The Score Magazine - Jan 2012

Page 1

ISSN 0974 – 9128

Vol 05 Issue 01 - January 2012

thescoremag

@highonscore www.highonscore.com

` 50/-

India's Pan-Genre Music Magazine

HMI’s

Band of The Month

GODDESS GAGGED

Celebrating

SVANUBHAVA Catching up with

THE APRIL FISHES

15 year stint with The Story Of

SHANKAR TUCKER

Shankar Ehsaan & Loy!

THE METALLICAN ODYsseY WITH A BANGALORE STOP OVER


For franchisee and business inquiries call 099260 08383 | Mail at info@derbyjeanscommunity.com www.derbyjeanscommunity.com www.facebook.com/derbyjeanscommunity Featured here Johan Hallgren of Swedish progressive rock band Pain of Salvation fame sporting Derby Jeans Community





the edit PAD Editor-in-Chief Nikila Srinivasan

Executive Editor Shirin Albert

Associate Editor

Sandhya Ramachandran

Strategy and Planning Ajay Prabhakar

Operations and Marketing Pragash VM

Chief of Operations, Mumbai Siddharth Mehta

Marketing Executive Sneha Ramesh

Creative Director

George Vedamanickam

Public Relations

D

December will always be my favorite month of the year. There’s the festive air with hope for what could be in the new year, not dampened by slight disappointments of things that weren’t meant to be in the year past. It is only apt that we end a hugely successful year on a high note. Besides a great blend of eclectic content, local and international, our cover story features three individuals who have repeatedly broken down stereotypes, been trendsetters in their own right and changed the way music in India is perceived. Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy are forces to reckon with individually and a veritable musical storm as a team! The Score Magazine will always remember 2011 as a landmark year in our history, when we truly arrived and claimed a stronghold for ourselves in the music community. In the past year, we have expanded our online presence (hello, fantabulous 26,000+ Facebook fans!), added several talented and enthusiastic members to our growing team, brought you several entertaining Score Nights, concerts and more amazing content from great partners. We have built more than just a reader base. This issue is dedicated to The Score Community. Thank you for backing us up, cheering us on and grooving with us! Here’s to a great new year ahead from all of us at The Score Magazine! Happy Holidays!

Satishkumar Narayanan

Nikila Srinivasan

Executive Advisor Siddharth Vipin

Nikila Srinivasan has been a columnist and contributor for several reputed national publications and has authored three books. She has had the honour of being one of India’s Olympic torchbearers at the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch Relay

Content Advisor Solomon Porres

Production Support Fayaz Mohammed

Content Support Mihir Sinha Nilankur Dutta

brand partners

Event Support CK Vignesh

Design Support Vaishali Menon

Photography

Bhagath Kumar Parizad D Anushya Badrinath

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8

Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy

‘It feels good! It’s fantastic when you’re performing in front of 40000 people, and each one of them is singing your song.” – the journey of Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani & Loy Mendoza!

RUPA &

16 THE APRIL FISHES

Based in San Francisco, with an Indian frontlady, Rupa & The April Fishes swayed Indian tides this season on their tour.

34

HMI Guitar’s Band of the Month Goddess Gagged: Fun loving tweens (most of them). Ground breaking musical entrepreneurs. A force to reckon with? You bet!

FINEART FOCUS

44 SVANUBHAVA

The Youth Association of Classical Music put together yet another spectacular year of Svanubhava. We go behind the scenes of this successful fête.

KEITH

54 RICHARDS

Keith Richard’s Life hit stores recently. We get you a gist of the pages within.


i nside Trendin’ in

2011

WE’re TALKING SHANKAR TUCKER!

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He is the artist behind ShrutiBox, the artist who can play more instruments than you can recollect, the artist who dared to experiment with popular Indian tunes.

Sri Kumaran Stores Artiste of the Month

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5 fads that are here to stay + defining aspects of the international music scene. Listed!

Page: 56 A new and emerging face in the field of light music, Vandana Srinvasan is definitely one to watch out for!

THE METALLICAN JOURNEY

12

Thirty years of Metallica rung in with a Delhi flopshow & a Blore bash! We trace the band’s tendencies and triumphs along the way.

DISCOVER EMERGENCE

UPBEAT WITH VINEETH VINCENT

31

20

It’s a potpourri of diversity that brings together some good ol’ indo acoustic pop

Thelonious Sphere Monk

32

The ultra cool beatboxer who had his humble beginnings in Bangalore. He recollects the journey from café to live!

With his arrival, modern music - let alone modern culture - simply hasn’t been the same. Reliving the legacy.

INDIE REVIEWS

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Sifar, Daler Mehndi, Euphoria, Suraj Jagan and lots more! New album releases that have hit the scene and our brief take on each of them!

Takahiro Arai

THOSE TEN THINGS

46

48

Foreigners embracing the Indian way of life? Always interesting. From Japan to Mumbai a santoor student’s journey. The Chammak Challo craze drove us straight into the house of Hamsika Iyer.


Akhil Sood & Siddharth Mehta

SEL-LING LIK

T

hey’ve remained grounded ever since, having developed a degree of maturity, not just with their music, but also their personal evolution as individuals, laughing about the absence of any self-destructive rockstar stereotype tendencies. “Tell him about all the drugs and the women!” Loy pokes Ehsaan between guffaws of laughter. Ehsaan states that the fame never really affected them, since they had already been successful composers in the advertising world; they had resisted the allure of films due to the nature and the dismal state of the industry in general during the 90s.

From Dus To 2011: A BollyPower Stride For SEL “It feels fantastic when you’re performing in front of 40000 people, and each one of them is singing your song.” It was only when they found something that appealed to their cultured sensibilities that they took the leap. “Dus,” says Loy, “was the vision of Mukul Anand. He wanted a youth anthem; sort of like a shot in the arm, and he wanted us to bring a youthful energy into it.” From there, things fell into place, as the trio gradually developed a niche for itself, from off-beat cinematic experiments to full blown commercial ventures – “The success of Kajra Re was great for us,” laughs Ehsaan, mentioning how it became the ‘song of the decade’ according to some lists. With films, he asserts that it’s important to understand the nature of the music. While the group itself is comfortable with all forms and genres of music, right from acid jazz to blues to Shankar’s Carnatic and Hindustani leanings, they remain aware of the inherently commercial nature of films. “You have to understand the limits, since you’re catering to an audience. We have the background and the knowledge, but we need to channelize it towards the popular format of music that we’re creating,” he mentions. Loy adds that part of the challenge is to find something “that is new for us, new for the audience, and valid for the film. All those elements come together eventually.”

SEL’s Songwriting Success: Secrets & Beyond! “You have to keep your creativity within limits” The three of them seem to be mechanized androids programmed to play any damn instrument they can get their hands on. Which makes the technical aspects of their songwriting process all the more intriguing, as Loy elucidates: “Sometimes, we pick up on a vocal line that Shankar sings, and the dummy lyrics that he pens down often end up becoming the final lyrics in the film.” It’s a spontaneous process of writing, wherein anyone suggests a start, be it a drum groove programmed by either him or Ehsaan, or a bassline that he might play, to a guitar lick by Ehsaan, or even a keyboard melody. Loy reflects, “The pressure of deadlines is always there, but we manage to work within the time frame. When we run into a roadblock, we either come back and tackle the piece, or we let it simmer and move on to something else.” The contribution of the three remains practically equal, irrespective of whether it’s singing, melody, arrangement, or instrumentation. It is not a simple creative process, as they go about fusing many different elements from various musical backgrounds. They state that their brand of fusion is aimed at being as natural and unpretentious as possible, without getting convoluted with labels and formulas.

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January 2012


Cover Story

KE HOT CAKES Today, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is not merely a film composing trio; they are pretty much an institution, and not without reason. It’s hard to imagine, but they made their debut 15 whole years ago.

Shankar Ehsaan Loy Bag The NDTV Indian Of The Year Award Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa were very recently presented with the NDT V Indian of the Year award. When asked about this prestigious felicitation, they humbly admit that this is a divine honor, especially considering the gravity of this award, putting them aside with the likes of Anna Hazare. Loy thanks Siddharth Basu, Prannoy Roy and the others at NDT V, especially considering how it was them who gave him a good start many years ago. And though it has been quite the roller coaster journey since then, the trio has battled against all odds, setting new benchmarks with each composition.

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“ “ We must have done about 2000 commercials. That rewarded us with a lot of experience. We have learnt to make to make a valid statement within 15 seconds.

It can be very difficult if you follow only the Carnatic or Hindustani style in its pure form, and if you’re not able to adapt yourself, then that becomes a problem. But it’s a great advantage if you can use the principles of Carnatic or Hindustani music, and apply them in popular forms of music.

I remember one year when we did ALL the soft-drink commercials – from Pepsi to Coke to Slice to Orange… We would probably not do this in another country.

SELection For The Future “Nobody knows the future; films are like a graph. Things go up and down. But we will continue songwriting”- Ehsaan Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s next film about Milkha Singh – Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Award-winning Marathi filmmaker Mangesh Hadawale’s (of Tingya fame) next Hindi venture – Dekh Indian Circus. Incidentally, the film won the Audience Choice Award at the 16th Busan Film Festival in South Korea.

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Indian Rock Bands:

The Right & The Wrong

Most of the music in India is cornered… no wait, bulldozed by the Film Industry.” Ehsaan’s optimism for the indie music circuit in India shines through, as he tells us excitedly about rock and alternative bands with significant fan following managing to carve a space for themselves, which dominates the majority of the commercial markets in the country. He points out that the quality of songwriting is great and there are a large number of bands writing and playing their music. “Another aspect is that they have figured out how to do the business of music without having to go through a record label, by developing independent models. It would be nice to see some money being put in to the circuit as well.” Shankar agrees, stating that a market needs to be created wherein influential people can contribute to the indie industry and bring the music out for the masses to hear. “Yes, there’s a long way to go, but the industry is emerging, and it’s high time that it’s given the importance it deserves. That market, once it’s created, will prove that non-film music also works with audiences. Why wouldn’t anybody like to listen to a good song which isn’t from a film?” Loy though, remains a little more tentative, and states that one place where a lot of talented Indian bands lose out is by writing in English. “I think they should be writing in Hindi. There’s a bit of a mindset problem, and rockers aren’t sure of making that shift.” He says that the trick is to understand the rhythm of a language, for that dictates the rhythm and phrasing of the melodies – “Like in Hindi, you can’t stretch certain words since it might change the meaning. English is much more malleable that way, and the trick is to find a balance and understand the rhythmical structure of the language.” He goes on to state that in a lot of cases, there seems to be a bit of an identity crisis, as bands want to cater to international audiences, and remain unsure of keeping it local. And so, they continue playing their music in front of the potentially huge audiences in India that they can reach out more to by singing in Hindi. They state that composing for Rock On was a fulfilling experience for them, since it resulted in a lot of older people picking up their instruments again, while the youngsters were also inspired to learn music. Another proud consequence was the significant increase in the sales of drums and guitars following the release of the film.

Tid Bits with SEL Creative differences? There are many, they admit, since all three of them hail from varied musical backgrounds. But they are extremely comfortable bringing in diverse elements into their songwriting process. In fact, Loy and Ehsaan both stated that one of their most priceless assets would be Shankar’s phenomenal memory. “The man is more precise than a data recorder.” Apparently, when Shankar sets his mind to a particular rhythm that he likes when Ehsaan is jamming randomly on his guitar, Shankar will ask Ehsaan to play out his entire repertoire until he finds the exact same riff, after which he composes his vocal melodies accordingly. Then the whole band comes together, bringing in other instruments and layers. And thus, a song is a born.

Do they argue? Yes, quite often. But ultimately, their creative differences coalesce into something beautiful, and they reveal that such disagreements are actually essential because they are working towards a good cause – music. “It’s almost like a marriage,” reflects Shankar, “You are in a relationship with two of your partners; you work day in and day out. It’s been a wonderful ride career wise. We have a wonderful understanding, which we are very happy about; we respect each other, give each other space. We don’t mix our professional and personal relationships. It’s wonderful that we have managed it and are still going strong”.

In reference to almost every other actor or actress picking up musical instruments in recent Bollywood productions Ehsaan simply smiles. “Good for them. They should.” he says, with a twinkle in his eyes, upon which Loy remarks joyfully, “Nothing like the real thing, right?”

When told about how people really enjoyed playing dandiya and garba to ‘Senorita’ during the recent Navratri celebrations in Mumbai (They couldn’t hold back their laughter) “Its actually a good thing!” exclaims Loy, amidst wheezes and more laughter, “This is like the complete reversal of what happens in the movie Rock On, where the band changes their sound. Here, people are actually adapting themselves to our music. This kind of reverse engineering is definitely good news!” The

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Madhav Ravindranath

N A C I L L A T E M E H

Y E N R U O J - 2011)

T

(1981

Oct

Looking back at thirty years of thrash metal fare with all the milestones, brickbats & shockers.

April

1981

Metallica is formed with James Hetfield on guitars/vocals, Dave Mustaine on lead guitar, Lars Ulrich on drums and Ron McGovney on bass. The band’s first single ‘Hit The Lights’ is released on a compilation album titled ‘Metal Massacre’.

1983

Dave Mustaine is fired from Metallica. Kirk Hammett joins the band on the same day.

Dec 1982

Lars and James watch a band called Trauma that features bass player Cliff Burton. Unhappy with Metallica’s current bass player, Lars and James ask Cliff to join Metallica.

Sept 1986

Dec 1983

While on tour with Anthrax, the truck with the band’s equipment is stolen. For the remaining three dates of the tour, Anthrax loans Metallica all their stage equipment. The song “Fade To Black” is inspired by this incident.

Traveling from Stockholm to Copenhagen, the bus in which the band was travelling skids out of control. James, Kirk and Lars survive with no serious injuries, but Cliff Burton is pinned under the bus and dies.

Feb

April

Jan

Metallica file suit against Napster and several schools for copyright infringement, unlawful use of digital audio interface device, and violations of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Jason Newstead leaves Metallica.

2000

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2003

2001

July 2001

Metallica announce ex Suicidal Tendancies/ ex Ozzy Osbourne bass player Robert Trujillo as Newstead’s replacement.

James enters a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism and other addictions.

April 2003

Metallica shoots the first video for the title track from the new album, “St. Anger,” at the San Quentin State Prison. This is Rob’s first official performance with the band.


We do have many styles of music, its called Metallica.

Oct

1986

Jason Newstead replaces Cliff Burton on bass.

March

August

1999

1992

Metallica is among the inaugural 62 recipients of Diamond Award from the Recording Industry Association of America for selling over 10 million copies of Metallica. Other artists to get the Diamond Award include Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Prince.

James Hetfield is burnt onstage in Montreal, Canada. Before the show, the stage crew told the band that there were different pyrotechnics for the song ‘Fade To Black’ but forgot to tell them that the original pyrotechnic setup hadn’t been removed. James stood right in the middle of a cannon that shot a 12 foot flame into the air. All the strings melted off his guitar and he had to be rushed to hospital. The tour went on with Hetfield singing and the band’s guitar technician John Marshall playing rhythm guitar.

Sept June 2003

St Anger is released to a mixed response all over the world.

2008

Jan

2004

The documentary, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, is released. The film chronicles the lives of the band members from the time they started working on St. Anger to the first show of the 2003 tour. It includes scenes of the group in therapy, confronting former members and dealing with the demands of a newly clean and sober James Hetfield.

Death Magnetic is released, 2 days ahead of schedule after a French record store starts selling CDs before the actual release date.

July 2011

Metallica announce that they will be working with Lou Reed for their upcoming album.

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A TOURBUS OF

FEB 1984

MEMORIES

Metallica plays their first ever tour outside the USA, supporting the Venom on the Seven Dates of Hell tour in Europe. The tour almost comes to a halt as James falls down holding a beer glass and cuts his hand open. Metallica gain the nickname ‘Alcoholica’ from a European fan wearing a homemade T-shirt with the Kill ‘Em All cover distorted.

Epic Onstage Moments

AUG 1991 The Cunning Stunts concert is filmed on a revolutionary new stage concept: diamond-shaped, with no backdrops, placed in the middle of the arena with fans all around.

SEP 1991 SEp 1995 Metallica head to the Arctic Circle to play the ‘Polar Beach Party’, the largest concert the North Pole had ever seen. The show takes place in Tuktoyaktuk in northern Canada (the last camp before the North Pole) where the only way in or out of the area is by air. Massive fuel heating units have to be utilized so the instruments will work.

Metallica are invited by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev to perform a free concert in Moscow before a crowd estimated to be 500,000 people.

APR 1992 Metallica play three songs at the Freddie Mercury tribute at the Wembley Stadium in London. James also sings “Stone Cold Crazy” with Queen and Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) on rhythm guitar. All proceeds from this gig are donated to Freddie Mercury’s AIDS fund.

DEC 1995 Metallica pay tribute to Motorhead at the Whiskey A Go-Go. They call themselves ‘The Lemmys’, dress like Lemmy and play seven Motorhead covers at the Motohead frontman’s 50th birthday party.

OCT 1997 Metallica play their first ever acoustic set at Neil Young’s annual benefit for the Bridge School for children with severe speech and physical impairments. They perform “Low Man’s Lyric”, “Helpless”, “Tuesdays Gone” (with Jerry Cantrell on guitar), “Poor Twisted Me”, “Fade To Black”, “The 4 Horsemen”, “Nothing Else Matters” and “Last Caress”.

OCT 1998 Metallica is invited by Hugh Hefner to play a 45-minute set at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. ‘If you want to try something surreal, form a band, kick around for a while, get asked to perform at the Playboy Mansion, and then, while you are up on the stage, watch Hugh kick around to your music, with a couple of Playmates on each arm.’- Lars Ulrich

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NOV 1999 Metallica perform with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in Berlin and New York. The orchestra is directed by composer/ arranger Michael Kamen who previously orchestrated ‘Nothing Else Matters’.

OCT 2011 Metallica take the stage at Bangalore for their first show in India. 30,000 screaming fans become a part of history.


THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUJILLO Every Metallica fan worth his salt knows that the Cliff Burton was the best bass player the band ever had. His untimely demise changed Metallica forever and their music has never felt the same since. Jason Newsted, the replacement always had big shoes to fill but was still popular (as an underdog?). Rob Trujillo, the present bass player who found his way from Ozzy Osbourne’s backing band is not the most popular member of the band today and I was desperate to know why the negative vibes were directed towards him. What I saw that night astounded me – a ferocious, beast of a human being crabwalking all over the stage and yet, playing note to note, gelling with the band on so many levels. His bass tone was thick, clanky and more importantly, ballsy, driving all over the distorted guitars and locking in perfectly with Ulrich. It’s been 25 years since Cliff passed away and Rob is everything that Metallica need. In my book, Rob Trujillo gets a thumbs-up!

AUG 2004 Prior to their show at the Download Festival, Lars Ulrich is rushed to the hospital with anxiety attacks. Joey Jordison (Slipknot) and Dave Lombardo (Slayer) volunteer to play in his place.

APR 2009 Metallica is inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Jason Newstead joins the band on stage for the first time in 8 years.

JUN 2010 For the first time in almost 30 years, the world sees the Big Four - Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer on the same stage at Sonisphere in Poland..

BANGALORE RIDES THE

LIGHTNING

In the wake of the fiasco at Delhi, both fans and organizers took extra efforts to ensure that the show did happen as planned, and what a show it was! On 30th October 2011, when Metallica made their way to India for their first gig in the sub-continent, it was three decades of pent up frustration crashing all over Bangalore as close to 30,000 fans screamed in delight to the intro strains of ‘The Ecstacy of Gold’. Beginning with ‘Creeping Death’, the band proceeded to play 19 classic tracks across a set just about exceeding two hours. Despite the minor technical snags that plagued the band’s sound right through the show, Metallica did not fail to impress. James Hetfield was in his element, riffing and singing with ease, proving to his detractors that he is still one of the best frontmen in the world. Armed with a guitar and loads of charisma to boot, Hetfield captivated the crowds as Metallica belted out classic after classic on a night many a metalhead would remember for a long time. There was no need for any banter between songs neither did any track require an introduction. With Hetfield leading at the helm, supported by Rob Trujjilo’s overdriven basslines, Kirk Hammet’s iconic leads and Lars Ulrich’s pounding drums, Metallica played a near perfect setlist, seamlessly weaving classic tracks with the crowd favourites. The intro of ‘Fuel’ shot flames into the air, great tongues of fire that fluttered in the cool Bangalore breeze. This is perhaps the first time an international band has made use of pyrotechnics in India, which was quite spectacular. And to hear ‘Nothing Else Matters’ live, by the band that composed the song, played the way He meant it to be played literally brought tears to my eyes, especially with the soulful solo at the end. It’s one of those tracks that has been overplayed to the point of exhaustion, BUT, when Metallica played it, it seemed just right. Another highlight came towards the end when ‘Master Of Puppets’ and ‘Blackened’, both veritable aural assaults were played backto-back. The double act sent the fans into a frenzy as the deafening chants of ‘MASTER, MASTER’ echoed in the night. Fireworks burst into the sky at the end of ‘Enter Sandman’, signaling an end to the show, through the band did return for an encore consisting of the Diamondhead cover ‘Am I Evil’, ‘Battery’ and ‘Seek And Destroy’. Earlier in the day, Delhi based band Guillotine and Inner Sanctum from Bangalore kickstarted proceedings. They both playing relatively short sets, both bands were well received by the crowds. Supporting band Biffy Clyro from Scotland took the stage next. An explosive live act, they received a great response from the crowds. That said, the indie-rock band may not have been the best choice to support the metal titans. Starting off with ‘The Captain’ from their 2009 release ‘Only Revolutions’, the band braved the rains and played a 45-minute set before making way for Metallica to take the stage. At the end of the night, all I could say was that, I have witnessed a performance by a band that has not only symbolized a culture, but has defined a musical revolution. This is a band that has spawned an entire genre of music, a band that has provided a sanctuary of cathartic transcendence and fueled the desires of millions of angstridden teenagers in the world. Metallica, Bangalore loves you too! The

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Latin grooves. French burlesque. Afro-Cuban Jazz. Romani soul. Rebellious attitude and Eena-Meena-Deeka. All in one pot. Smells strange at first, but tastes delicious! Wonder what’s cookin’? FIGURING OUT THE MUSICAL FINESSE With so many different ethnic influences and cultural connections, where do these fish find common ground? “Our music is not architectural,” Safa explains, “it is an organic process.” He likens their songwriting modus operandi to gardening, since it involves a lot of patience, pruning and nurturing. On further discussion, I discover that it took The April Fishes a good 2 – 3 years of playing together to build trust and articulate their sound as a whole. “When the band settles in with each other comfortably,” Rupa elaborates, “each band member unfolds on his own.” And after considering their collective experiences, coalescing their inspirations and pooling their talents, this mix of flavors spawns some truly mind-blowing music, rich in exotic essences and robust in rhythm.

Just like the band members themselves, The April Fishes’ musical repertoire is varied, ranging from simple, slow and solemn songs to mid-tempo tunes to full-throttle vivacissimos with lyrics alternating between Spanish, French and English, among others. Every song is symbolic in its own way, with a significant story behind each one. People have various labels for their music; while some have called The April Fishes eclectic, those unable to appreciate the intricacy in every aspect of their songwriting class them as esoteric. Viewing the band live brings about a whole different level of ecstasy in terms of the overall experience. They have this rare ability to infuse their own enthusiasm and energy within the audience, whereby each and every individual can’t help but succumb to the rapture, jiving and miming along to each song, regardless of knowing the lyrics.

The first word that comes to one’s mind upon meeting Rupa and The April Fishes is‘contrast. Meeting the band in person is like taking a glimpse at an estuary; the sheer degree of diversity within this catch resonates the creativity and cosmopolitanism that San Francisco is celebrated for. 16

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Siddharth Mehta I witnessed this first hand, when Rupa and The April Fishes played at Blue Frog, Mumbai, on October 12th, 2011.

FISH OUT OF WATER? When asked about what it felt like to be in Mumbai, Mischa was initially at a loss of words – “Its… intense!” He elucidates the surreal extent of his culture shock further, evoking memories of an aquarium – “Its like I’m looking at everyone through a window, but really, its also like everyone out there is looking back at me through the same window!” Rupa, having lived in and traveled to many places, recounts how Mumbai is unique in its intensity – “There is an overwhelming disparity between poverty and opulence. It is a direct confrontation, and it awakens the humanness in your agency.” With a sudden departure from the previously jovial atmosphere, Rupa explains how The April Fishes are socio-economically conscious and grateful at the same time. “We’ve moved up from being paid coffee farmers’ wages and we’re lucky to have our families on tour with us this time.”

THE NET GOAL: PHILANTHROPY? Unlike many other artists, the band emphasizes how performing social work, such as working with the children at the Ashram is not merely a touristy time-out from a busy touring schedule, but an actual priority. While listening to them relate their previous social and cultural experiences in Mexico, one only has to look at the sincerity in The Fishes’ unblinking eyes to feel convinced that they are a band with a genuine cause and a big heart. Fearing that more talk on such topics would dampen the mood, I tried to change the topic by asking about the nomenclature – “You don’t come across as foul smelling or slippery… so why call yourselves the April Fishes?” to which Rupa smiles knowingly. “Ah,” she replies huskily, “It is based on a dream.” On pressing further, she closes her eyes and shakes her head, slowly but firmly, accentuating the enigma with a few words - “That would be too revealing” she concludes, blinking seductively, her voice almost a breath now, “It was a sexy dream.”

There’s Safa Shokrai, the Iranian lionfish, on upright bass, so called, because of his voracious appetite and potency (with playing). Safa’d like to be reincarnated as Einstein or Schrödinger, an indication of his appreciation for genius. On the silver platter, representing Jewish culture and tradition is Aaron Kierbel on percussion. The self-proclaimed ‘Gefilte fish’ which, he admits is “not that exotic, but you know you like it.” Incidentally, Aaron has only recently graduated from being called a clownfish, mainly for his effortless showmanship (he idolizes YoYo Ma and Papa Joe Jones) than as a snub to his beret. And then there’s Mischa Khalikulov, the band’s loyal Uzbek marlin; fast (you should see him on the cello!), strong, and a good sport. In comparison, Mario Silva, the Nicaraguan trumpeter is likened to either a blowfish, for obvious reasons, or a parrotfish – “After digesting, he shits gold. HIS shits don’t stink.” Mischa deciphers this unappetizing metaphor “His music. Pure Gold.” Finally, the piece de resistance – Rupa Marya, the Indian American guitarist and songstress, identifies herself with the salmon – “fresh and salty, with an intense sense of identity and roots.” The

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Not so long ago, News Feeds on Facebook were filled with an interesting Indianized cover of Adele’s smash hit Rolling In The Deep. Jaws dropped, (video) sharing soared and curiosity killed us all. Welcome to the world of

Shankar Tucker. ‘Everything about this young American screams fusion, including his name’. What’s the explanation behind the American-Desi name? Ever since my childhood days, my family unfaillingly visited Mata Amritanandmayi, every time she came to the United States. It was she who gave me the name, ‘Shankar’, with which I have gone by in the US as well as in India.

At a very young age, you were given an opportunity to perform at renowned places like the National Public Radio and the Symphony Hall in Boston. How did it feel to be recognized for your music at such a tender age? My first performance was at the National Public Radio, which gained me a scholarship and entry into the New England Conservatory. During my tenure there, I had learnt under the guidance of Tom Martin, who was a part of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was he who had given me plenty of opportunities to perform at the Symphony Hall. Initially, during every one my performances, I would confront a great sense of nervousness and panic. It was the applause and the tremendous support that I received at the end of the concerts, which drove me to overcome my fear and delve further into my passion.

It was your ambition to study classical music at its source - in India. What inspired you to tread this path? Music had a very deep impact on me at a very young age. Inspired by the neat chords of Jazz Music and the then famous World Music band, Remember Shakthi, I began learning Classical Clarinet at the age of 10. Ever since, there has been no turning back. Realizing my deep inclination towards Indian Classical Music, I was awarded a grant by the Frank Huntington Bebee Fund and given the wonderful opportunity to learn from the World famous Hindustani flute player, Hariprasad Chaurasia.

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In an era where even a zealous music lover can’t recall more than 50 artists, he dared to stand up and show the world that he’s unique; a fanbase of 2 million in a record time of just six months is huge for a non commercial artist.


Madhumita Prabhakar The one question that has been on the minds of every fan; how did you learn to play so many instruments? When I planned on composing tunes, I did not have sufficient funds to hire instrumentalists and rent a studio for extended periods. I used to record the vocals in a day, play each instrument to support the vocals, sync the tunes and rework the final composition.

Few months into your dream, you have already gained a 2 million plus fan base. Is this an indication that you would pursue this dream further? It definitely is. The response I have received from my listeners has proved to be a great sense of motivation. During my trip to India this time, I will be signing up for a couple of new projects and experimenting on new avenues to improvise my compositions.

Every composition that you have chosen has been recreated into a miracle. How do you go about understanding the kind of music, the kind of tune and instrument that has to be adopted to create a unique style of fusion music? The selection of songs is based primarily on a piece of music that the vocal artist is completely familiar with. Since I was working over a short span of time, I did not venture into composing new lyrics, which would end up taking more time to learn, record and edit. The composition of tunes and the adoption of instruments are entirely based on a unique feel that I would like to bring to the song, with my knowledge of music.

Who are your most inspirational music artists in the world of cinema? There are a whole bunch of artists I would love to work with! Most definitely A.R Rehman tops the list. I am among those billions of fans who have been inspired by his unique style of music.

The ShruthiBox Shankar Trivia ShrutiBox is a YouTube endeavor that Shankar Tucker took up in Spring 2011. It consists of re-compositions of popular Indian songs that reflect a fusion of Indian Classical music and Jazz. Shankar himself has played all the supporting instruments. The singers are popular Hindustani and Carnatic Classical artists like Vidya and Vandana Iyer, Mahesh Vinayakram and Nirali Kartik to name a few. ShrutiBox has gained a huge fan base of over two million viewers in just six months. The songs from ShrutiBox have also been featured in MT V India’s “Roots� program, which features Indian artists with strong South Asian Music influence

During the initial days of his project, he gained vocal support from his friends and acquaintances. Following the launch of his first set of videos, he began receiving requests through mail for an opportunity to offer vocal support for his tunes. While composing tunes, instead of thinking with western notation and chords, he thinks with teentaal or adi taalam. As a clarinetist, Shankar has shared the stage with such legendary artists as Zakir Hussain and Hariprasad Chaurasia, and recorded for music director Pritam Chakraborty.

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INDO

FUSION ARRIVES FROM AUROVILLE

YOU GET

EMERGENCE What do you get when a highly t rained Carnatic Classical violinist who’s traveled the world round and played for the likes of Oscar winner A.R. Rahman decides to break off and explore music on his own terms?

What do you get, when a travelling Englishman falls in love with the idea of India, decides to stay back and explore self sustainability through music?

What do you get when an accomplished drummer who has opened for musicians like Mike Patton and Quiet Riot heads to Auroville to engage in farming and blacksmithing, while exploring music?

And what do you get when one of the top bassists of France who’s played with the likes of Ray Charles decides to let go off a hectic touring schedule, comes settles in the tiny town of Pondicherry and learns Indian classical music?

There really isn’t anything that could do more justice to explaining them than their page. It reads like the plot of an incredible fantasy

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or a band that has shared stage with the likes of John Mayer, Neil Diamond and Kings of Leon at the Glastonbury Festival in 2008, Emergence surprisingly keep to themselves. Based out of Solitude Farms in Auroville, Emergence has also marked their attendance at several other festivals across the world including the Festival de Nyon and has a bunch of Indian tours under their belt as well.What is even more unique is the deep connection that this band has with nature; a connection that exceeds music and lyrics, a connection that transcends into an entire way of life. Every song, every melody, everything about Emergence’s music is an exercise at getting back to your roots and connecting with life around you.

THE SEEDS OF EMERGENCE: Formed in 2006-07 by Krishna and Kripa (the violinist), the band roped in Lowell on the drums and famed bass player Mishko M’ba, and started jamming to music that was very close to each of their hearts. Lineup changes over the years have brought the band to what it is today.

THE YIELD: The music typically can be described as acoustic IndoFusion with generous dollops of jazz and pop influences but unlike the hordes of substandard East-meets-West bands that exist, Emergence draw their influences from their unique backgrounds and apply it in their modern day lives, and that’s separates them from the rest.

THE HARVEST: Now, as the band prepares for the ‘Road Back To Nature’ tour, their second Indian tour in recent times, Karthik tells me about the difference that playing in Emergence has made. The years

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Photography: Rajsekar Balan

Mishko and Suresh have spent playing music each exceeds Karthik’s present age! Add to that their life experiences and philosophies, and you’ve got a band that’s literally bursting at the seams with the vast abundance of knowledge and musical spirit. Their sole objective from each of their live shows? To give their audiences a chance to reflect upon the music and to think about the lyrics, even hours after the gig when they’re back home.

THE BUMPER: Emergence’s albums, the debut ‘Here I Am’ and the sophomore release ‘Chosen by God’ are available on the band’s website (www.emergence.in). They’re already making plans for their third full length, which should be out early next year. The ‘Road Back To Nature’ tour includes shows at Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and many others & it is highly recommended that you watch them live to really feel the music. Tour dates are up on the band’s website!


Madhav Ravindranath

A Brit, a Frenchman and a French-Tamilian who’ve settled down in India, embraced the Indian way of life and now play music which is a heady blend of their roots and their new lives THAT’s EMERGENCE!

THERE’S A FIELD OF CHOICE

Emergence Essentials Harder The Heart:

Colorblind:

Ballad Of The Open Road:

Literally the first Emergence song I heard and I instantly fell in love with them. The song talks about paranoia and fear but the calm harmony of melody render the (still brilliant) vocals trivial.

The Emergence staple, talks about the simplicity of being and yet again finds a different way to do it. Both the jazz driven melody and the lyrics are intensely powerful, even if you don’t always know what they mean.

One, there’s a brilliant violin intro. Two, the smoky, tired vocals. Three, this spiritual band unexpectedly dives into old school rock n’ roll and owns it. The song sweeps you off your feet and takes you on a whirlwind of musical brilliance.

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Tara Thomas

THE DEWARISTS

“Because some things are just worth doing,” This is a claim by Monica Dogra, in her accent tinted, cherubic voice as she introduces the latest offering from Star World - an original documentary/travelogue series about music! What’s The Deal?

Eh. Seriously. What’s The REAL deal?

Dewarists wishes to find musicians ‘led by passion’ to embark on a journey to discover places, inspire change, and - insert a few other powerfully vague sounding phrases here - that make up their ‘search for a song’. The pilot episode featured Imogen Heap – in what seems like a strategic move to generate publicity for her performance at the 2011 NH7 Weekender, working with Indian Bollywood giants Vishal and Shekar.

Is this a venture that is going to make money? Is Star looking to support the Indian music scene? Samira Kanwar, Director at Babble Fish Productions – the creators of the Dewarist concept explains to us “Dewarists began as a venture to inspire people. In India it is only too common to see people leave behind their passions when they enter the rat race. This was our way of putting the passion back into their lives.” Although the show is nonchalant about its purpose, simply stating “because some things are just worth doing” – a vague and for lack of a better word, lame purpose, they have a point. Why do we spend hours on social media websites or 9gag.com (is it only me?) - the sites are user friendly, brilliantly designed and largely addictive. Just like the Dewarists.

Whatte Feel. And What Did It Yield?

DID YOU KNOW? In the previously mentioned introduction, Dogra introduces the artists as Dewarists, those in pursuit of excellence. The real Dewarists however, are the makers of the popular whiskey beverage, Dewar’s - marketed in India by Bacardi. (who ncidentally also sponsor for the NH7 Weekender) Coincidence? We think not! Babble Fish Productions initially conceptualized the show for Bacardi as an online series starring DUB FX, Susheela Raman and more. Their content struck a chord with Star World, who were looking to air the works of more Indian production houses.

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‘Minds without Fear’ - A well produced piece of music that layers Imogen’s characteristic electro falsetto (along with her attempting lines in Hindi, of course) with muted folk vocals by Vishal and the usage various Rajasthani folk instruments.

Behind The Reel: The show in itself is a brilliantly crafted masterpiece. The cinematography truly brings out the beauty and character of every location the musicians visit. From the exotic Samodh Palace in the Pilot episode, to the lush Panshet Valley – it is evident that no expense has been spared to ensure enormous visual appeal & exposure of culture (read jaw dropping equipment, instruments, technicalities). Dewarists prides itself on being an original travelogue/documentary, but they seem to have conveniently forgotten efforts such as One Giant Leap and its many offshoots

Who’s Buying This Meal? So who is this show for and how are they receiving it? From my immediate peer group, I was able to find close to fifteen people that followed this show. Their reasons ranged from “Full happiness it gives” to “I’ll watch anything with Monica Dogra in it!” And there you have it. The 20 something, working, English TV consuming Indian Audience that grew up listening to bands ranging from The Beatles to Arcade Fire.

Tracking Down The Appeal The most important part of this show, in my opinion is the way it has been marketed. The visuals are stunning, although the depth of the content is questionable. The artists themselves don’t say anything particularly inspiring or thought provoking. Monica Dogra herself attracts a sizeable audience, but her monologues are easy to do without. Dewarists manages to dominate Google searches, and has over 12,000 likes on their Facebook page. In the words of Samira “The feedback has been overwhelming. We’re just being honest about what we do, and we’re doing things the way we would like to see television being made in India, and people are starting to agree with us. I can’t think of anybody who has said anything negative about it.”

So, Dewarists Worth A Dekho? Why not? If this is what is paving the way for Indian Independent music to become more mainstream, embrace it, support it, buy the CD that they plan to release – even if it makes you a cringe a little inside.


Sandhya Ramachandran

TECHNOTALK

DJ Richard Durand spins it easy as he talks about his beginnings, the Indian experience & his recent toast to India with his latest CD! Most fascinating/ridiculous thing you’ve experienced in India? “On my first tour in India, in 1997, I once saw a perfectly sane lady continuously wiping the roundabout. I didn’t get the point because moments later, it would be full of litter again. Then someone told me that she wasn’t really employed, but enjoys doing this because it gives her a sense of belonging. To me, this self-conscious employment is fascinating, That’s quite optimistic compared to people who get welfare payments handed out to them by the Dutch Government. This, according to me, is also a part of India.”

Take us through your beginnings. “I was in the armed forces for 4-5 years since I turned 18, but ever since, I knew I wanted to be involved with music. And slowly but surely, people started liking what I was doing.”

The burgeoning DJ scene in the Netherlands! What’s the secret about you Dutch guys?

In Search Of Sunrise 9 India It’s a compilation CD started by Dutch heavyweight Tiesto. Taken over by Durand in 2010, here’s what he had to say about the album: It is a CD where only new and unreleased productions are being used. The atmosphere had to be just right – not too deep, not too light, something open. It’s actually a very big album with a lot of producers. For example, the intro in CD1, Lost Stories, is by Prayag and Rishabh from India. I saw them at Sunburn last year and asked them to work on it with me. And with many other influences, you can say that this is pretty much dedicated to you all in India. To win his latest album, just answer this simple question & email your answers to contactus@highonscore.com: Which was the last country focus in the In Search Of Sunrise series? a. South Africa b. China c. South America

Interview: Siddharth Mehta

“There’s no such thing like that. Yes, there are a lot of good producers in Amsterdam, and people begin to think that the music that comes out from there is automatically good. That’s not true. There are also a LOT of good DJs and producers from countries like Russia, Germany, Romania, Japan etc.”

You know you have a great audience when... “When they are completely in sync with the music. It’s hard to describe but you can feel it. Its when you look at the audience and you seem to be following just one person, but suddenly, everyone else in that audience becomes that person, and everyone is having a great time with the music. It’s a very intuitive feeling.”

3 most indispensible things in your studio: “Electricity. Good technical tools – machines, software, peripherals etc. And Red Bull.”

3 things you can’t do without on a desert island. “Company. Doesn’t matter if it is a guy or a girl. You want someone to talk to. A piano. Electronic instruments won’t work. Iphone. But that may already be there before I get there.”

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Vandana Srinivasan Upcoming playback singer & front woman of Tamil band Stacatto, is our Artist Of The Month! She talks to us in detail about why she loves doing what she does, the challenges, the perks & lots more. Catch the interview on www.highonscore.com. For now though, feast your eyes!

#61, Usman Road, T.Nagar, Chennai 600 017

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PHONE: 044-24342744

http://www.srikumaranstores.in

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Photography: Bhagath Kumar Stylist: Sandhya Ramachandran Wardrobe: Sri Kumaran Stores Hair & Makeup: Page 3


a rtiste of the month

Plot #190, Villupuram Main ROAD, JAWAHAR NAGAR, PUDUCHERRY - 605005

PHONE: 0413 - 2201616, 2202626 The

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Dr. Mandar V. Bichu

BOLLYWOOD RETROSPECT

SHAMMI KAPOOR His times, his music

As Prithviraj Kapoor’s son and Raj Kapoor’s brother, it was considered merely a matter of time before Shamsher Raj aka Shammi Kapoor entered Hindi films. He dutifully fulfilled those expectations by debuting in Jeevan Jyoti (1953).

B

ut he soon found out that carving his own niche as a hero was not at all easy. As one after another, his early films bit the dust at the box-office, Shammi was left soul-searching to find his true métier as an actor. And when he found that in Nassir Hussain-film Tumsa Nahi Dekha (1957), there was no stopping him. A rebel star was born and the ‘60s were never to be the same again! For long Shammi had tried unsuccessfully to fit into the conventions set by the reigning troika of Dilip Kumar (the eternal tragedy-king), Raj Kapoor (the Chaplin-esque vagabond) and Dev Anand (the perpetual chocolate hero). Now he would set his own rules and make his own norms. So out went the old Shammi, the soft, sophisticated, sentimental lover sporting longish hair and in came the new Shammi, the raw, robust romantic aggressor, showing off a duck-tailed hairstyle a la Elvis Presley and James Dean. He became a hero who fully embodied the wacky Junglee-Jaanwar-Battameez-Pagla Kahin Ka spirit. This new Shammi did what no other hero had done earlier. He swayed, sashayed and sizzled while singing songs on screen. He became the first dancing star of Bollywood. And yes, he also made ‘Yahoo…’ a war-cry for macho lovers! The way he smiled, the way he pouted and the way he looked into the heroine’s eyes - everything was infectious simply because it was fresh, fun and flamboyant. Even his

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famed dances were never choreographed; on the dancefloor, he just needed a catchy melody and a zingy beat and then he rock ’n’ rolled his way into countless hearts. In the realms of classic Bollywood music, Shammi Kapoorsongs have become a genre by itself. Racy, robust, rhythmic and romantic numbers composed by the master composers like O.P. Nayyar, Shankar- Jaikishan, Ravi, Usha Khanna and R.D. Burman added their own magic to this rebel star’s screen persona. And how could I forget Mohammed Rafi, the most important cog in the wheel? Even though other singers like Talat Mahmood (Aasmanwale teri duniya se jee ghabaraa gayaa), Manna Dey (Chham chham baaje re paayaliya), Mukesh (Socha thaa pyar hum naa karenge), Hemant Kumar (Aye dil ab kahin le jaa) and Kishore Kumar (Saaat saheliyan khadi khadi) occasionally playbacked for Shammi; it was Rafi’s voice which really gave soul and spirit to the star’s on-screen image through many unforgettable songs. Without the flight and fervor of Rafi-songs such as Ayyaya karoon main kya Suku Suku, Aye gulbadan, Badan pe sitaare lapete huye and O haseena zulfonwali jaanejahan, can anyone ever think of Shammi Kapoor? Shammi Kapoor, Mohd. Rafi and their songs have become inseparable, from each other and from the swinging 60s that they represented.


Shruthi Joshua

We breakdown bands citywide! Who they are, Why they’re on the list, How they got so cool & some confidential other stuff – & ALL this, keeping in mind your short attention span! You can get audio visual evidence of their musical misdeeds on www.highonscore.com. Guwahati

Lucid Recess Alternative Metal/Rock

Hyderabad

Skrypt

Progressive Thrash/Death Metal

Kolkata

FOSSILS

Blues, Grunge, Hard/Alternative Rock, Psychedelia

Who? Dudes with long hair.

Who? Dudes with not so long hair.

Who? Bong rockers.

Why? Their kickass new single Wireless Junkies and the hypnotic rush that it is.

Why? Because we need our dose of Thrash metal and its variants and the bass in Supremacy is killer.

How? A bubbling cauldron other than the usual instruments.

How? Pens and chisels because plucks and sticks are for sissies.

Why? They’ve crossed the language barrier with their music (and without a FB band page for most of that time! *gasp*) and have been making it look like cake walk for thirteen years now.

Deep dark secret: They frequent broomstick stores when they aren’t jamming and the broomsticks are not for cleaning purposes.

Deep dark secret: They have back masked the message “We’d make Schwarzenegger look like a little girl if you made us underwear models” in all their tracks.

Chennai

Bangalore

PUNE

Allegro Fudge

Silver Progressive Rock

83HardMPH Rock

Folk rock and Allegro Fudge (they claim their sound is their genre)

How? Roshogollas between every song (Their medicinal value has been proven to us.) Deep dark secret: Two out of the five band members hate fish! That’s Bong blasphemy we tell you.

Who? The Fast & The Furious.

Who? The fudge terminators.

Who? Sunglass wearers.

Why? Their influences include Grits and Mudvayne - yep, in the same list - and they actually bring to the table this mixed taste and manage to sound awesome. AND they blew minds at NLS recently.

Why? They have an album coming out real soon and their latest single Adrift is pensive and Knopfler-perfect for those rainy days.

Why? Check out Enough. Enough said.

How? By taking the wheel. And never ramming the brakes. Not so accidental that they’re on our list eh? Ooooh yeah. Deep dark secret: Their favourite sport is to drive around Chennai at 83 MPH and try to touch every tree they pass.

How? Custom made sets of teeth and spoons for allegedly musical reasons. Deep dark secret: They have deep freezes above the false ceiling in their garage to hoard fudge in case Karnataka ever banned sugary goodness too.

How? Silver bullets embedded in instruments and guitars that double as guns Deep dark secret: They have undergone DNA testing to find out if they were werewolves and since the results were negative, the resentful affinity towards silver.

P.S Though our entire list seems to have been motivated by umm other than sound musical reasons, we assure you these are bands you have to check out. We did receive death threats from many others but our journalistic integrity wouldn’t allow us to serve you rubbish. Watch out for more cool bands as we patrol the cities in this new segment!

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WHEN IT RAINS IT

November soaked us (we mean our wallets) dry with one fest trickling to the next! Some were good, some not so much but we gave all of them a whirl

THE MOST HYPED Bacardi NH7 Weekender 2011, Magarpatta City, Pune

5 stages, with more than 50 bands playing live, was what we expected. Upon arrival - 6 stages and a makeshift ‘club’, with more than 70 individual artists and acts! All of which were to perform live concurrently. How on earth were we supposed to cover all of it, especially when big names like Raghu Dixit, Pentagram, as well as Motherjane, Shaa’ir & Func and Indian Ocean, were all slated to play simultaneously? Armed with the miraculous boon of teleportation, we managed to part the crowds and ford the hordes to bring you the highlights of each and every stage! A crisp & cutting report of what we witnessed:

@ The Pepsi Dub Station:

@ The Dewarists Stage:

Earthshaking bass and beats, psychedelic graffiti feats. Dreadlocks, tattoos and piercings galore, epic rap jams with reggae at its core. AND a surprise reunion of Zero, from the days of lore. Could we ask for more?

@ The Other Stage:

Acoustic performances showcasing sociopolitical satire. Rockstars unveiling their sensitive sides, rebels announcing their nonconformity. Spearheading fashion trends through headgear and hairdos.

@ The Bacardi Together Stage:

@ The Bacardi Black Rock Arena:

A giant ferris wheel used as a giant screen for playing a modified “Papa Kehte Hain” montage. All notable artists performing together on one stage, collaborating together, like never before. Many different styles of music, all coming together, resonating within the onlookers a feeling of oneness, despite differences in backgrounds, influences and preferences.

THE MOST OZZUM THE OCTOBER FEST! KTPO Grounds, Whitefield Bangalore

THE SLIGHT LETDOWN STRAWBERRY FIELDS

This was right about the peak of Nov’s Rain of fests. With Storm cancelling out & chaos reigning supreme, Octoberfest was the biggest winner! It took a day for people to rework mindsets & ticketing issues but Day 2 & Day 3 were pretty darn kickass. Kudos to Poets of the Fall for re-instating faith in international acts, post the Metallican disaster!

The National Law School put up a 3-day, erm well equipped show – lights, screens et al. Too bad most of Bangalore didn’t turn up in huge numbers for this one. Rudra, however, was a revelation - Vedic death metal; who would have thought? Neon lights, earthy chants & a beat most raw, Rudra slapped in a frenetic zeal.

Scribe’s officially endorsed Pav Bhaji stands, T-shirts and scarecrow mascots. Enough hair to keep Tirupati Balaji’s prestigious wig weavers busy for generations. Mosh pits and walls of death and incessant headbanging, even during sound checks. Real fans rocking real hard.

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A crash course in cultural anthropology sponsored by Scottish whiskey, encouraging a careful circumspection of one’s inner soul and immense audience participation. Unity in diversity, comprising victorious Assamese boat racing songs, Himalayan toking tunes, Kannada singing lessons, Persian incantations and exotic musical instruments.

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Photography: Anushya Badrinath, Saumya Iyer, Praveen R, Ashwath Nair, Parizad D, Subhan Sheikh, George Vedamanickam


POURS!

Events

THE LAZIEST The Big Mushroom Cloud Festival

THE MOST DIVERSE India Music Week

Tucked away in Whitefield, TBMC got off to a slow start. Opener Totem was a visible misfit. ‘Experimental rock’ had no place in a gathering that was determined to just chill. Mushroom Lake’s laidback ambient music was worth checking out. Youth spunk came in the form of Stuck In November. Shifting comfortably between heavy and ambient sounds. Adam & The Fish Eyed Poets, Peter Cat Recording Co, Adil & Vasundara were among the bigger, better acts that got TBMC out of its lull as the night drew nearer.

Delhi, Mumbai & Bangalore got to witness a mix of music for a week – jazz, fusion, rock, you name it! And a prime part was the conference held at the capital, discussing the Indian independent music scene today with esteemed members like Arundati Ghosh, Sahil Makhija, Raghu Dixit & Ehsaan Noorani as part of the panel.

Get Giggy With It: Our Picks!

Rehman & Rockstar Co.

Cry For Freedom

Jaco Pastorius

ScoreTastic! Metal Mayhem - 83MPH, Crypted & Djinn’s Lament

HardCORE! Metalheads and adventurous others let their hair down (and back up & down & back up…) to this deadly set.

Motherjane

Usha Uthup

Electro With Sapta

The first of its kind, a night dedicated to electro was helmed by Marti Bharath & was rather well received!

South American Night With Che

Chennai’s movers & groovers took the forefront. Special mention to ‘hat guy’ as he literally swept many a lady off her feet! The

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Tribute Night: John Mayer & Eric Clapton

Tails On Fire

It was an acoustic night to remember with some brilliant guitaring & wonderful vocals. Also, the most packed Score night of last month!

The stage was set ablaze with these reckless, rebellious rockers fresh after their Chennai Live victory! Special mention to Liquid Measure for the sizzling start.

HARK YE, VOOLIGANS! This December Mood Indigo brought you Livewire for semi pro bands & Karnivool, the Gods of Progressive Rock for their first ever concert in India as headliners of the Livewire Nite. The complete lowdown, in the next issue!

SUNBURN 2011 YOU KNOW YOU GOTTA BE THERE! BURN IT UP!: 27th, 28th, 29th December, Goa: It’s Bigger. Better. Louder.

SEVEN STAGES! Besides the four main stages (for trance, house, techno & psy), there will be three small stages with one dedicated to live bands! VVIP! Sunburn gets super exclusive with VVIP tables for all those with bottomless pockets. ‘THE GITANJALI BALL’ Gitanjali (the sponsor powering this shindig) is making a crystal ball in the shape of the Sunburn logo & ensuring that the power remains with you. ALL 3 days! SUNBURN BIKE! Verdanchi is making a Sunburn Chopper especially for the festival; a black Easy Rider in Goa - VROOOOM YEAH! ENVIRONMENT AHOY! Leave No Trace (a CSSR initiative), Live Library, a 5 min blackout – it’s a music festival with a conscience! ARENA ARENA! With Arena gigs this time, even with 5000 people, an excellent view is being promised to each one.

CAFÉ SUNBURN! Cafés are going to be coming up in Mumbai & Goa - a strategic step towards taking the brand beyond the festival. SUNBURN CONTEST! Sunburn takes you and your pal to Goa, puts y’all in a hotel, & then you get to say HI onstage in front of thousands of people in what will be the most epic moment of your lives. And then you’re dropped back home. GET HITCHED! A lucky couple will exchange rings on the main stage at 6pm on 28th December. Your fiancée/fiancé shall make sandwiches for you uncomplainingly for the rest of your lives. N OF COURSE, THE M-M-M-UUU-SIC-SIC-SIC-SIC…. Over 90 EDM artists including international acts like Axwell, Avicii, Infected Mushroom, Skazi, Markus Schulz & loads more!

DECEMBER MAASAM, MARGAZHI MAASAM! The Margazhi festival was started way back in 1927, as an event to commemorate the founding of Madras Music Academy in the month of December. Fifty-three organizations conducted 60 festivals in a period of 117 days. They presented a total of 1604 music & dance performances in this period. It’s safe to say that Margazhi, which is December, is a good time with all classical music aficionados in Chennai. In 2011-2012, we have a host of young people filling up the prestigious sabhas of the city, stepping into their senior’s classical chappals. Popular venues are the Narada Gana

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Sabha, Kartik Fine Arts, Kalakshetra & The Music Academy amongst others. Concurrently, concerts will also be happening at temples and public parks. To get daily updates, we suggest you check out kutcheris. com! It gives you the full schedule for all events, so that you don’t get your veshtis/pavadais dirty whilst running from one sabha to another! So, fingers crossed and mridangams at ready for the most immense fun you’ve ever had this December!


mic +

VINEETH VINCENT

=

BOOM

POW!

BOOM

Nilankur Dutta

Premier Beatboxer from Bangalore, Vineeth Vincent traces the rhythm of his journey and tells us what keeps the beat going!

Music was my crutch to get over gaming (for The Noob) Beatboxing = Vocal percussion

“It’s been good,” says Vineeth Vincent, when I catch him over a plate of half eaten chow mien at our local Tibetan joint. “Don’t wait up,” he warns me, “takes me a while to eat.” And over noodles and coke, we talk about his seven-hundred gigs.

“I don’t stand for any artists doing work for free, I think people should raise their egos just a little bit.” He refers to music as his job. “It’s difficult to do what I do and charge money because so many people are doing it for free. Its basically doing what I love doing and making a decent living out of it.”

WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU’RE INDIA’S 1ST SWINGIN’ IN THE RECORDS! BEATBOXER? He started off in 2008, doing 40 shows in 30 days and having his voice out of commission for some time. He is self-taught and he says it’s both a good and a bad thing. “I don’t copy other musicians, but due to this (being self-taught) earlier, I didn’t know how to preserve my voice.” He has steadied up since then. “I get twenty to twenty-five gigs every month, and most of them want me to play for free. The thing is, we are trying to figure out a way, and even if you are a socially upright organization you need to find out a way to operate in a capitalist market.”

Until recently, he held the Guinness record for largest human beat box ensemble at Christ University Bangalore. “Got a lot of calls from a lot of booking agents,” he says about the time when he just made it, “But it’s more about a community working together to make something beautiful; thousands of people in one place coming together to achieve one goal.” His record was only recently broken by the English beat boxer Shlomo at Dublin. “We’ll get it back maybe. Population is our strong point. For every two thousand we’ll have some twenty forty lakhs.”

WHAT MADE VINEETH NOD TO THE BEAT?

THE PULSE OF HIS DREAMS

I ask him why he started beat boxing instead of wanting to don leather pants and a snazzy electric guitar. “Basically I couldn’t sing as well as others could,” he laughs. He took a year off after twelfth grade to explore what he calls ‘this music direction.’ He started off performing at coffee shops, (here he waves his hand in the general direction of Qwikys), as well as working as an em cee.“I’m the kind of em cee who gets to the venue before time, so I’d have a impeccable sound system and absolutely nobody there. So I picked up the mic and started fooling around. And I realized I could do more with the mic than just talk.”

He has just founded a new company called SideStepSolutions (all in one word, all the s’s are in capital, he warns me.) “Basically I’m a little tired of people calling me for gigs and I want to find a way through which musicians can find a way to sustain themselves in India.” He doesn’t want musicians to hold down an alternate job, “If you’re a musician and you’ve worked so many years in developing your talent, you should be paid for it.” Basically he wants to connect musicians to venues where they can play. “It’ll be difficult, but it WILL work,” he says with fierce optimism. Plan for the future, I ask him, and he talks about tying up with other artists. “Bangalore has some killer talent,” he says, referring to LiveBanned and All The Fat Children. “They are that good.” And “Fat”, adds his friend Nakul. And with that he dives back to the last of his uneaten noodles.

THE TEMPO OF HIS SUCCESS & THE TRUTH BEHIND IT “The reason I got so many gigs is because I charged so less”, he says, “I charged less because I didn’t want to play for free.” Playing for free is something he feels strongly for (or against).

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Celebrating Some Good It’s been nearly 95 years since Thelonious Sphere Monk revolutionized modern music. We rummage through the life & times of one of the most talked about and least understood artists in the history of jazz. One of the most inventive pianists of any musical genre, Monk achieved a startlingly original sound that even his most devoted followers have been unable to successfully imitate. At the same time, his commitment to originality in all aspects of life--in fashion, in his creative use of language and economy of words, in his biting humor, even in the way he danced away from the piano - has led fans and detractors alike to call him “eccentric,” “mad” or even “taciturn.”

Minton’s: The Birthplace of Bebop The legend of Monk had its beginnings in 1935, when he took a job as a pianist for a traveling evangelist and faith healer. Returning after two years, he formed his own quartet and played in local bars and small clubs until the spring of 1941, when drummer Kenny Clarke hired him as the house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem. Minton’s, legend has it, was where the bebop revolution began. The after-hour jam sessions at Minton’s, attracted a new generation of musicians brimming with fresh ideas about harmony and rhythm. Monk’s harmonic innovations proved fundamental to the development of modern jazz in this period. Anointed by some critics as the “High Priest of Bebop,” several of his compositions - 52nd Street Theme, Round Midnight, Epistrophy - were favorites among his contemporaries.

In addition to his unique phrasing and economy of notes, Monk would ‘lay out’ pretty regularly, enabling his sidemen to experiment free of the piano’s fixed pitches. As a composer, Monk was less interested in writing new melodic lines over popular chord progressions than in creating a whole new architecture for his music, one in which harmony and rhythm melded seamlessly with the melody. “Everything I play is different,” Monk once explained, “different melody, different harmony, different structure. Each piece is different from the other… The song tells a story, when it gets a certain sound, then it’s through… completed.”

Notes From The Blue Monk remained fairly marginal during the 1940s and early 50s. Besides occasional gigs with bands led by Kenny Clarke, Lucky Millinder and the like, in 1944 tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins was the first to hire Monk for a lengthy engagement and the first to record with him. Most critics and many musicians were initially hostile to Monk’s sound. Blue Note, then a small record label, was the first to sign him to a contract. Thus, by the time he went into the studio to lead his first recording session in 1947, he was already thirty years old and a veteran of the jazz scene for nearly half of his life. What resulted, in collaboration with both novice and veteran musicians was Blue Notes sides: lauded as Monk’s greatest work today, but a colossal commercial failure at that time.

Piano Prowess:

You’ve Got To Hand It To Monk! As much as Monk helped usher in the bebop revolution, he also charted a new course for modern music. Contrary to the right hand oriented pianists of the bebop era, Monk combined an active right hand with an equally active left hand, fusing stride and angular rhythms that utilized the entire keyboard (not the electronic kind). And in an era when fast, dense, virtuosic solos were the order of the day, Monk was famous for his use of space and silence.

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ol’ Monk Down By The Riverside, Until The Columbia Climb In 1955, Monk signed with a new label, Riverside, and recorded several outstanding LP’s which garnered critical attention, notably Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington, The Unique Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners, Monk’s Music and his second solo album, Thelonious Monk Alone. At 1957, with a successful engagement at the Five Spot Café, his career began to soar. It was as if jazz audiences had finally caught up to Monk’s music.

Ashwath Nair

Today Thelonious Monk is widely accepted as a genuine master of American music. His musical vision was both ahead of its time and deeply rooted in tradition, spanning the entire history of the music from the stride masters of James P. Johnson and Willie “the Lion” Smith to the tonal freedom and kinetics of the avant garde. He shares with Edward “Duke” Ellington the distinction of being one of the century’s greatest American composers.

By 1961, Monk had established a more or less permanent quartet with whom he performed at The Lincoln Center (1963), at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and toured Europe and Japan. In 1962, Monk had also signed with Columbia Records, one of the biggest labels in the world, and in February of 1964 he became the third jazz musician in history to grace the cover of Time Magazine.

Fame: A Fickle Companion However, with fame came the media’s growing fascination with Monk’s alleged eccentricities. Stories of his behavior on and off the bandstand often overshadowed serious commentary about his music. The media helped invent the mythical Monk--the reclusive, naïve, idiot savant whose musical ideas were supposed to be entirely intuitive rather than the product of intensive study, knowledge and practice. During the 1960s, Monk scored notable successes with albums such as Criss Cross, Monk’s Dream, It’s Monk Time, Straight No Chaser, and Underground. But as Columbia/CBS records pursued a younger, rock-oriented audience, Monk’s music ceased to be a priority for the label. Monk’s final recording with Columbia was a big band session with Oliver Nelson’s Orchestra in November of 1968, which turned out to be both an artistic and commercial failure. Columbia’s disinterest and Monk’s deteriorating health kept the pianist out of the studio and two years later Columbia quietly dropped Monk from its roster. For the next few years, Monk accepted fewer engagements and recorded even less. But through 1972, Monk toured widely with the “Giants of Jazz,” a kind of bop revival group consisting of Dizzy Gillespie, Kai Winding, Sonny Stitt, Al McKibbon and Art Blakey, and made his final public appearance in July of 1976. Physical illness, fatigue, and perhaps sheer creative exhaustion convinced Monk to give up playing altogether. On February 5, 1982, he suffered a stroke and never regained consciousness; twelve days later, on February 17th, he breathed his last.

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ARE YOU READY TO GET

GAGGED?

4 young guns. 1 seasoned, booming cannon. A full arsenal of riffs, melodies and attitude. A battalion with a mission to break barriers and change conventions. 34

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QUALITY GUITAR CRAFTED BY HARMONY MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (Madras) PVT.LTD. VISIT

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FACTS & FI

URES

Average age of band: 21. Average age of the band without Sid: 18. So what’s Sid’s age? You do the math. It’s not that simple, we warn you. Average college attendance record: 0.74% Not believable? Consider their touring record within the month of November itself, playing at big events like the Octoberfest in Bangalore, NH7 in Pune. Besides, why go to school when you can teach the Indian audience more about your own brand of music? We fully agree.

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Photography: Parizad D


Siddharth Mehta

A

n emerging Mumbai-based band, Goddess Gagged draws its name from a Protest The Hero song. Listen to their music, and you can pick up on some distinct progressive motivations, but with the band’s own trademark touches.Initially influenced by psychedelia, the bandmates put their heads together and decided to do something new.

Something unheard of in the contemporary Indian Rock Music scene. This is their story.

CHAPTER 1:

THE BE

INING

Just like in Christopher Nolan’s namesake, Goddess Gagged came together in bits and pieces. And tracing their history takes a little bit of time travel. Arman Menzies, one of the guitarists, goes down memory lane, and explains, in between pokes and jabs, how he met Krishna Jhaveri, the bassist, during one of many random jam sessions in 2009. Playing around and switching instruments for fun, they met Jeremy D’Souza, the drummer, through mutual musically driven friends. Along came Devesh Dayal, the other guitarist, in a similar setting. The quartet, united by their youthful energy and common inspirations, started playing together. They then met Siddharth Basrur, a veteran vocalist, in September 2010, while he was performing a Karnivool cover on his birthday. The moment couldn’t be any better; with that instantaneous synergistic spark, Goddess Gagged was conceived. Since then, casting aside all age and creative differences, and fusing together their common ideals, the quintet has been breaking the mold of music in Mumbai. And how.

OING-OVER THE SOUND

CHAPTER 2:

Influences: Karnivool, Deftones, Periphery, TesseracT, Porcupine Tree, Josh Homme and many more. They have a simple formula: don’t follow any formulas. Which means they discard all standard timings and versechorus-verse patterns. Cast away the pigeonholed roles of lead and rhythm guitars. Leave out all unnecessary growling and double-bass overkill. Instead, they write their songs by weaving together polyrhythmic melodies and complex time signatures around rock-solid soundscapes, featuring liberal usage of palm muting and distorted chords, supported by deep and driving bass lines. They merge together clean melodic bridges, ambient interludes and crunchy headbanging riffs, juxtaposed with time-shifts and varying beat counts. Their music is like a blend of djent, progressive rock, metal and hardcore, without really being like any one genre in particular. Too confusing/technical? Perhaps. Kickass? Beyond. Fun? Check out a live performance sometime to clear your doubts. Don’t just take our word for it. Their debut album “Resurfaces” was released right after their performance at the NH7 Weekender Festival in November. Buy it. Try it. Don’t blame us for becoming addicted to it.

CHAPTER 3:

THE

OOFY

What are their hobbies? Jamming at 3rd Step Jam Room, videotaping pranks on each other and putting them up on YouTube, jamming at Colour Compound, stinking up Sid’s car with the smell of Cheetos, more jamming, leaving behind junk food packaging in Sid’s car, poking each other in the ribs, even more jamming. Oh, we almost forgot. Jamming.

Krishna Jhaveri

Jeremy D’souza

Arman Menzies

Siddharth Basrur

Devesh Dayal

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INDIE

Each of our writers check out the latest indie albums to hit shelves & get their critique on!

Reviews BLAAZE: Hip-Hop’s Time For Gandhi GENRE: Hip Hop

REVIEWED BY: Brindaa Lakshmi

G

andhi is coming back home in style folks! Think Hip-Hop & some smashing desi beats. On the opening note, it may sound like familiar anglo-desi music but wait till you hear this one again. Hip-hop in his style of music and new age in his words, this man has trodden far away from the usual beaten to death “love and heartbreak” songs in this album. In Time for Gandhi, he is talking big; he is talking change, the real change that India needs from corruption, poverty and more. Unlike the cool HipHop rants used in many Bollywood numbers, may be it is time, this genre saw the light of its day as the music of the masses. The Indian Pledge takes its turn to be used in a new avatar, a probable makeover. Inquilab, another track composed by Prince Ali has also been featured in this album giving a more wholesome Indian flavour. But in the words of Blaaze, this album has been created to express all our problems in a way

where all of us can “listen to it, dance to it, drive to it”. Of course, the real take off is with the track, A Leader with its groovy beats and hardcore Desi twist. And giving no second thoughts, it is Ban the Crooked Police that steals the show taking the album to the next level. With a gentle mix of Latino and Carnatic tunes, this one resonates finer sounds and familiar public frustrations against the corrupt cops. It looks like, this ‘rebel with a cause’ definitely has something promising for every Indian listener.

TOP PICKS: Time For Gandhi, A leader and Ban the Crooked Police (highly recommended).

SIFAR: 1 GENRE: Hindi Pop Rock

REVIEWED BY: Shruthi Joshua

W

hat happens when two small town boys come to big bad Delhi, never really get used to their corporate lives but are secretly great songwriters? If they happen to be Amit Yadav and Anshul Bansal, they start the band Sifar (meaning zero in Urdu) and call their debut album 1. The opening track Main Jaaonga is one of those songs you catch yourself humming in the shower. Enough to make me look forward to the rest of the album but it also left me praying they had more than feel good to offer. The problem with feel good pop is that you’re tired of it pretty soon but the very next one Roko Na Mujhe proved the big guy up there loves me and evidently Sifar too. The next few tracks are more rock, have a darker tone and leave an impression. They have a very interesting sound (look out for the use of synths in their intros and interludes) and they sure as hell make the cut in Indie/pop/alternative rock. The

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only real disappointments in the album were Aakhiri Din, which sounded so much like the Bollywood songs playing on the radio and Commonwealth Insaan which was as an annoying reminder of Blink 182. If I don’t talk about the lyrics, I’d be guilty of ignoring the best part of the album because it is the icing to their music. If you can forgive their few clichés, they have very heartfelt lyrics and the vocalist, Amit Yadav, brings them alive. I personally think what brings this Hindi album closer home is this relatable-ity factor. Final verdict? Great debut album. Definitely deserves a listen if you love Hindi pop rock. They could just be the next Silk Route.

TOP PICKS: Main Jaaonga and Raasta/Kala Aasman


DALER MEHNDI: TUNAK TUNAM TUMBA GENRE: Bhangra

REVIEWED BY: Hitha Gujjar

T

he album features 13 tracks with creative titles such as ‘Dum Ba Dum’, (no, not Bumm da Bumm), ‘Ghoda’ and something that is catching up ‘Sheila Ho Ya Munni’ which was interestingly, an extempore spoof song that was created at a show in New Zealand.

Tunak Tunak Tumba has a variety of tracks, a few romantic ones being ‘Ye Adaa’ and ‘Deewani’, ‘Dum Ba Dum’ and ‘Cheen Se Jeenae Do’ being signature Daler Mehndi tracks - read explosive energy, out-of-the-planet-sound-effects and hyperactive dancers (perhaps). You can look forward to the experimental ‘Bawli Tared’; he sings in Haryanvi for the first time. Ghoda has a very reggae feel to it with a hoof clop sound effect, neighs and not to forget the lyrics. Chaen Se Jeenae does makes you wonder if you’re listening to Daler Mehndi or someone else, its groovy, romantic and reminds you of the 90’s. Kann Phadlo is Daler Mehndi’s way of speaking out against social issues. Jogi is an authentic Bhangra

track, which can be considered the masterpiece of the album. Don’t worry about learning the lyrics - its just Jogi. What is sure to make you smile is the last song of the album the legendary Tunak Tunak (reprise)- its 1998 all over again and the craze that this song created; Tunaking [the act of listening to Daler Mehndi and not being able to stop yourself from dancing], is intoxicating and highly addictive. He gives you this song again as “gratitude to his fans”. All in all, it’s a mixed bag with romantic tracks, parody of parodies and songs that make your body groove. A good try at a come back!

TOP PICKS: Tunak Tunak (reprise) and Jogi, Ghoda.

Harsha Iyer: Curious Toys GENRE: Alternative Rock/Post Punk Reformation

REVIEWED BY: Nilankur Dutta

A

few words: The cover art of Curious Toys is Harsha Iyer popping his eyeball with a fork. This would be a great way to begin if the album was bad, but it is not. You expect his intermittent Marvin-the-Martian-techno bits to be discordant and zap his musical harmony with a laser gun. But they don’t. You’d think that his very Jefferson Airplane-sque song “Off Switch” to be an exercise in failed psychedelic. But it isn’t. The best thing about this 19-year-old singer-songwriter’s debut album is that it is pleasantly like a hammer-blow to the head. And it is quite brilliant at that. I do not think that this eyeball-popper was aiming at a Christmas album, but on a rainswept December Saturday

afternoon, that is kind of what it sounds like. The quietly melodic tracks blend into each other after a while, but each one stands individually is incandescent in its own light. Like Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe forming a synchronized swimming team. It is, simply put, an album with a unifying theme, and quite unlike anything I have seen recently. Now, it is a different thing that I’m not quite sure what the theme really is.

TOP PICKS: Off Switch, No Say and On The Edge

Euphoria : Item GENRE: Pop

REVIEWED BY: Nilankur Dutta

T

he good thing about Euphoria is that even when they’re not good, they are imminently listenable. You can, for instance, listen to them while cleaning your room, or smoking a cigarette and watching the smoke curl up. Their characteristic gentle guitar riffs and upbeat vocals somehow only affect that unfocussed part of the brain which had been drumming its fingers, getting bored all this time and makes it go, say, dhoom pichuk dhoom. Item, their 2011 album, is no different. It is perhaps the best kind of white noise there is. Incredible music for when you don’t really want to listen to music. They are brilliant at spotches: for instance at the first track ‘Akeli’ or the unabashedly cheerful ‘Item.’ It will make you tap your feet and wonder at yourself. I also liked ‘Sajna’ but I did not find it lonely, dark OR sexually tense. The other songs are: ‘Mere Dost Mere Bhai’ (Standard Obligatory Friendship Staple), ‘Ram Ali’ (Standard God Staple) and a couple of others.

They are all mostly good even when they are forgettable. They leave you with a good feeling. That said they do have their, erm, moments. But really, not as bad as you’d expect a song called ‘C U Later’. My favourite song from the album, though, is this little number called ‘Dukeli’. It was perhaps a broken file on my copy but all that survived of the track was this lilting little refrain of whistles which ends abruptly. It is brilliant in that it makes you think, unlike any of the other songs. Fun Euphoria fact: Check out dhoom.com where they have little introductions on all the music, explaining its background. Pretty cool.

TOP PICKS: Akeli, Item and Dukeli

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SURAJ JAGAN: Back To My Future GENRE: Rock

REVIEWED BY: Shresht Poddar

S

uraj Jagan has given us chartbusters such as ‘Jaa Chudail’, ‘Karma Is A Bitch’ and the student-anthem ‘Give Me Some Sunshine’. Was it smart of him to record rehashed rock versions of Bollywood classics such as ‘Dum Maro Dum’ & ‘Rang Barse’ that have attained cult status?

Consisting of 9 tracks, the album opens up with ‘Dekha Na Hai Re’. More than a rock song, it sounded like any other fast-paced song composed today. Not a great start! ‘Yahoo! Chahe Koi Mujhe’ did the trick. I could totally imagine Suraj screaming ‘Yahoo’ with the vigor of a rock star. Expect this version to become huge! ‘Rafta Rafta’ is an enjoyable listen. Different, wacky and claiming to be nothing else, it works. A rock version - no, wait – a MALE version (with more emphasis on acoustics) of ‘Chura Liya’ caught my fancy. The Holi song ‘Rang Barse’ was up next. Opening with the words ‘drinking and driving, driving and drinking’, the song has a prominent goth element to it.

Even the stoner’s song ‘Dum Maro Dum’ wasn’t spared. Neither extraordinary nor down-right horrid, it didn’t make its presence felt. ‘Aaja Aaja’ left me dazed. The heavy dosage of really fast electric guitars temporarily numbed my brain but in a good way! Ending the album with ‘Pehla Nasha’, it was difficult to keep my earlier mental word of doing away with comparison. Perhaps because the original is my personal favorite, I was disappointed for this version didn’t invoke a single shred of emotion. So yes, comparisons are inevitable I guess. Yet, Suraj Jagan’s new album is a fantastic concept and works at times. Go for it!

TOP PICKS: Yahoo! Chahe Koi Mujhe, Mere Sapno Ki Rani and Rang Barse

Chandresh Kudwa: Conquerer GENRE: Instrumental

REVIEWED BY: Tara Thomas

T

he man behind the Blackberry mobile ad soundtrack has recently released his 2nd album. Chandresh picked up the guitar at 14, and as he says, there has been no turning back The album begins with the title track; replete with powerful riffs and slick guitar solos. The music is very reminiscent of an early Joe Satriani. The acoustic and soulful guitar/ukelele pieces which introduce songs like Blanket of Stars is what really sets apart Kudwa’s music, making them immediately recognizable. The album is a perfect blend of active and passive listening. One moment you can be completely absorbed by the music, and the next, begin your daily chores or take a nap – with well-crafted pieces to guide you through it all. However, what was disappointing about the album was how some songs (the G-Uke song) relied very heavily on technique, in spite

of having humble beginnings – which were more enjoyable. Another factor that could be looked into more is reducing the length of each piece. Inspite of my reservations, I would still applaud Chandresh for his genuine effort at creating a sound we can all relate to and sharing his vast knowledge, style and techniques with as many aspiring musicians as he can.

TOP PICKS: Blanket of Stars, Fighting Spirit and Edge of my Emotions

GODDESS GAGGED : Resurfaces (Score’s Band of the month) GENRE: Progressive Rock

REVIEWED BY: Paul Philip

M

y first impression of the band was in fact skepticism. But after all the good things I heard about them, I was prompted to give them a chance. And they blew my mind. Siddharth’s voice is strong yet melodic, the guitarists have their technique locked down & sail smooth on fretwork. I would still call it a well developed sound, despite the evident influences.

Track Review: TOP PICKS! (For best appreciation: Read this ADHD tinged review as you simultaneously play the album at stentorian volumes.)

Track 1 – Modern Machines Listening to this song reminds one of Alexisonfire and Atreyu with the vocal patterns -singing incorporated with growls. At 4 minutes a nice fade out, coming back in with an even better heavy riff. The ending however gets a little messy with the guitars and vocals.

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Track 2 – Rosemary’s Baby Great vocal harmonies, it’s a nice haunting sound, lulling you into sense of peace, the drumbeat steady and giving nothing away. The gentle picking is beautifully complemented with the rhythm coming back with full force. Extremely full. Track 3 - Visionary A lovely bass line, evidently crisper vocals and impeccable drumming technique - this powerhouse of a song really shows their caliber. That vocal processing; THAT is awesome! 2:39: WOW that moment was REALLY nice! 3:09: that nice low bass again – WOW! I place this on top the stack. My GG defining pick.



&

Rhia Bhattacharya

Quirks Queries with BlaaZé

Driven by altruism besides just passion, Blaazé is one artist who has combined socio-political issues and hip-hop with ease. A pioneer of sorts, we caught him on a blazin’ hot beat right after his ‘Time For Gandhi’ album release.

UNDERCOVER OPERATIONS BEFORE RAPPING I worked as a ‘blazer’ salesman for suiting’s, which lasted One Day, while studying in LA, and trying to pay my fees!

INDIAN ITEM I’D KEEP INTACT The traditions of every religion… so unique, intriguing and divine.

A PERSONAL PERFORMANCE BEYOND PAR My first time on stage with A R Rahman at the Unity of Light concert in Chennai, directed by Mani Rathnam. It was my experience of truly living my dreams…

3 UNDERRATED MUSICIANS Sagar Desai. Timmy Madhukar. Paul Jacob.

The KEY QUERY Would you say NRI’s have it easy? As an NRI you value the fact that we are all human, just trying to survive. No caste issues, no division. But on the flip side, you also realize that you do not fit in anywhere. At home, you are an NRI, and abroad you are a foreigner. So you are stuck between these two parallels. In Zambia, I was fortunate that my parents encouraged me to mix with my Zambian friends and do my breakdancing and rapping, whilst all other Indian kids were busy studying!!

STAR POWER IN THE REEL STORY OF YOUR LIFE Me, myself and I…

BLAAZÉ ON A MENU Vethekozhumbu !! The world’s greatest dish!

RAPID FIRE Bikes or Cars? Cars iPhone or Blackberry? iPhone Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

INGREDIENTS IN A PHAT HIP HOP VIDEO A real message. A Fat bassline. A great hookline.

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER

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Chilling at home babysitting my kids!! LINGO STAR in English, Tamil, Hindi, a little bit of French, a little bit of Bemba.



MT Adit ya

Svanubhava has gone from being an idea to an event to a movement. It is the student’s democratic renaissance for the classical arts. For there are no two ways about it - if classical music has to grow among the next gen, only the next gen can make it happen!’

- N Murali

FINE ART FOCUS:

Svanubhava Nearly thirty years ago, there was a serious concern that Carnatic music would die out rather soon. Those seem like unfounded worries today, going by the latest edition of Svanubhava. BIRTH OF YACM Classical Music Influence became more important than talent

crossing cultures?

The 80s were a time when India was getting rapidly filmy. Stalwarts were aging and audience interest was dropping - classical music couldn’t compete with all that drama. To make matters worse, the classical music scene involved more politics than the Tamil Nadu government. That is when Vijay Siva, R K Shriram Kumar, Unnikrishnan, Sanjay Subramanian and their peers decided to take action. They realized that no one was going to give them opportunities and so they decided to create their own. They started the Youth Association for Classical Music or YACM, which is even today, vibrant, enthusiastic and free of petty politics. The YACM literally spawned an entire generation of Carnatic musicians and brought the art form back from the mid 1980’s.

The efforts of the YACM largely however have been restricted to Carnatic music due to logistical constraints. But classical art forms in India face bigger problems as each is bound by geography and demography. There is very limited interaction between these cultures. I must emphasize here that fusion music or jugalbandhi concerts are not what I am referring to. A true interaction between these cultures involves taking the effort to understand each other’s music. And that has been severely lacking. Many connoisseurs of Carnatic music will not even bother attending a concert of a North Indian classical musician and vice versa which is hardly what one can call encouraging - especially since numbers in the Indian classical musical community are already small and this is only further division. And that brings us to...

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January 2012

Photography: Subhan Sheikh


‘Svanubhava An Experience’ A product of YACM’s many years of effort and T.M.Krishna’s fervor, zeal and passion. I have been attending this festival since day 1 of the first edition. There definitely is something special about sitting there in Rukmini Arangam in the serene atmosphere of the Kalakshetra. I have seen great musicians pushing themselves to their creative best, giving such inspirational performances that they would never give to your typical kutcheri audience - because they are so enchanted by the atmosphere. Indian classical forms have always been handed down as an oral tradition. It is not something that one learns just by going for class and coming back. It is a way of life that must be imbibed and internalized. Complete surrender to one’s guru under the guru - Shishya Parampara - might seem a little out of place in the modern world, but is it really? Because I saw it happen every single day of Svanubhava and it did not seem out of place even for a minute! For it was not just performances happening on stage, it was literal transmission of the art from master to student, from father to son, from soul to soul. Ghatam Suresh was not just accompanying Vidwan T.K.Murthy, he was learning from him onstage and he was not alone. The entire clan of T.K.Murthy sir’s students was sitting around him on stage with camaraderie most endearing. Dhananjayan master had his disciples perform the choreography on stage, and he seemed to be teaching them then and there. Malladi Ravikumar is himself one of the most well known singers in the field today but onstage with his guru Nedanuri Krishnamurthy, he was the ardent disciple and that was a lesson to everyone; that in this art one never stops being a student. This for me has been Svanubhava’s greatest achievement; to show students of the art that their idols themselves are students and to get artists to shed their ego’s at the door and engage in heart to heart with everyone.

A TÊTE-A-TÊTE WITH T M KRISHNA Classical arts are a dying art among the youth of today. Each art form has its own type of audience and its own bandwidth of audience. I don’t think that classical arts can compete with cinema music at any point of time. It’s the same thing as saying all other sports in India are dead only cricket is alive - you still have great archers, hockey players. One important aspect of classical art forms that people forget is that once you’re hooked on to it, you’re hooked on for life. You will never meet anyone who says I liked Carnatic music for ten years but you do find people who have grown out of pop music or film music. Specifically with Carnatic music, I believe in something quite contrary to the statement - that it is growing and becoming more vibrant and that we are now at the dawn of a new golden era for the art. We just need to give it the right push.

Is that what created Svanubhava? What created Svanubhava was that ironically, we found that the people most ignorant about the classical arts were the students who were learning it. They need to be pushed to learn more, to be exposed more to good music. I look at Svanubhava as a means to create a vibrant community of art lovers, students and established artists - a solid force to push classical art in the right direction and among the remaining communities. If anybody can take classical music to gen next, it is the next generation.

How has it been; putting together the festival? Svanubhava is organized every year in a process that is completely transparent and democratic. Everything is done together as a team. As far as deciding the artists - we still have a huge pool of artists recommended by the students that we have not exhausted.

How has the response to Svanubhava been - from expectation to results? Honestly, we didn’t know what to expect but after 4 years of the festival we have moved from being an idea, to an event to a movement. Just among students this year the festival has gone to a whole new level - we contacted close to a hundred institutions, music teachers, academies and public schools apart from private students of the arts and for sure, based on feedback we have

had - Svanubhava has become a part of the marked calendar for the younger generation every year.

Looking back at 4 years of Svanubhava - anything you wish you had done differently? In the third year we tried to host this in public schools - make no mistake it was a huge success in terms of numbers and a very interesting experience - but in retrospect we should not have done that because intensity of learning dropped, the atmosphere changed while performers got confused as to what they were to do. Doing it at an art institution is far more productive.

If you could pick a favourite moment that stood out over the last 4 years… T V Sankaranarayanan Sir got a standing ovation and he completely broke down, overwhelmed. I will never forget the image. Oh and last year, a small kid asked Alarmel Valli - can you tell me what all this is all about? Everybody laughed as she said ‘You know what? I’m still thinking and I still don’t have an answer. Twenty years from now ask me the same question and I may have something more to tell you’. That defined the festival for me.

Where do you see the festival in a few years? The dream is to have multi city hubs that are individually operational. We will give them whatever support they need but it will be their festival, they can just use the same design.

But in creating selfsufficient hubs, isn’t there the danger that it might be commercialized? Yes, that is a key question but it is something we have not addressed yet. We are in the process of doing so though. Until now, you will not have seen a single commercial banner in this festival. In fact, we have completely removed association with institutions. Even our invitation says ‘we the students of the classical arts invite you’. People should not come here because TM Krishna is doing this. I want this festival to move forward without my association. I want to be able to step back.

When will we see TM Krishna perform at Svanubhava? (Laughs) So far I have declined, but maybe in the next years. Lets see!


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Check out Khushbu Sa, from Khoya Khoya Chand. Done? Now here’s some trivia. Hamsika belted this after some liberal shots of Smirnoff (downed in 20 minutes!). And when I ask her how it was to sing inebriated, she whispers furtively ‘Fabbbulous!’

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Hamsika’s liaison with the microphone started right from her wee years. She was a regular child voice artist but as far as Carnatic music goes, she could never find a mrindangist and a violinist to suit her vocal range.

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She has been in the ad jingle scene for oddly 12 to 14 years. If not for a career in music, it would have been sports. Growing up with two elder brothers, cricket, football, badminton, table tennis, athletics became staples and she’s quite sure she would have done well had she decided to run that race!

3

Chammak Challo Story – she has known Vishal & Shekar for a while now & had even done a Telugu song with them. It was by chance that she was called to give the track a shot - she loved the groove on first listen & the lyrics!

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There are folders in studios with her name containing just her laughter& quirks. We have prepared a montage of her ha-ha’s in our video promo. Be sure to catch it.


those

things

10 with

Hamsika Iyer

Sandhya Ramachandran

The sexy voice that croons Kareena’s bit in Chammak Challo & Katrina Kaif’s sensuous experience with Aam Sutra, you cannot have missed this brilliant singer! Full of giggles, mazaa and engaging experiences, we trail down.

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The secret to her sweet voice? She drank kerosene when she was 3. By mistake of course.

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Maggi Atta Noodles ad jingle was in fact a complete voice over which Hamsika quirkified Carnatic-ally to the ubiquitous ‘WhyyyyNaaaaat’. Another famous jingle of hers? The Aam Sutra Ad With Katrina Kaif on a canoe!

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Once in 6 months, she switches off her mobile and goes backpacking. A ritual she has started doing since 2007 for she believes one needs to completely switch off to come back afresh. Her latest escapade was in the Indo Nepal area around Mount Everest.

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She claims to prefer crispy dosas to idlis. HOWEVER, legend has it that she had a personal guy deliver idlis to her studios during recording sessions.

8

School girl Hamsika was regularly called on every Republic Day to deliver the last few notes of Ae Mere Watan. Her repertoire also had Aap Ki Nazron, Megha Chaaye and Aise Geeth Gaaya Karo

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Santoor student, Takahiro Arai talks about Japan, India, and his transformation from green haired punk rocker to classical musician. I have snuck in backstage at many concerts of Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma over the last few years and every single time, I saw this one particular guy taking care of all the arrangements for Panditji. Takahiro Arai, completely unassuming, speaks much, much better Hindi than I ever would and goes everywhere with Panditji. I even overheard Panditji say that if and when Takahiro decided to go back to Japan, he wouldn’t know what to do. Takahiro is a dedicated student of the santoor and an even better performer and musician. When he’s off stage and not practicing (which he does for at least 8 hours a day), he listens to Brutal Truth, Tool, Stone Temple Pirates and Metallica among others and is an ardent Rajni fan.

How was it growing up in Japan? Was there a lot of music around? Haha, no. I am from Saitama, near Tokyo where there isn’t really a vibrant music scene. No one in the family is musical (his father is the CEO of a noodle company), none of my friends were musical; I couldn’t care less about any music apart from listening to popular American bands until I was 16. I used to play a lot of basketball though and was completely anti-studies.

Tell us about your paradigm shift then! We all had to take up some extracurricular activity in school so my friends and I decided to join the school band because we thought it’d make us popular and cool! I took up the drums along with my best friend. I was majorly into punk rock, hard metal - and had green hair. I was a very noise loving kid.

How did the Santoor come into the picture? Well in my band we had two drummers and a lot of musicians; so the other drummer and I used to take turns to play alternative percussions. Then he also learnt to play the table. Too many people in the band led to too much person-toperson friction, so the band kind of fell apart. At that point the other drummer got a CD with tabla and santoor and I thought, ‘here is an instrument played with sticks - and I can play with sticks!’ And in Indian music, two people on

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MT Adit ya

INDIA SURE CAUGHT HIS

JAP-TURE! stage can produce so much music. So I figured that’s what I must do. Also the drums are too loud an instrument to practice at home!

So how did you get to actually learning the Santoor from Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma? Playing with sticks is easy but tuning the santoor is just too difficult. I learnt from a student of Guruji called Miashita in Saitama. So in 2006, he took me along to India for a week, a week where not only did I meet and interact with Guruji, but I actually got two lessons.

When did you decide to come to India for the long haul? After that week in India, I went back to Japan and was working on a 9 to 5 job when it hit me. So many people wish to and yearn to learn from Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma but he did not teach them, and here I was; Guruji himself wanted to teach me! How can I let that go!

Your impression of India That first time that I came, I found India to be dirty and noisy and people honked way too much in the cars! But I loved it; people were so warm and friendly, sometimes too warm and friendly. In Japan people are not this friendly. But then again, take people driving for instance. In Japan, if there were two cars vying for a parking spot each driver will offer it to the other while in India, they will fight to death to get that spot. It’s so competitive here.

But also you know, in Japan we are all big fans of Rajnikanth! Umm, customs in India is hilarious every single time. People are so obsessed with foreigners – ‘give me money!’ They think we are all filthy rich! When they see me scold them in Hindi, they take a step back - people will do anything for money in customs. The only thing I really miss about Japan though is the food. Indian food is great but I want Japanese food as well!

How did you master Hindi so quickly? I think people always find it funny that I speak Hindi; Hindi is so much easier than English for Japanese. Back home they teach English with the Japanese alphabet - with visual representation - therefore our grammar is all over the place. People can understand English but can never converse in English. 5 years here and I can’t tell the difference between L and R - as far as I’m concerned - there is no difference! It’s the same!! (I tried getting him to say blue lorry red lorry.)

Where do you want to go from here? With life and with the Santoor? I want to establish myself as a caliber musician In India and then travel the world with my music; before I make a name for myself in Japan or anywhere else. I want Indian musicians to accept me as a competent Santoor player and classical musician first.


KOLLYWOOD RETROSPECT

V. S. Ramachandran

M S Subbulakshmi

The initials ‘MJ’ cause uproar and a wave of thrilled anticipation in the world of pop music. In much the same way, the initials “MS” can make people swoon with the anticipation of Bhakthi and Bhaava when it comes to the field of Carnatic Music. Dec 11th 2011 marks the 7th Anniversary of Smt M S Subbulakshmi’s departure from this world. She will always remain in our memories and it is befitting to reminisce about the legacy left behind by this legendary singer.

PIONEER OF SORTS: Mic at 10, MMA at 18 Born in a musical family, Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi was unique in several respects, starting with the fact that she carried her mother’s name on her initials whereas traditionally its always the father’s name. MS gave her first full-fledged Carnatic music performance at the tender age of 18 at the Madras Music Academy, which was a trail-blazing achievement considering that the Academy had never invited such a young person to sing in their prestigious programme until then. Interestingly her first recording was released even earlier at the age of 10. This was the song “Maragatha Vadivum” set in Senchurutti ragam where MS scaled some amazing crescendos and brigaas quite impossible for even seasoned elders let alone a kid of 10 years.

FROM CASTING CALL TO CARNATIC LEANINGS Not many from the current generation may know that MS had acted in a few movies before entering the world of Carnatic music full time. She acted in a total of 4 films – Sevasadanam, Sakunthalai, Savitri and Meera. Her first role was in the film Sevasadanam in the year 1938. Directed by Subrahmanyam, this was a movie well ahead of its time depicting the evils of domestic abuse of women, downside of dowry system, prostitution and liberation. The movie was based on a book written by the Hindi writer Premchand. MS played the lead role of Sumathi, the abused wife. This film featured the famous song “Unnuruvam” - the lyrics for which were penned by Rajagopal Iyer. The music was composed by the doyen of Tamil musicians; Papanasam Sivan. Set in Hari Kambhodi Raaga, the song and the film were commercially successful. The success Subrahmanyam Subrahmanyam) then produced 1940. Directed

of Sevasadanam prompted Director (father of famous dancer Padma to form his own cinema company, which the famous film “Shakunthalai” in by Ellis Duncan, the film featured

GN Balasubramaniam, another legend in the field of Carnatic music, as King Dushyantha and MS as Shakunthalai. The film was a superhit musical extravaganza with numbers such as “Anandam Solvene”, “Manamohananga” by GNB and MS and of course the very popular “Sukumara En Thaabam” a solo sung by MS. Music was composed by Sri S V Venkatraman and set in the raga Senchurutti. Ellis Duncan narrates in his memoirs how he had to publicly humiliate MS on the sets to make her angry and deliver the fiery words of Shakunthala to King Dushyantha! Savithri was the 3rd film in which MS acted. The film released in 1941 provided the funds required to start the “Kalki” magazine. Interestingly, MS played the male role of Narada in this film (the first Narada ever to wear an upper garment covering the torso!). While the film was not commercially successful, MS received a handsome fee, which she more than compensated through her scintillating songs. The song “Agni Endru Ariyayo Karpudaya Mangayarai” depicting the chastity of women was a great hit and was scored by Thurayur Rajagopala Sarma and Kamaldas Gupta. Meera was the last of the films in which MS acted and was released in 1945. The song “Katrinile Varum Geetham” was probably one of the all-time popular numbers of MS. The song was penned by none other than the great Tamil writer-cumpublisher Sri Kalki Krishnamurthy. The tune and melody of this immortal classic were borrowed from a Bengali song by Juthika Roy – one that was always on the lips of MS’ husband Sri Sadasivam. It was he who asked S V Venkatraman to use the same in Meera. The film was a tremendous success and people of Rajputana, where the film was shot, literally revered MS as Meera herself much to the embarrassment of MS. She nonchalantly dubbed for the Hindi version of Meera too which became a national hit, making MS a well known all-India persona. After Meera, MS quit acting completely having rediscovered her bhakthi, bhava and plunged into serious Carnatic music. Her style and rendition were unique and seldom found in singers who succeeded her. Despite her stupendous success in the music field, she was a simple woman who sang from her heart. The first ever singer to win the Bharat Ratna Award, MS gave much more to the world at large than it could ever give her. The

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Metrosexualit How did we go from ‘All We Need Is Love’ to ‘Love Is Gone’? We look at the how music changed the alpha male from a gruff, mushy man to a pruned, cynical metrosexual.

W

hen people say older times were simpler, it’s not a joke. Societies had their failings, but weren’t as convoluted as they are now. People followed norms; even rebels and emperors didn’t break ranks with basic social conventions. Men were suitors, women were the courted, and everybody knew their lines. Men appropriated chivalry, while women had their demureness. Courtship rituals entailed men baring the tenderest emotions they could conjure beneath their hairy chests. So, Romeo wooed Juliet beneath her balcony with elaborate sonnets, and Sir Walter Raleigh apparently charmed Queen Elizabeth by covering a puddle in her way with his own cloak. Those were acts of supreme men. But the bra-burning women of the 1960s changed all that. That beautiful term – chauvinistic pig – came into being roundabout then, and Hugh Hefner was anointed the pop symbol for the genus. Suddenly, it was cease-and-desist to any patriarchal man who thought pulling a chair for a woman or opening a door for her was okay, amongst other grotesque sexist offences. Love, the emotion, and songs about it changed tracks too. With the nihilistic and the cynical pretty much sleeping together now, effusive songs about the grandeur of ‘that one person’ had to become passé. Besides, at a time when every youngster believed sex and love could be separate, selling love became harder without that calling card. No one was buying into the romantic charade. Then, the baby-boomers exploded with their sex talk and liberal gib-

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berish. Love became more about the bawdy, and more about the body. It was one of the nicer things about the counter-revolution, except it sucked the innocence out of romance. Even when the rockstars took to the mic to recount a romantic experience in their songs, the sex and the pain were more pertinent themes than joy. The Beatles did record a number of love ballads, some like ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hands’, which appeared on their earlier albums. It was a format they too ignored, once their themes and philosophies changed later. They were all jilted lovers too. And who could begrudge them the cynicism when even the Maharishi they flocked to turned out to be a sex fiend? John Lennon’s ‘Sexy Sadie’, composed for the errant Maharishi, was a satirical tirade on how he learnt never to believe. But all that liberalization did more to steal our identities than anything else. Men wearing jewellery, women wearing pants, and all the homophobia in between, blurred the lines between what was outrageous and what was okay. Who was to say; we were here celebrating freedom, even if it meant having to talk to somebody with nipple piercings. Don’t underestimate the homophobia, though; it lives on, Article 377 or not. It’s why George Michael canoodled with women in his videos, even when he knew he wasn’t fooling anyone. It was a commercial necessity. He sang love songs which were more likely to be listened in to by straight couples than gay ones, and he avoided the deep undercurrent of intolerance that would force people away


Mihir Sinha

uality In The Mainstream

from anything remotely resembling gay kitsch. Unknowingly, Wham! – with George Michael in tow – helped start a trend which furthered the homophobia; boy bands. They jigged and pouted for the pre-pubescent girls squeezing on their teddy bears, but they made their money off being gay icons - because gay men could pay to get to a concert while ten-year-old girls couldn’t. Nobody cared really, but thus the cliché grew. When the second punk wave came in the form of grunge, it was even more caustic than before. In the ‘70s, when The Sex Pistols and The Ramones had come to play to just bring down the rock ‘n’ roll set up, it was powerful. But with Nirvana crying into the deep void of our confused society, where the sheep and shepherd had become the same, it called for a revolution. It was true; machismo was now debauched and cold. It isn’t fair, not to men, or women, who aren’t treated with as much of a soft hand anymore. Or even the gay, who thought they’d stepped out of their closets into a free world that accepted them, only to find out that the acceptance came laced with cultural mockery and trivialization. It seems men can’t openly say “I love you”, unless it’s to another man. And it’s funny too. For the new age heterosexual, relationships have become fly-by-night, and thus, less deserving of waxed eloquence. Waxed chests, perhaps, but we’re talking about queerness of the emotional sort. She can’t be told how much she

means to you, lest she get overwhelmed by ‘commitment hassles’ and your ‘neediness’. So, even in the clubs, where men have no other genuine reason to be other than women, he will act as detached as possible and offer himself as the most guilt-free pleasure in the house. ‘Love Is Gone’ was never a great song – definitely not to the extent it ruled the airwaves, surely. But it spoke to the teenyboppers on the dance floor of the 21st century, who were learning to play a very new mating game. Women didn’t want serenading fools, but guys they could forget the next morning, so that they wouldn’t be tempted to have babies and give up that great career. Indian music, though, does retain – somewhat – its former bashfulness, where cheesy leading man follows cheesy leading lady through a field. It does end with an actual kiss now, instead of blooming flowers, but it’s still something families can watch on their TV. And it’s something the suburbia seems to be growing out of – the family. Metrosexuals have become macho because they’re up ahead in the queue of what women really want; not really an ace provider and protector. He’s the beta male – you can’t imagine Justin Beiber or Justin Timberlake saving you from Dr.Who – but he seems delicate enough to be bossed around in bed and probably later, go out lingerie shopping with you.


jingle

bell rock

Raunaq Sahu

Christmas Singles – why bother if it’s only relevant for December, you’d think. But there is more than what meets the ear. Here’s the lowdown under the mistletoe!

What are the key ingredients to making a successful one? Christmas singles and their promotion, and their perceived importance, are as inexplicable as women. However, unlike women, they are not inexplicable in a good way. Christmas releases though, remain a very significant event for record companies. It is not easy to see why. Newfangled Christmas releases are on the face of it useless because, well, as long as people are with their loved ones and there’s plenty of fantastic food around, all they need is some inoffensive, pleasant-sounding music (preferably the tried and tested Christmas standards) going on in the background (mostly until the spiked eggnog takes effect). So, it’s either the kids of the house singing carols badly or Dean Martin’s version of ‘Let it Snow’ wafting out of the speakers. But that’s just me. Thing is, one expects people to get bugged of the same songs being played till catatonia sets in – and musicians do try and see if they can do better than songs that have, over the years, become Christmas standards. ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure is a special case because apart from it being a Christmas song, it was made in order to raise funds for the 1984-85 famine in Ethiopia. In a way, it deserved to sell in massive numbers. However, it was heavily criticised for, you know, not being very good, despite the huge amounts of talent on hand – and Geldof was accused of using such a serious cause for ripping people off. Then, there is the other end of the spectrum –songs that are tailor-made for the festive season. In 1979, Justin Wilde (a marketing major) brought his friend Doug Konecky on board to form a songwriting partnership believing they could try and do as well as - if not better than - Bing Crosby. They wrote

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‘It Must Be The Mistletoe’ together. They tried to get Dolly Parton to sing it, but she decided to record her own original Christmas songs. Barbara Mandrell was approached soon after. She sang it and the song became sort of popular; not in small measure because of the Wilde-Konecky duo’s unflagging plugging of the single on California pop radio stations. Later Barbara Streisand, among others, did a version and it has sold over 7 million copies. If we look at the way things are currently, the formula appears to be fairly straightforward: a fairly popular (if not the most talented or exciting) singer covering a celebrated Christmas standard, backed by adequate record company muscle and an aggressive marketing strategy. So we have Mariah Carey – she came out with ‘Merry Christmas II You’ last year (she assumed that people remembered her earlier Christmas album called which was called ‘Merry Christmas’); Susan Boyle’s album ‘The Gift’, which was about as exciting as a fungi-infested sock; the music from the bafflingly successful show Glee for its Christmas Special being released as an album; and some truly pointless albums like Jessica Simpson’s ‘Happy Christmas’. None of these albums have been groundbreakingly successful, even though they do find a place on the charts on account of the popularity of the respective artistes. Therefore, it’s tough to put a finger on why exactly these singles are put out and why companies and musicians persist with them despite not-so-successful results. Then again, human behaviour is notoriously unpredictable, and economists and market analysts rarely get anything right these days. And you would be wrong to expect anything else from the guy writing this article. Levitt and Dubner, are you listening?

Band Aid

Do They Know It’s Christmas?

1984/85,2007

Boney M

Mary’s Boy Child

1978

Wham

Last Christmas

1984/85,2007/08/09/10

Harry Belafonte

Mary’s Boy Child

1957

Band Aid 20

Do they know it’s Christmas

2004

Slade

Merry Christmas everybody

1973/81/83/98, 2006/7/8/10

Bing Crosby

White Christmas

1942/77/98

East 17

Stay Another Day

1994

Cliff Richard

The Mileninium Prayer

1999

Johnny Mathis

When A Child is Born

1976

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the biggestselling singles about Christmas and the festive season


Avail 20 % Offer on Select Aesthetics Services Offer Valit till 28 Feb 2011 * Conditions apply


KEITH RICHARDS The ‘Human Riff’ who has written some of rock’s most instantly recognisable riffs, the original Rock ‘n Rolla who has withstood the avalanche of drugs his body has come under, the one who fell off a coconut tree at the age of 62 without killing himself... we can do this all day. Richards IS Rock ‘n Roll.

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Raunaq Sahu

The Why?

The Wherefore?

My first reaction, like so many others’, when the announcement of the publication of Keith Richards’ autobiography was made, was to cackle loudly. I worship the man, but him putting together an autobiography? How on earth is he going to recall events from the 60s and the 70s, most of which were spent by him tanked up on a cocktail of Merck cocaine, mescaline, peyote, tuinal, amphetamines and their like? In addition to that, there was his heroin phase, which lasted until around the time Some Girls was recorded (1978).

However, in case we forget, at its core, Life is all about the music. In the early years, with Jagger and Jones, he would obsessively listen to and try to imitate artists from the 50s Chess catalogs – greats like Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, and Big Bill Broonzy. Some of the most enlightening parts of the book involve Keith talking about the way he plays (“I find myself trying to play horn lines on the guitar all the time.”), about how his whole approach to playing the guitar changed when he started to experiment with open-G tuning and how some of the most iconic Stones riffs came into being. Also, he teaches you how to win knife-fights. Riveting stuff.

I was in for the shock of my life: there exists Richards’ hand-written note on the outer jacket of the book, claiming: “Believe it or not, I haven’t forgotten any of it.” He was helped through the process by his good friend, author of White Mischief James Fox, who dug into Richards’ past, interviewed the people in his life, and dug up ancient letters and diary entries. Soon enough, Life came together in its entirety.

The What? Unsurprisingly, Keith tells it like it is, in a way similar to his guitar-playing style: unpretentious, direct, and frill-free. And he talks in a voice that is irreverent, candid, disarmingly witty and uniquely his own: it feels as if Keef has cornered you in a smoky and grimy bar, and is telling you about the golden days like an old, weather-beaten buccaneer. Fans of the Stones will more or less know about almost all the anecdotes rattled off throughout the course of the book - if you have read The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones by Stanley Booth, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, though, you are in for one hell of a drug-fueled, debauched, sometimes unbelievable joyride across the world – you can almost actually smell the burnt rubber on the road while the Stones frenetically rush from one venue to the other, feel the stuffiness and the oppressive heat of the basement of Villa Nellcote (where the seminal 1972 album, Exile on Main Street was recorded) in France, and hear the piercing sirens of police cars as they pull over buses, inspect the Stones’ vehicles and batter down doors to put away the rocknroll outlaw and his cronies for good . Various celebrities breeze in and out at different stages – there is this bit about John Lennon who tried (and failed) to keep up with Keef and ended up hugging the porcelain. He reminisces: ‘I don’t think John ever left my house, except horizontally’.

Then there are his various relationships – the most important being the tumultuous one he has shared with Mick Jagger for fifty long years now. Much has been said about Keith’s disparaging remarks concerning Mick’s manhood, and the nicknames he gives Mick (‘Disco Boy’ and ‘Brenda’ being among them) but one would do well to note that it doesn’t really matter. They have gotten to the point in their lives where they couldn’t be the least bothered about the things they say about each other. Keith has said: “Mick and I are like a married couple. We fight a lot, but we can’t get divorced.” These portions are the ones where one seems to get slightly bugged, but it gets over quickly enough. And it’s not just about the madness and mayhem. There are moments which give one pause – Brian Jones’ death, Keith’s dear friend Gram Parsons succumbing to a drug overdose, and perhaps, most poignantly, the death of his second son Tara, who died in the cot while he was far away, on the road. He may have survived it all, but there were so many others who fell by the wayside. Life has certainly taken its toll on this old and weary warhorse – his face looks like roadkill and he’s pushing 70. However he has no plans of going away anytime soon: “I’m not putting death on the agenda. I don’t want to see my old friend Lucifer just yet. He’s the guy I’m gonna see, isn’t it? I’m not going to the Other Place, let’s face it.” The old bastard’s here to stay. Thank God for that.

BOOK REVIEW

Life, by Keith Richards with James Fox

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Trendin’ in

2011

SANDHYA Ramachandran

Before taking the annual leap, it is time to look back at the year 2011 was. Trendwise!

Blame It On The Alter Ego

You are probably well acquainted with Sasha Fierce, Xtina, Mimi & the lot. Nicki Minaj joins the parade with her alter egos Roman Zolanski/Nicki Teresa/Rosa. Let’s not forget brace-face Kathy Beth Perry. Nothing like a personality offshoot to blame for your bad music, you’d think. But no, this whole concept of artist extension to an ‘ego’ is a very erm creative, explorative deal. Apparently, just changing from plastic dress to humble jeans will NOT let you get into the skin of a country girl. Think more mermaid ensemble & sunburnt feet.

Cushioning the Cuss Y U NO say it like it is? Artists now write expletives and then go giggly or ‘sshhhh’ at the choicest moments. Gone are the days when a certain white rapper wrecked verbal rage with rhyming, resonating swears. The parental advisory tag is reserved for other things now (like Nicki Minaj. Shudder). Jessie J did it in all acoustic versions of Do It Like A Dude, Gwen Stefani’s done it earlier. This is also trending huge on YouTube these days. But it remains a fad whose full potential we haven’t seen yet so we’ll hold the brake on analyzing right away.

Hair Raising Shocker-ellas Lady Gaga will not feature on this list for she was the Original Shockster. Credits to her monstrosity to have spawned the following: (to put it lightly) A garishly neon Nicki Minaj who raises EVERYthing but standards of music Ke$ha who has graduated from trashy blonde to trashy blonde with glitter, Jessie J and her painted/studded lips; (although, lip tattoos show fad potential) Rihanna and her red ‘hair’ (Does she realize it looks like a cheap wig?) Katy Perry with her violet/blue/pink hair and hairpieces that cover her face.

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The New Age Is Underage Justin Bieber shall not feature on this list for he is now taller, cuter & apparently, boyfriend material. But he was the voice of the youth, not so long ago. And ever since, there has been no silencing these (damned) young guns. The Disney brigade might have stalled with Demi Lovato but there’s still more where they came from. Willow Smith, Greyson Chance, Dionne Bromfield, Ronan Parke, Cody Simpson; sigh, Bieber was only the tip of the iceberg.

Rap + Haunting Vocals = #WIN! Still trending strong is the melodic refrain with rap formula. It’s very simple, really. Rap about inconsequential shizz. Break the monotony with a shamefully simplistic melody. Get a not-so-ambitious wallflower to deliver it. You have your month’s radio drug ready. I would love to point and laugh and trash this trend but have a look at the following songs and you will be forced to acknowledge in numb horror how chart busters today have the choral dynamics of a nursery rhyme. Eminem feat. Rihanna – Love The Way You Lie B.O.B feat. Hayley Williams – Airplanes

ALSO RISING In the TREND-O-METER Jaggernaut:

Was Mick Jagger really that good a mover? In recent times, artists can think of little else when they sing about swagger.

Why This Kolaveri, Di?

Aah that day when this first made it to my Fb Newsfeed. Life was never the same after. Taken from a Tamil OST ‘3’, the song has actor Dhanush droning eloquently about love failure problems. Thank you India, South India for contributing to global trends. The covers have ranged from a toddler’s take to an R&B spin. And everyday, it just keeps inspiring more people.

Noobs Who Played The Field Unless you have a weird gene that sprouts a weekly brand of delectable bizarre (the stakes are high, mind you. We ain’t talking pumpkin costume; more like a 3rd eye?), the average 21st century pop sensation doesn’t last very long. So a spot on this round up of newbies in 2011 is as permanent as it gets. The Band Perry had hospitable reception because of their entry with If I Die Young right when Lady Antebellum had piqued people’s country buds up with the smash hit Need You Now. Neon Trees came out with debut single Animal, which was successful enough to get its own Glee cover. J Cole & Wiz Khalifa turned out to be the toasts of Hip Hop. Black & Yellow charted high & as for Cole, the German rapper is already collaborating with biggie Beyoncé on Party. Brash, perky pop saw another entrant in the form of Cher Lloyd. And speaking of brash, we come to arguably, our hottest new act this year. Hot Chella Rae are the only act to have an equally successful follow up, The Score Magazine 57 I Like It Like That, to their debut, Tonight Tonight. January 2012


Mihir Sinha

It’s A Blind Date With

Discovered anything breathtaking lately? We get talking about Acid Jazz, along with all its hopes and fears, premonitions and the underlying awesomeness of style and thought.

Al Green

Dimitri

Serge Gainsbourg

Acid Jazz sounds like the world coming together. Its roots are cosmopolitan enough, marrying high end jazz arrangements, with Afro-Cuban dance rhythms. In fact, anything that catches your momentary fancy. Though search engines would club a lot of dance hall and disco under this pseudonym, purists will have none of the awful pun. Its life force is in old school improvisations, layered with a funk rhythm section.

The Acid In The Jazz Dance or not, there is a fluidity that sucks you in, opening up spaces within your conscience. It lulls you into thoughts and dreams, regularizing that breathing pace down to a self-contained meditation. This isn’t trance; not the Yogic sort, nor the 1800 bpm acid junkie variety. Acid Jazz compositions are real world canvasses of sound, where percussionists and bassists and keyboardists are busy flinging needling hooks all over it. You are invited to linger. The groove overload is a given. In the earliest jazz arrangements, instrumental virtuosity kept up the be-bop, and that’s the genetic coding prevalent in acid jazz too. People switch scales, solo a while, and everybody else tries to keep up; it’s one big musical party.

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5 must listens

The Good & The Better

1. Schooled In The Trade People Under The Stairs

This is your music, for the after-party, the afternoon chill-outs, the early evening drink, the lazy dream, the rickshaw ride, the beach bumming, the simpler times, the sunset, the moonshine, the romance, the first kiss, the foreplay, the afterplay - even during perhaps. Or, just for some peaceful sleep.

2. So Flute St. Germain 3. Cheeky Mr. Scruff 4. Another New Day Jazzanova 5. Beautiful Day Laid Back Steely and Dan

Recollections Of The Groovy Sort: The Acid Jazz Story The first artist to experiment with such a complex groove laden, free-jam songwriting style was Steely Dan. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were instrumentalists who succeeded as songwriters too. So, if we were to retrace the steps back to where these distinct musical styles first saw light of day, we’d find Steely Dan’s 1976 best seller, Aja, in the closet. Official penwielders peg the origins of Acid Jazz in the underground ‘rare groove scene’ happening across little towns in the south of England at the end of the ‘70s. They’d had enough of Al Green shipped in from across the Atlantic and started experimenting with their own funk and soul. The James Taylor Quartet would emerge from this first wave, eventually going on to become funk-jazz pioneers. It wasn’t called acid jazz back then. The term ‘acid jazz’ is rumored to have originated as a joke Chris Bangs – an eminent London DJ at the time – made about a recording his friend, Gilles Peterson, had him listen to; something about acid house and Jazz in the same vein. But then, Acid Jazz Records started business in 1988 and it became official, trademarks et al. That’s when it probably got confusing, with the plethora of bands that posed as acid jazz combinations, just to gain entry on high-grossing and solicited compilation lists, like the Café Del Mar series of albums, and to increase their exposure from the usual teenybopper party crowd, that would otherwise be their only customers. It was a gradual transition to complete commercial viability for the genre as a whole, and the party chants still had to be there. Young Disciples were the first ones to pioneer the acid jazz sound proper in the UK, on their 1993 album, Road To Freedom. Songs like ‘Get Yourself Together’ and before that, ‘Apparently Nothin’, played out the particular moodiness that would come to characterize the genre for later generations, who play it now sometimes in memory of the world gone by. In America, acid jazz is closer to home, but further from commercial success. When homegrown artists in the US tried to reclaim the art in the ‘90s, after James Taylor Quartet had

made several successful trips across, it was another evolution. While in England and the rest of the world, where Acid Jazz had made early headways, it was seen as being closer to the Mod culture - something that both, Acid Jazz purists and Mods, detested. It was the Americans who saw acid jazz for what it really was. For them, it found itself a corner of the sound palate that it shared with its closest symphonic relatives; funk and hip hop. Fresh ideas cropped up with bands like Digable Planets and Liquid Soul, even getting hopes up for a larger Mo’town revival. It didn’t, but the off-key tuning with rapped lyrics suddenly gave the funk bourgeoisie and lonely Rastafarians - musically orphaned since Marley’s death - somewhere and something to flock to. Digable Planets tried really hard, but somehow they couldn’t sustain the brilliance that was Cool Like That, their lead single from Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space). In hindsight, that song was so good, everything that followed paled in comparison. It was unfair perhaps, but the craze around that irresistible bass hook – and everything else about that song – was real, especially after Digable Planets shot a video for it and it became an MTV staple throughout ’94. It won a Grammy too, just in case. That was my de-facto initiation into acid jazz; at 7 years old, propped up on a chair, listening to the superfluous trumpeting and rapped incoherence and feeling strange, but nice. It was a feeling I would later recognize as the same as the hedonistic love for a good time and pretty women. Acid Jazz is all that and more. Especially with the Europeans in tow, who’re the world’s original day trippers, and for whom, sensuality is a way of life. Besides the soul-filled debauchery of Serge Gainsbourg – female orgasms, an incestual duet with his daughter, other French hobbies – the newer age has seen an evolution of eclectic continental DJs – people like Mr. Scruff, Ludovic Navarre, Dmitri From Paris – who’ve molded house sensibilities into acid jazz expressions.

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The ye

Being young women, we are often discouraged to reach for the stars. I’m not going for it. Independence is not easy. But I’m learning so much and embracing every mistake.

TOP 4 from 4! t1. Countdown ««««« Listen to it a few times and it will be stuck in your head for days. Positively infectious. 2. I Was Here ««««« A classic featuring Beyoncé at her powerful best. The respected songwriter Diane Warren in fact scripted it specifically for Beyoncé and told the press that it was her best written work. 3. 1+1 ««««« Sexy in it’s own peculiar way. An unusual love song with powerful vocals. “End of Time” with its wild tribal beats and synchronized vocals, is definitely worth a listen. So is “Schoolin’ Life” which will get you nostalgic while “Love On Top” is some good ol’ modern Motown with playful vocals and a hint of Jackson Five in the background.

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SHIRIN ALBERT

ear of the QUEEN B Diva Personified: Ringing in thirty years of musical prowess - the original Independant Woman, Beyoncé Knowles remains rooted to her trump cards – performance, phenomenal pipes & pure PERFECTION! WHERE’D YOU GO? WE MISSED YOU SO! With 2011, Beyoncé is back with a bang! 4 (her last album release) marks the end of a rather unexpected hiatus that started out in 2010. It was towards the end of her I Am... Tour, which spanned a staggering 110 cities, that her mother convinced her to take a vacation. “She told me that I needed to live my life and open my eyes, otherwise, I would wake up one day with no memories.” And so what followed was a world tour via the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China, Australia, scuba diving in the Red Sea, ballet classes and more at-home time with the family. “I wrote a contract to myself to spend more time doing things which did not involve work. I experienced great food, music and choreography across the globe… To just be inspired and digest everything I’ve been doing for so long.”

WHERE DID SHE GO RIGHT? I happened to catch a documentary of hers on a flight and I couldn’t help but look back at the evolution of this mammoth star we see today. Her biggest entrepreneurial venture till date was setting up her own Management Company and team in 2010. Her schedules involve an endless saga of events, recordings, tours and rehearsals in different countries. “I always want to challenge the music industry. I feel like it’s my job to create the new up-tempos and set the tone. The industry is very short-lived and if people can predict your next move then it’s uninteresting.”

Being a triple threat - singer, dancer and actor – with grace, precision & off-the-roof energy levels, Beyoncé is a dynamic performer who keeps us guessing constantly. But what makes her truly gifted is that she manages to do all of this in a time when “freak” seems to be the only trend among leading artists. She stands out as a force to reckon with; a refreshing artist who is talented and dedicated to her art, who holds her ground without giving in. No onehit albums or cheap tricks. Just pure thriving talent. The ability to run her own business musically and creatively is just a skimming of her real potential.

ALL MA’ LADIES IN THE HOUSE SAY BEE! The theme of female empowerment is echoed in her lyrics, her professional work and choice of an all girl dance troupe and band as well. It was Beyoncé who set the “Bootylicious” trend among youngsters; that possessing curves rather than being a size zero was healthy. “I hope that I’ve given my fans confidence and inspiration. I hope that when they see me perform they can live out their fantasies and see my work ethic and apply it to their lives and be confident and proud.” The singer turned thirty this year on the 4th of September. Another milestone comes this 2012 as she completes 15 years in the music biz. And what’s more? Our lady will now have the glow of motherhood beaming along with her inherent stardust – she is expecting her first child with rap mogul, Jay Z. Of course, knowing Ms. Knowles, this is all probably just the beginning. The legacy shall continue for many years to come.

THINGS ONLY A CRAZILY OBSESSED FAN WOULD KNOW •

She has scooped 16 Grammys. And she happens to be the first woman to headline this year’s Glastonbury Festival!

It was recently reported that Beyoncé’s net worth was about 500 million dollars which includes her own clothing line House of Deréon, perfumes and endorsements!

Hollywood beckons as Beyoncé is to be cast in Clint Eastwood’s production of A Star is Born.

The Sex(y) Factor. She rocks the look of big hair, voluptuous silhouettes and skin-tight leotards. By wearing four pairs of stockings to keep things ‘tight’. No complaints!

• •

She watched Devdas and is an avid fan of Aishwarya Rai. If you have gotten biggies like Aretha Franklin and Etta James bummed, you must be one hell of a singer! That includes proving Simon Cowell wrong and having Adele as a fan! The

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The Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan are bringing to India a whole new wave of multicultural exchanges. BuJazzO, Germany’s national youth orchestra, led by conductor Mike Herting, accompanied by our own Carnatic music Veterans – R. A. Ramamani, T.A.S. Mani, Karthik Subramaniam and Ramesh Shotham - have been performing live in Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune. 62

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Siddharth Mehta

60 years of Indo-German collaboration

Indian and German musicians are largely becoming the ambassadors of demonstrating how we can breach cultural and geographical boundaries by collaborating through music, a medium that transcends all linguistic barriers.

W

e were extremely fortunate to catch up with Mike Herting, just minutes before BuJazzO were scheduled to play at St. Andrew’s Auditorium in Mumbai. Knowing full well that it isn’t everyday that one hears about an interplay between German Jazz and Indian Classical music, Mike delightfully shared his views on this unique collaboration, but not before paying homage to a friend and source of inspiration, the late alto-saxophonist and composer, Charlie Mariano. “This concept originated in 1999, when Charlie Mariano suggested that I get in touch with the Karnataka School of Percussion in Bangalore.” When Mike arrived in Bangalore, fortunately for him, all the schools and other institutions were closed for weeks, in the wake of a recent Veerappan kidnapping at the time; this allowed him to bond intimately with R. A. Ramamani and the others – as much as 16 hours a day, for two whole weeks, during which they exchanged numerous ideas about Indian and Western Classical music. “We never taught anybody,” he smiles, “but we learnt a lot from each other,” which, after a lot more work and effort, gave birth to a completely new form of jazz. So was Veerappan’s infernal intervention a blessing in disguise? “Only for me,” Mike confesses genuinely, declaring his opinion that it was indeed a terrible tragedy for those who were affected. Mike cites Jazz influences such as Herbie Hancock and Charlie Parker. He explains how music was always a part of his upbringing, since he was born and brought up in Cologne, which, akin to Chennai in India, is the heartland of Classical music in Germany. “Beethoven was born in Bonn and Schumann hails from Düsseldorf.” But how is it that these acutely foreign forms of music are able to woo something as relatively remote as Carnatic music? “Ultimately, Jazz and Carnatic music have at their hearts improvisation and rhythm,” Mike explains, “They both rely on steady rhythms.” Once you find that common ground, they blend pretty well. In fact, listening to even a single composition will make one realize how these distinctly different forms of music complement each other and make for a successful marriage. If you don’t believe us, pick up one of their CDs, featuring some of their originals, as well as compositions by Charlie Mariano and even our very own Louiz Banks. “Purists may argue that this is not Jazz,” relates Mike, “but they often forget, that Jazz music came about as a result of the intermixing of different cultures.” And this is precisely what BuJazzO aims to demonstrate to all of us. Pushing aside all insinuations of commercial and political motivations, Mike asserts that this musical project is primarily a form of creative expression – “This kind of music can only come from the heart.” So what lies ahead for BuJazzO? “We want to enlarge this,” Mike concludes, “We will be going to Africa for a month, in January.” He aspires to share this cultural collaboration with yet another audience, and perhaps even to pick up more influences, musical and cultural, on the way. Photography: Parizad D

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7

THINGS ABOUT SA

YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW!

1

The store’s been around for nearly 30 years now with two spacious branches - one in Anna Nagar and one in Mylapore. Once someone enters the store, 99% of the time they never leave empty handed. True story.

3

2

They have an online portal that showcases around 5000 different products with an in depth analysis of product features & videos. Online purchases can be made from any country and instruments are delivered Door to Door via FEDEX & DHL

Saptaswara took the next step recently by launching a music school that preps musicians for exams at the Trinity College and The Royal School of Music Examinations.

I bought a Fender Squier jazz bass. They had it in the exact colour that I wanted and I bought the bass as well as accessories. They gave me good service and a decent price. The bass as such was good quality, because its Fender, which is usually reliable.

I bought my first electric guitar there. It was a black Ibanez GRG 270, and it cost around 14,000 rupees at the time. I really liked the guitar; played it a lot during college! That guitar saw a lot of stages, competitions and shows in many cities!

- Rithwik Randhir,

- Vikram Vivekanand

final year, Loyola College

guitarist of Greyshack


Sandhya Ramachandran

APTASWARA

4

Saptaswara is dedicated to promoting western classical music. One step with regard to this was introducing world renowned classical guitars Manuel Rodriguez & sons from Spain last year. It received an overwhelming response from artists!

6

Saptaswara is the only showroom to stock exclusive Meinl Cymbals from Germany - from lowest cast cymbals to hand hammered cymbals!

5 7

Steeve Vatz, Kabuli, Sadanandam, Greg Howe & Alex Hutchings are among the regular clientele that stop at Saptaswara for their musical needs.

A compact portable acoustic-electric Veena known as “Madhura Veena” was introduced last year for the convenience of players to travel light during concerts. Mr.Rajesh Vaidya, the versatile Veena vidwan uses this veena for all his concerts in India & abroad!

‘Well, they have been one of the pioneers in the field of musical instruments here in Chennai - one the most experienced in the field. Most products that I don’t find in other places, I find here. The procedure is to place an order. But here most of the time, if you have something in mind, they generally have it. I’m very good friends with Mr.Lal and Nikhil. They have been very courteous and supporting of me as an artist, they are very professional in giving me products and getting it serviced on time. Personally they’re more like family to me. Musically they take me to that level; especially Nikhil goes to any extent to make sure he respects the musicality of an artist. Way before I played with Rahman, Nikhil extended his supportive hands to me as a guitarist and as a guitar teacher. In that regard too, I am very thankful to Nikhil and the family there.’

- Steve Vatz a.k.a Roky

presently on a world tour with Harris Jeyraj, also rapping for a few songs and working currently on a few new tracks in the film industry.





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