Monday, May 02, 2005

Eat, sleep, drink music

Had a good chuckle today. A few days ago a fellow blogger had commented about my taste in music. At that time I felt good that someone I consider an amazing writer had complimented my musical tastes. It was very amusing to discover the same person was a family friend of the dude who was singularly responsible for the paradigm shift in my musical horizons.
There's this social-networking thing (or wateverumaycallit) called Orkut, which I joined about a year ago. A lot of people have been intrigued by the musical tastes I have put down there. It reads: "From Mozart to Maharajapuram....from Metallica to Mukesh".
As regular visitors to this blog would have noticed, a lot of the stuff I put up is music-related (besides cricket, and a few personal stuff). I have music on pretty much all day, and it's something I cant live without. Believe me, the iPod has been a huge blessing, coz I have condensed my 100 odd mp3 and audio cds into a thing the a little larger than a visiting card!
One side of my family is fully musical, with my aunts being AIR-artistes. The other side is totally non-musical. The family joke goes that at a concert in London in the late 1930s, a great-uncle of mine actually sat through the rendition of "God Save the King", because he thought it was just another part of the performance - but needless to say he was not embarrassed one bit!
During the early years I grew up listening to my parents' English tapes - Jim Reeves, The Seekers, Beatles, Harry Bellafonte, Elvis the Pelvis. Those were the days of good ol' DD and not much else from the West percolated through. I still do listen to the Beatles (one of the most amazing groups to have walked this earth) and Harry Bellafonte. Somehow, Jim Reeves evokes a gamut of emotions - he wrote a lot of sentimental stuff, and some zany stuff like "Mexican Joe" and "Billy Bayou" (two personal favorites from the Jim Reeves collection).
I remember the Sunday afternoons when the 3 of us would lie down and listen to Hemant Kumar, and music from the RK-Studio films. These still play on the iPod and bring back very fond memories of the old Philips with the 2-decks! That was my introduction to Rafi, Lata, Mukesh and Manna Dey...and ofcourse the famous Shamshad Begum & Geeta Dutt (the killer answer)!
Much to my chagrin my folks decided that at the age of 9 it was time I used my time a little better, so why not invite a paatu maami over and teach me some good Carnatic music. At that time I didnt really enjoy it, but believe me today I cant get enough of Carnatic instrumental music. It's awesome that A-A send me CDs off and on thru folks coming this side of the world.
The vocal experiment was a bit of a disaster once my voice broke, and it was kind of embarrassing - if u know what I mean. Plus by then I was too busy with extra-currics at school. I do have a wee bit of regret that I didnt give my music more attention.
Sometime in 5th standard I do remember collecting 15 Pepsi caps over a summer vacation and exchanging it for a tape. That tape had songs by Phil Collins, Rod Stewart and Paul Simon among others. The first tape I bought was Phil Collins' "...But Seriously" with bday money M-aunty gave me for my 11th bday! I still have the tape, and Phil is one of my all-time favourites (including the stuff he did with Genesis). Two major influences then were R&S thanks to the awesome vacation I spent with them in Madras in the summer of 1991. They got me hooked to soft-rock....
C intro-ed me to Billy Joel thanks to a tape of his greatest hits she got me sometime in 1992. Still quote some of his songs. A lot of friends remember the song which disappeared off the tape coz I played it so many times :)!
Over the years in middle and high school, I got down to listening to a fair bit of pop and rock. U2, Dire Straits :) and a whole lot more...some being blasted from neighbours' houses...
In JC, it was good fun....the majority of the music was from 107.1 :)! But then, we listened to 107.1 for the awesomely cool RJs they had - Anish Trivedi, Jack, Tarana, the T-Man....Man, I miss the Sundown show. Radio MidDay rocked.....And who can forget the dedications...and the free movie tickets which invariably went to Ashu bete and Sumi.
College and Madras were the place where the shift began. It was largely due to the dudes I hung out with....Iyer, Smoking Gunn, BC, PuffDaddy, Bhillu etc. The main person who influenced me more than anything else (and in more ways than one-two-three) was Linuslax. Floyd is one of my favorites all thanks to him. Also started listening to Maharajapuram Santhanam (imho the only tolerable vocalist, besides MSS). As me and a friend came to a consensus, Maharajapuram's voice is smooth like whiskey (it's a different thing that I havent touched whiskey!).
BC, Bhillu and me had and still have this uncanny knack of analyzing lyrics and quoting them at suitable instances! It's still amazing how we analyze music and quote it to each other. And who can forget the dude who painstakingly typed out a floyd song the other day at 3am PST :D. I for one was half asleep by the time he was through!
During the Bangalore days I got hooked to Indian classical music. Over the last 3 years I have painstakingly built up a fairly decent collection of Indian classical instrumental CDs - who can forget the innumerable mad trips to Brigade/MG Road and walks down to Music World on CMH road :)!
Much to someone's chagrin, a lot of the music I used to listen to between 2002-2004 was purely Indian classical...Amjad Ali Khan, Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar...the RS-Ali Akbar jugalbandis are amazing imho. Same with the Nikhil Bannerjee-Ali Akbar Khan jugalbandi.
Around 6 months ago, the Subr-man, The Skydiver and I went for a concert by Umayalpuram Sivaraman and his percussion ensemble. It was sheer MINDBLOWING stuff. With that I got hooked to Carnatic classical music. A lot of the classical stuff I listen to nowadays is by Lalgudi, MSG and L.Subramaniam. I tend to be partial to LS, probably because I like fusion a little more compared to hardcore Carnatic stuff. Some of the electric violin stuff by Ganesh-Kumaresh is also really good.

So thats the music bit..someday will blog about the literary side of things....

What am I reading:
The Six Sigma Way - Peter Pande and gang (LOL..reminds me of Pandey-Wandey's tuitions and the huge roar in the class......Aks :))
Dark Star Safari - Paul Theroux
The Great Indian Novel - Shashi Tharoor

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