Saturday, December 30, 2006

Take Me Home Country Roads-John Denver

John Denver born on December 31, 1943 as Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., was an American folk singer-songwriter and folk rock musician who was one of the biggest selling artists of the 1970s. In his lifetime, he recorded and released some 300 songs, about half of which he had written, and served as the Poet Laureate of Colorado.
The son of a U.S Air Force officer, John’s artistic journey began after the family moved to Tucson, where at age eleven, he was given his grandmother’s guitar. John eventually took up guitar lessons and joined a boy’s choir, which led him at age 20 to take matters into his own hands and pursue his dream of a career in music.In 1963 he struck out on his own, moving to Los Angeles to be in the heart of the burgeoning music scene. It was during this time that Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. was urged by friends to change his name if a recording career was to be in his future. His friends suggested the name John Sommerville, but he ultimately took his stage name from the beautiful Rocky Mountain capital city of Colorado, his home state. Denver's songs were suffused with a deep and abiding kinship with the natural world. Songs such as "Take Me Home, Country Roads", "Leaving on a Jet Plane", "Thank God I'm A Country Boy", and "Rocky Mountain High" are popular all over the world. Often singing and writing folk songs about the western lifestyle, the human condition, and planet Earth, he was named the Poet Laureate of his home state of Colorado in 1977. Denver has been commonly referred to and nicknamed "The Poet For the Planet", "Mother Nature's Son" (based on The Beatles song he covered) and "A Song's Best Friend".
Denver's final album, All Aboard! consisted of old fashioned swing, big band, folk, bluegrass and gospel styles of music woven into a theme of railroad songs. All Aboard! won a posthumous Best Musical Album For Children Grammy, a fitting end to Denver's career.
On October 12, 1997, Denver was killed when the Long-EZ aircraft he was piloting ran out of fuel just off the coast of California at Pacific Grove.
I present "Country Roads" the evergreen Denver Song. This was the first english song that I learnt from my friend "Surendran" who is no more. We won many prizes singing this song in our college days. I dedicate this song to him.
Credits: Wikipedia
Wishing all a very Happy and Prosperous 2007!
Song: Take Me Home Country Roads
Originally Sung by: John Denver
Writer and Composer: John Denver

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Israyelin Nadhan & Daivasneham - Christmas Bonanza!

It's Christmas again. It's the time to forgive, forget, reaffirm our faith in the almighty, redeem our selves, to resurrect, rethink and move ahead to the new year that follows! I would like to wish all the music lovers who frequent my blog a very merry Christmas and a very happy new year. Lets move ahead and greet the new year with more faith in ourselves and this beautiful world. Let's share and spread love and not hatred and jealousy. I present two super hits from the Christian devotional music world on this occasion. Daivasneham is special for me as it was first recorded in"Chetana" studios Trichur in my voice! I sang the track for Dasettan. The next one is a song which is still reverberating all over Kerala and has also become one of the the most favorite ring tones! This is one of K.G Markose's all time big hits!
Song: Daivasneham
Originally Sung by: K.J Yesudas
Music: Tomin Tachankari
Lyrics: O.N.V

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Song: Israyelin

Originally Sung by: K.G Markose
Music: Peter Cheranallur

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Photographer-Johnson restores some sanity in Malayalam Music!


Today malayalam Music is moving to insanity and mediocrity! In these times music from films such as "Photographer" are a big relief! It was also so good to see Johnson make a comeback. Even though the film did very badly at the box office, the songs yet again proved what we have lost today. Melody and talent! When you hear Dasettan's voice in this film we realise that even though he is 64 all the other singers just fade away in front of his Gandharva Naadam! When you hear his voice you do not feel like listening to any of the other singers today. Such is the mesmerising charm of his voice. Johnson once again proves that he is the master of melody and simplicity and no amount of sampled music can replace simple arrangements and original instruments in a song. Life seems to have come back to music when we hear the songs of Photographer. Johnson who was inspired to the film world by the late Devarajan Master has assisted the late A.T Ummer and M.K Arjunan Master other than Devarajan Master. His first film was Aaravam in 1978.He has won the National award two times and the state award five times. Who would forget songs like Kanneer Poovinte, Madhuram Jeevamritha Bindu and Maouname? I had the good fortune to sing many tracks for him and later sang two good songs in "Manasam" a Dileep Starrer in 1998.
I have tried to sing the melodious song "Enthe Kannanu Karuppu Niram" from Photographer.

Song: Enthe Kannanu Karuppu Niram

Film: Photographer

Originally Sung by: K.J Yesudas
Music: Johnson
Lyrics: Kaithapram

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sandeep Chowta and his Magicians cast a spell in Bangalore!

It's very rarely that we come across any real musical programs in India. Now do not be amazed by what I mean to say as real. Almost all music programs are "shows" other than classical music concerts. Many of them cater to the general mass with all the general masala ingredients like cinematic dances, long boring bhashans, and substandard mimicry. Very rarely do you see standard programs. Sandeep Chowta's "Bunny Brunel and the jazz all stars" was like having a three hour ayurvedic massage which left me fresh and wanting more unlike all the allopathic medicines which leave you with long lasting side effects. I reached St. Johns with my brother at 6.30 P.M hoping to see Sandeep before the program. His brother Ashok, welcomed us and invited us to be seated in the hall and see the sound check. The rehearsal itself left me spell bound and was an indication of what was to come. Sandeep was totally busy with the sound engineer. I managed to see him just before the program and he recognized me and shook his hands when I wished him the best. It was unlike any normal programs. No one came on to give any bhashan. The Jazz greats came on to the stage like energetic school boys, picked up their instruments and started playing! We both were seated in the third row and had the best sight of the artists. After that it was all three hours of ecstasy! I should say that I have never ever seen such a level of music being played live before in my whole life. Such was the mastery of each one on their respective instruments! I was mesmerized by Bunny's charm, Frank's speed, Virgil Donati's invisible hands and legs, and Michell Forman's flying fingers. They cast a deep spell on the audience which was clapping and enjoying every bit of what they played. Bunny was playing without any score! They all complimented each other so wonderfully. This is what we have to learn. In our jugalbandis we often see artists trying to gobble the other one! There was so much space for each one of them to show their mastery. They were real monsters! Even Sonu Kakkar who sang two songs quite well was over shadowed by their enormous spell. She seemed as if in their charm! When they suddenly ended the program and went off the stage, everyone was on their feet asking and begging them to come back. They obliged and finally Sandeep came in the end to say thanks to all. Sandeep, I bow before your sincerity, hard work and love for real unadulterated music of this kind and no words can convey my admiration to what I experienced there. It was the rare of rarest music programs that I have seen and heard in my life where music and music only was supreme. It requires hours and hours of dedication and hard work for translating such a dream to reality. Sandeep, you are the true musician! I thank you for inviting me to see your dream being fulfilled. The Bear hug you gave me in the end told it all!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Mehdi Hassan-Undisputed Ghazal King!

Mehdi Hassan, born in 1927 in a village called Luna in Rajasthan, India to a family of traditional musicians belongs to the 16th generation of hereditary musicians hailing from the Kalawant clan of musicians. He had his initial musical grooming from his father Ustad Azeem Khan and uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were traditional Dhrupad singers. Mehdi Hassan's gayaki incorporates the subtle elements of both Dhrupad and Khayal. He carefully embellishes ghazals by using behlawas, murkhis, taans and zamzamas. Further grace is given by touches of Rajasthani folk singing. The importance of correct pronunciation, delivery of words are of utmost importance in his singing. The mutual bond between melody and the lyrical content is responsible for making Mehdi Hassan so appealing. He has raised the profile of ghazal gayaki which was previously considered a taboo amongst classical exponents and reformed it into a major melodic genre which sits on an equal footing with thumri, dadra, kajri and tappa. His influence was such that some leading classical vocalists of that era took to ghazal singing!
Despite advancing age, Mehdi Hassan still reigns as the undisputed master of the ghazal. He has left such an indelible mark in the field of ghazal gayaki that almost all the ghazal singers of today are influenced by him. Mehdi Hassan has also been instrumental in training the next generation of ghazal singers. His sons Asif and Kamran are following in their father's footsteps and trying to carve a career as ghazal singers, other prominent disciples are Parvez Mehdi, Ghulam Abbas, Salamat Ali, Asif Javed and Talat Aziz.
I present a very old number of him "Sata Sata Ke Hame". This was a long pending request from Sreeja Balaraj who is an avid Mehdi Hassan fan. I also thank Swati Kanitkar who helped me with the lyrics. I have tried to do justice to the song to the best of my abilities.
Song: Sata Sata Ke Hamein
Music: Nazar Husain
Lyrics: Wafa Roomani
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