47th Grammy Awards 2005


More photos taken from my Hi-Def TV: Flickr: Grammy 2005

Strangely enough, the award I applauded for the most was not even presented tonight. It was Best Compilation Soundtrack Album For A Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media won by Zach Braff for Garden State. Other than that, it didn’t transcend beyond the usual awards show. The usual faces won. Same old speeches & increased applause for the more popular dead musicians mentioned during the In Memoriam segment. Death, alas, is not the great leveller! In fact, Rick James received more applause than Jerry Goldsmith, thanks to Dave Chappelle.

What I remember from the show:

– Bono from U2 performed a song in memory of his father, who was apparently an opera singer. Then went onto mention that he believed he had inherited his father’s tenor voice. The song even had the lines You’re the reason the opera is in me. Huh?
– Prince was not present to receive his award. Thank God!
– Penelope Cruz said Led Zeppelin was all about great rok. Spoken like a true Mallu, Pene-mol. Oh wait, aren’t you Spanish?
Rock ‘n Roll can be dangerous & fun at the same time, said Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer of Green Day. Profound.
– Matthew Mcconaughey added an extra note to his Texas twang while introducing the Southern Rock tribute segment. Nice job, cowboy!

Complete Winner List: GRAMMY.com

Yuvan Shankar Raja’s Raam


Starring – Jeeva, Gajala // Direction: Ameer
Listen to Raam @ Raaga.
Raam – Official Website (Flash required)

Jeeva, true to his name, is defying an early death to his career and making a comeback with this movie. And maybe a weird hairdo is what Jeeva needs now to salvage his career(!). Of course, his Dad, Super Good Choudhary also has something to do with this, but atleast this time father/son picked a director with atleast one hit to his credit. Raam will be former Bala assistant, Ameer’s second venture after Mounam Pesiyadhae. And he has decided to stick with Yuvan Shankar Raja for the music. Apparently the music is hot in Madras, atleast according to Sify.com

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Elephunking Raja

Black Eyed Peas and Ilaiyaraja

Last night I was telling a friend how some remix enthusiasts had gone to work on a relatively obscure Ilaiyaraja song, layered it with some Black Eyed Peas music and rechristened it the Elephunk Theme. Well, how stupid did I feel today when I discovered that the “enthusiasts” were the Black Eyed Peas themselves, this year’s 4-time GRAMMY nominated hip-hop group.

After Dr.Dre’s experiment with Bappi Lahiri’s Thoda Resham Lagta Hain ended in a lawsuit, maybe someone told BEP to lay off Indian composers. The song from the Rajinikant starrer Sri Raghavendra, of all movies, called Unakkum Enakkum Aanandham was originally on their album, but for some reason, seems to have been pulled out from later releases.
As for the remix itself, only S.Janaki’s vocal track has been retained, alongwith Raja’s funky bass from the original. Guess the fascination is only for female Indian vocals. Poor Malaysia Vasudevan!

For the curious few, this is what S.Janaki is singing about. (mp3: Unakkum Enakkum)

Ikkuchakaangu Ikkicha Ikku Chakkangu Chaan
(Verily Verily I say unto you, Blah Blah Bleh Blook)
Unakkum Enakkum Aanandham Dham, Vidiya Vidiya Sondham
(You & I will find hap-hap-happiness by dawn)
Padukkai Araiyil Aarambam-bam, Pudhiya Pudhiya Inbam
(In the bedroom beg-begins, newfound pleasures)

Do not doubt my translation skills, the lyrics are actually that pedestrian.

Super Bowl bares Rahman

Well, not a visual treat like the Janet Jackson episode from last year, but a disappointing auditory revelation about the source of one of his song bits.

Damn the Internet. Atleast that’s what Indian composers must be saying everyday. Plagiarism in Indian music, which for a long time was kept under wraps & unleashed on an unknowing audience, has been coming to light over the past some years. You hear a song that sounds vaguely familiar and 1/2 times, a combination of Google & some file sharing technology leads you to the source without too much effort.
Like today, while watching one of those Super Bowl ads for Diet Pepsi, I heard a song that immediately triggered off warning bells about a AR Rahman song from not so long ago. For what its worth, the tune I heard did not make up the entire song, rather it figures during the final 20-30 seconds of the title song from Daud. But it sucked for me personally because that was probably the favorite portion of the song for me.

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Mohana & Sindhu in China

AR Rahman says in this news article,

“My previous film was ‘Warriors of Heaven and Earth’. This is a Chinese film. I had to fly between Chennai and London to complete the film’s re-recording. Chinese people like Mohana raaga. I had composed most of the tunes based on this raga and on Sindhu Bhairavi. They loved the tunes,” he said.

Interesting. Some googling ensued & revealed the following information about Mohana from this site.

Gamakas for all swaras. Found in Chinese, Japanese and Swedish music

Ilaiyaraja, from what I’ve read, is sometimes called Mohana Raja considering that many of his songs have been in this raagam. Some of my favorites:
Malargalil / Singer : SP Shailaja / Movie: Kalyanaraman (1979)
Meenkodi Thaeril / Singer: KJ Yesudas / Movie: Karumbuvil (1980)
Naanoru ponnOviyam / Singers: SPB, P.Susheela and S Janaki / Movie: KaNNil theriyum kathaigaL (1980)
Poovil Vandu / Singer: SPB / Movie: Kadhal Oviyam (1982)
Vei Vela Gopemmala / Singers: SPB, SP Shailaja / Movie: Saagara Sangamam (1984) [in Tamil, Vaan Pole from Salangai Oli].
and arguably, the best one:
Ninnukori Varanam / Singer: Chitra / Movie: Agni Natchathiram (1988)

I’m sure MSV has also some gems in this raagam, but from the songs I know about, the best one has to be Kamban Yemaandhaan / Singer: SPB / Movie: Nizhal Nijamaagirathu (1978)

Now, if only someone could come up with a list of Great Mandarin Hits in Mohana & Sindhu Bhairavi.

The Bulla mystery

Rabbi Shergil looking thoughtful. With a guitar, no less

Rabbi Shergil’s Bulla Ki Jaana Mein Kaun is apparently the desi mantra these days. While I don’t understand what the song actually means, and I don’t care, the first line interpreted itself to my retarded poetic sense as Yo Bulla dude, listen up yo. This might sound stupid, er…but I really have no frickin’ clue who I might be *hic*. An useful mantra, if you really think about it. Imagine a scene at the coffeeshop where a frustrated girlfriend poses the mind-bender,“So, who ARE you, Rahul? Kaun Ho Tum?”. And you respond. heh-heh. Main Kaun Hoon? Hum Aapke Hain Kaun? Sholay sahin pikchar tha na? But I digress.Hold on, while I reach for my guitar. What I mean to say is this. Bulla Ki Jaana Main Kaaaaaaunnn”.

The song is infectious though. Atleast the first 3 times you listen to it. An average song, at best. But dost being infectious a good song make, me lord? Apparently, yes. And in this age of bad Bollywood music and talentless hacks churning out remixes by the dozen, a music-starved audience lapped it up. So while I stand here on the outside, trying to rationalize this phenomenon, I’m still mostly surprised that this Sardar has enchanted an entire nation with his deep Sufi shit. Oh yeah, and a pinch of good music.

(For comments posted about this blog, go here)
For the mp3, go to Coolgoose (free registration).

Garden State OST

Garden State Soundtrack

Yeah, I know…its already 2005 and I’m talking about a soundtrack that by now adorns the CD rack of anyone with good taste. But then, watching the movie again on DVD brought back not-so-distant memories. And I cannot stress enough on how essential this CD is for your OST collection. Zach Braff of Scrubs fame might look like someone who draws energy from nursery rhymes, but in compiling this soundtrack has shown remarkable maturity in taste. Personally, it was not just the joy of discovering artistes like The Shins, Iron & Wine and even Frou-Frou, but also the thrill of seeing eternal favorites like Nick Drake and trip-hop favorites, Zero 7. And even though, I’m not too big on Thievery Corporation, their Lebanese Blonde is a song that’ll make it on Side B of one of my trip-hop compilations. Throw in some Simon&Garfunkel, Coldplay etc. and voila! there’s my near-perfect OST.

Nino Rota’s 8½ & The Godfather

Biography for Nino Rota

The recurring theme in Federico Fellini’s 8½ contains a fragment which, strangely enough, just over 8½ years later would form the crux of the haunting theme in The Godfather. I started watching 8½ without really knowing who the composer was, and the theme got me curious and led me to Nino Rota. Isn’t it nice that it worked this way? The composer guiding me through his creations.
Speaking of Nino Rota, his background score in Lost in Translation was actually borrowed from La Dolce Vita, one of the earlier Fellini movies. You see, Nino Rota died in 1979. Probably Sofia Coppola’s tribute to the man who breathed life into her father’s creations.
And on another note, Anu Malik shamelessly plagiarised the Godfather theme for his song Raja Ko Rani Se Pyar Ho Gaya from the movie by the same name. My heart bleeds for you Nino!

Prem Joshua demystified

Tales of a Dancing River-Prem Joshua

Life is just a river, a long river-Each River, small or big, dissloves into the ocean.

I hope to God Prem Joshua didn’t come up with that description, cos’ really, its the most retarded thing I’ve ever read.
So who is Prem Joshua? Apparently, an exponent of Indian Fusion, who’s had atleast three albums to his credit. So, I decided to check out his debut album – Tales of a Dancing River. His debut album…should be good right? Not. Let me sum up the music as succintly as I can. If you have seen atleast five FIilms Division documentaries on an exotic place (for some reason, Ladakh comes to mind), then you’ve already heard his music. First of all, the album is not even remotely fusion, but just santoors, flutes, sitars in random disarray. Oh yeah, and special effects like sounds of thunder cos’ The Rains have come (Track #2). Oooooh!
But not all is bad, Track #3, Land of the Buddhas, showed some promise, until I realized the beautiful intro that had me hooked in the beginning was the actual song. The entire song comprises of the same intro looped a million times. And by minute 4:41, I had tired of it.

to be continued…

Vidyasagar’s Ji

JI–> Starring: Ajit, Trisha   Director:Lingusaamy
Listen to Ji @ Raaga

Ding Dong Kovil Mani – Madhu Balakrishnan, Madhusree

While songs of yore like Aalaiyamaniyin Osaiyai or Kovil Mani Osai made vague references to the Kovil Mani, no lyricist until now has ventured to offer clarification on what it actually sounded like. Enter Pa.Vijay who breaks new ground in Tanglish Onomatopoeia thus answering the question once and for all. It goes Ding Dong people…Ding Dong.
Madhu Balakrishnan seems to be the singer of choice for Vidyasagar’s recent classier compositions like Vizhiyum Vizhiyum (Sadhurangam) or Kanaa Kandaenadi (Parthiban Kanavu). Right from his debut effort in Edhilum Ingu (Bharathi), Madhu B. has done justice to all his songs, both in style & pronunciation. But the same cannot be said of his co-singer, Madhushree, the AR Rahman discovery from Aytha Ezhuthu. Thanks to Maniratnam and/or Vairamuthu, her singing in Sanda Kozhi had less Hindi and more Tamizh. But in Ding Dong, she massacres the song, esp. in the saranam where she seems to challenge us Chris Tucker-like, “Do you understand the words comin’ outta my mouth?”. And what is with Tamizh composers not caring about the words coming out of their singers’ mouths?
The song is by itself a decent composition with subtle beats and neat orchestration. The chendai in the first interlude is a first in Vidyasagar songs that transitions into neat flutes complimented by the veena. The chord shift from sattru munbu nilavaram to endhan nenjil kalavaram is very pretty. The second interlude is nothing much to write about but doesn’t hinder the song’s safe passage into the final minutes. {6/10}

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Discordant Notes