Sunday, April 24, 2005

Muzik for ze soul

Was just talking to A about my taste for Eminem's music, or whatever he performs. Although A's tolerance level for the stuff he dishes (or is it disses!) out is alarmingly low, I tend to like a couple of his songs.
Eminem is one of them in-your-face type kinda guys as we all know, and his music is anything but different from his persona. Some of his songs are good imho, especially "Cleanin' out my closet" (minus the trash he sings in between, the chorus is amazingly catchy). I remember getting hooked onto it for the first time when I heard it at PlanetM...even U back then concurred with me on that (a big thing indeed)! But I think overall rap is nothing but a whole load of mindless music.
If I could say this, music started out as being a kind of "worship", but it has generated into something else over the last decade or two. The majority of the music being churned out of-late is good, but some of it is utter trash....With respect to the lyrics.....the less said the better....I remember this Altaf Raja(?!?!?!) song which was released when I was in the 12th called "Ishq ki whisky" - it amused my gang no end. It didnt help that Mr. Raja had this lascivious leer on this smug mug while singing it!
Today a lot of artistes tend to improvise/innovate in order to make their music more appealing to the masses. I have had a few debates with folks over the use of an electric violin in Carnatic music. I think it's a really cool innovation, and really puts Indian classical violin compositions in a whole new sphere, but some folks beg to differ. I base my views totally on the Ganesh-Kumaresh album I have. But that does not take anything away from the greatness/mastery of folks like Lalgudi Jayaraman, MSGopalakrishnan and LSubramaniam - these 3 are like the Holy Trinity....
I do tend to agree that Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan takes his experimentations a tad too far and messes up the song. Some uncharitable cousin of mine thinks the man has lost his marbles :)! Karaikudi Mani is an amazing guy on the mridangam when he plays classical stuff, but he varies between sublime and sucky when he experiments.
Kipling's oft quoted statement about the east being east and west being west and the 'twain never meeting has been proved woefully wrong with regard to music. Music is something which knows no boundaries, and it has undoubtedly become richer thanks to the experimentations between various forms and styles. The conservative connoiseur might say that fusion causes confusion, but I'd say (s)he is just not willing to accept anything off the well-trodden path.
Shakti (with McLaughlin, Zakir, Vinayakram and Shankar) created some mindblowing music in the 70s. I dont think at that point in time, people ever imagined that the guitar, tabla, ghatam and violin could all be used to make music - together! Similarly, Ravi Shankar's concertos with Yehudi Menuhin and some other stuff with Zubin Mehta and Philip Glass have been amazing successes; partly due to the fact that RS got a huge fan following in the west in the 60s and 70s thanks to the Fab Four.
All said and done, I'd tend to believe that a century from now, Eminem and the other rappers will be a forgotten entity, while the "purists" who treat their music with a little more respect than Mr. Marshall Mathers does will remain immortal.
So that's that....

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