Tag Archives: Music

Saying Hello

In case you haven’t realised (with the new blog name and the updated “About me” page), I’ve decided to dedicate time to my blog thanks to the Blogging101 course.

The course is not designed to make me a kick-ass blogger overnight. Or even over a month. It needs us fellow students to commit to the basic principles of maintaining a blog (or for that matter even your facebook profile) – the idea that the blog is essential a way for you to express your ideas and connect with people. Repeat – connect with people.

As part of our assignment to reach out to fellow bloggers and follow topics of interest, I actually realised (or re-realised) topics that I’ve always been passionate about – humour, books and music. I realised that almost every blog that I liked or followed had one among these 3 themes very strongly (or at least that their authors appeared to be passionate about one of these 3 themes).

So here I present a blogroll of the recent blogs I’ve just started following:

  • Anand’s Caricatures and Parodies: A fellow blogger101er, Anand has a quirky sense of humour and (I think) a stready hand.
  • Words that aren’t: The Grammar Nazi in me is always lurking around, editing incorrectly worded emails and papers. A blog like this kind of puts me in my place.
  • The Blurred Line: I stumbled upon this one reading up a sugar-free challenge (quiche vs cup cake – I actually would choose the quiche) and realised that this advertiser wrote in a style of humour that I liked. furrynuff said.
  • Girl on the Contrary: I LOVED the style on her site (the theme, the colours, everything!) and was delighted to see that her content was even better. “Here is a Thought on a Friday” – pure genius.
  • Scottish Bookwork in Quebec: Following a book series led me to this blog (actually more than one series led me to this blog; so we have common reading tastes for sure). I’ll look to more reading ideas from this Scot for sure.

These bloggers (and many more on The Commons) give me more inspiration to put pen to paper and write more. And preferably about topics I’m passionate about – so other people will be able to connect with my blog as much I do with these blogs.


Weekly Blogging Initiative

I’ve been promising myself for a while now that I should get myself into a routine to blog at least once a week. But then my schedule keeps wreaking havoc on my plans, my access to an open internet connection keeps getting more limited and my will to push the limits just keeps dropping.
So after much thought, I have once again downloaded WordPress’s BB app to force myself to look into the face of my now-sorry blog and its dwindling number of posts. And to fix it.

This week I choose a fairly mundane topic – the music on my fone. Since I spend a good part of my day travelling (as do most ppl in Mumbai) I tend to stock up on quite a bit of music to make my journey entertaining (for a while I also had a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory or HIMYM on my fone as well… But I discovered that Sheldon doesn’t sound as hilarious and Barney doesn’t seem as awesome against the voices of hoardes of women yelling stuff in Marathi all around ur earfones). I also have to keep updating the playlist ever so often – apparently business phones aren’t as “busy” if u install a simple radio application; but Facebook and Twitter and Games are “busy” enough to make the applist.

Back to the topic. Music. One of the many songs currently on my fone is an original from a Star Music series called “The Dewarists” – Minds Without Fear.
A little on the series to give u a background on its songs. The series is basically an opportunity for musicians to collaborate and make awesome music. In most cases, the musicians are from completely different walks of life (like a classical-trained singer with a straight-up rock band), so it takes u by quite a bit of surprise wen they find so much common ground on which to base their music. The episodes, which run a good 40 minutes each on youtube, are not only about the final composition, but also about the journey the musicians take to get there. The first season of the season wrapped up just a while back – check it out on youtube or through http://thedewarists.com/.

Minds Without Fear, composed on the Pilot episode, is truly an “East meets West” venture with Vishal-Shekhar teaming up with Imogen Heap for a song. Vishal-Shekhar, if you don’t already know (and if you don’t you probably should quit on the rest of the post), are composers with good influence of rock and classical Indian music blending into AWESOME Bollywood. Imogen Heap composed for Frou Frou, a band considerably less mainstream, and seems to be less into straight-up rock or funk and more into experimental music.
The Pilot episode unfurls somewhere near Jaipur – first with the 2 artists putting their heads together to sketch an outline of a song and then hitting the streets to improvise on it. I especially loved the bit of the episode where Imogen and Vishal head into a local music store and try out a heap of instruments to incorporate into the song. (It reminds me vaguely of Business School – where I picked up stuff from different ppl without knowing what the final document was going to look like; the bits and pieces sound a little odd standalone, but in the end they create a decent assignment). The whole episode revolves around both these extremely talented musicians understanding each others music and composing something both would be proud of – but something neither could have really come up with on their own.
The final result is an awesome breathtaking piece that reminds me strongly of Imogen’s original wacky style, but with a hint of charm that Vishal-Shekhar’s music brings with it. Shot in the streets, it looks like a song that embodies its title completely – as if ppl were actually breaking free. Watch out for the section where the kids chip in along with Vishal and Imogen (yes, I join in every time I hear that part of the track). Just the beat, the rhythm and the feel of the music keep you engaged through the length of the track – it doesn’t rely on a catchy tune or hilarious lyrics. Its just good music.

And its stuff like this that keeps me sane while travelling insane distances everyday. Interesting artists. A decent idea. Good music.

Until next week.
Happy Musicing.

– Uma
Check out the episode on youtube via http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvTwd4mTwQs

P.S. This post actually got wrote over TWO weeks. That’s how lazy my WEEKLY blogging initiative is.

The Magic of Music

I’m a huge music fan. I listen to all kind of stuff – jazz, blues, reggae, rock, classical, regional… And I rarely judge a song or its genre for tht matter. Yet… I know after a few notes or the first riff that I absolutely LUV a song.
Anyhow. This post isn’t about my musical taste. Its about musical miracles.

As I write this, I’m in a relatively crowd-free local train (its about 9 15 pm – its not such a rarity at this time of the day) populated by college students, overworked professionals, long distance travellers and first time train travellers.
A 7 year old picks up her mum’s cellphone and jumps to the music gallery (I know a few 30-somethings who find it difficult to navigate a cellphone – how the 7 year old was so dextrous at it is both a representation of the interests of the new generation and the lack of it in ours). Almost seconds later the now-familiar notes of Kolaveri blare through the speakers. And I watch as a compartment full of busy people take their eyes and ears off their books and phones and music players and turn around to get a good look at the kid (and the source of the song).

The little girl hits almost every note of the oddly noteless song correctly – and she adds some of her flourishes to it as well.

Not onli is she singing along to Dhanush’s hilarious rendition – she’s got an awesome jig to go with it as well. Its a kinda headbang- cum- rock appreciative jig – one hand in the air and head pulsing.

And as she reaches the all-too-hilarious “cow cow” lines, the lyrics skip her.
And half a compartment of college students and office goers (yes, I’m included in the crowd) prompted her – each in their own tune and with their own style to the song.

She completed her song – obviously aware that she was now the centre of entertainment of quite a few people and quietly sat back down quite proud of herself, her mum beaming at her.

As she sang the last few lines – I saw something thats quite rare in local trains even that late in the evening.
I saw people relaxed; entertained; free of the stress that the day had thrown on them.
I saw people join in with the antics of a little kid and enjoy a song – if onli for a few minutes.
I saw music and dance bring together a bunch of exhausted people and – even if only for a few moments – unite them in some joy.
I’m not sure if it was the hilarious song that lightened the mood or the sight of a little kid so obviously engrossed in it – but it was a 5 minute experience that made my day.
And I wish such moments occurred more often – I like a smile every once in a while.

The post was obviously written in a train late in the evening. Enjoy it in present tense. Too bad I dint think of clicking a picture or recording a video – perhaps next time.
Merry Christmas!

10 songs I was busy listening to this week

I spent a large part of the last week listening to a lot of music, courtesy my 3 hour journey time in Mumbai’s local trains. While some of it was stuff that I had heard for a long time and was pre-loaded on my phone, there were some new additions courtesy the radio. I spent a lot of time talking to my friends and posting status updates on em, so a friend suggested I may as well blog about em. So here’s a list of 10 songs that I got addicted to last week, and that a lot of my friends agree are definitely worth a hear. They’re in no particular order, other than that in which I chose to write them 😉

1. Hairat – Anjaana Anjaani OST
Vishal-Shekhar have racked up a home run on this album, and Lucky Ali’s rockstar vocals in this song are proof of that. The duo to justice to rock, keeping the music laced with heavy guitaring and drums, and take us back to when we were head-banging. And Lucky Ali rises to the occasion quite superbly. Dare you to NOT air-guitar or air-drum while u listen to this one…

2. Gal Mitthi Mitthi – Aisha OST
Normally, I dont like Punjabi music. But I’ll make an exception when Tochi Raina belts out this superbly peppy number. Awesome beats, a controlled voice, and foot-tapping rhythm. Its impossible not to react to the beats in this song, even when you’re quite uncomfortably seated in the fourth seat. For those who dint know, this album has been composed by the same guy who composed for the score of Dev D. So, rest assured, the music shall not disappoint you.

3. Aas Paas Khuda (Unplugged) – Anjaana Anjaani OST
Its unusual nowadays to release an album without a song by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan or Mohit Chauhan. Its simply because these 2 guys havent disappointed us yet, and now’s no time to start. Rahat shines in this song, the unplugged version of this song brings out his vocal brilliance even more. Shruti Pathak doesnt disappoint either… she keeps pace with the musical wonder that Rahat is. Kudos to Vishal and Shekhar for this one.

4. Anjaana Anjaani – Anjaana Anjaani OST
Yeah yeah… by now you’re thinking I’m way too hung up on this album. You’re right!! And this song is truly mt favourite on this album – for its sheer simplicity. For those who dint know, Vishal and Shekhar composed TWO title tracks for this album, and this is the one that hasn’t been publicised yet. Cant think of y not… Vishal moves away from his rockstar image and mesmerises us with his soft vocals. Shipla Rao makes an appearance in this song as well; and she does not disappoint us at all.

5. Suno Aisha – Aisha OST
The other song on that album that I’ve been completely bowled over by. Good beats, great rendering and, since I havent seen the movie, one that makes u wonder how it would look on the screen. It’s not particularly a brilliant song… but it’ll keep u entertained for sure.

6. Pehla Nasha – Jo Jeeta Woh Sikander OST
This one’s courtesy Radio City’s “Mumbai ka ultimate gaana” contest. Everyone I know has fallen in love with this song from the first time they heard it. I did too. For those that are looking for a slight twist to the original, look our for Bally Sagoo’s remix, spiced with some English lyrics and some more beats.

7. Hey Ya (unplugged)
This one’s from the Soundtrack of the TV series Scrubs. Televised when the Janitor was getting married, this song is an acoustic rendition of a hip-hop song. What I like most about this song is the fact that, while it sounded really good in the hip-hop version, the acoustic rendition brings a soulful feel to the song. Makes you think fondly about a certain somebody…

8. Weary Kind – Crazy Heart OST
This is one of em Oscar nominated movies that I watched a long time ago. And this song never left my mind ever since. A wonderful song, with very meaningful lyrics. For those who enjoy the guitar, this song’s quite a treat. And for those who dont, listen to the vocals and find some solace in some poor drunk guy’s repentance.

9. Bin Tere (Reprise) – I Hate Luv Storys
Another Vishal-Shekar dole-out. Apparently Shekhar was a music show reject, and I thank them guys for letting him take up composing music as a career. Not that he doesnt sing well…his voice has a raw yet trained feel to it that I havent heard in a very long time. And this song brings out the emotion that the plugged version dont. I wonder if I shud dig up more of these guys albums to look for some more surprises..

10. Des Mera (rock version)- Peepli Live
Indian Ocean renders a SUPERB one here. This album comes with two versions of the song and, while the other one has a rather rustic feel to it, the rock version makes u remember why Indian Ocean are such a brilliant band. They retain a lot of the instruments from the other version, but bring in Susmit on his guitar, and you have a track that’ll stay on ur mind longer than its playtime.
You’ll notice this list has a lot of Hindi songs on it… Apologies to my dear friends who were looking for some good rock. I’ll hopefully make it up to u next time. Or maybe next time it’ll be TV series. Or movies. hmm.

More till then.