I listen to this song it makes me pluck the strings mid air.