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32 comments | Friday, April 28, 2006

For those folks have followed malayalam music through late 80s through 90s might not need an introduction to this genius music director called Sharath. I have listened to his songs with amazement every time he comes out with one. He chose to keep a low profile despite the classic songs that he gave to the malayalam industry. May be he was too picky and preferred not to work on mainstream projects. The reason that prompted me to write this post is this particular song from the recently released tamil movie June R. This is "Rimjhim Rimjhim" The song has two versions, one with Sujatha and the other with Hariharan.

It was such a pleasant surprice to hear that signature sharath style once again though this time it was in tamil. I have searched hard on internet to get a biography / Filmography of sharath, with little success. So I shall go ahead a write whatever I know about this great musician. Sharath is based out of Thiruvananthapuram, he is a disciple of Shri. Dr. Balamurali Krishna in carnatic music. He is a great singer himself too. His remarkable compositions include "sudhaamantram niveditham.." (also "diwaaswapnam pozhinjupoy") from the lesser known malayalam movie Devadasi with Shri Unnikrishnan's voice. Shri Unni himself has confessed in many interviews that, this song was the toughest ever in his career. Still lingering in my mind is "thaalamayanju, gaanamapoornam" and "sree raagamo thedunnu nee.." from the mohanlal starrer Pavithram. Sharath's classic orchestration patterns and distinct style can be seen in compositions like "doore doore ende sindoora rekhayil..." from the movie sindoorarekha. His arrangement is so novel that it cannot be compared to any one else's style that you have ever heard. He brought in elements of jazz fusion to malayalam music with the music of "maaleyam maarodalinju..." from the movie Thacholi varghese chekavar. Based on raaga Mohana Kalyani, this is a wonderful experimental composition. Very inspiring!(this was much before Vidyasagar's foray to malayalam music, which revloutionized the way malayali listened to film music)

If anyone thought Sharath cannot come up with peppy numbers, he proves you wrong there too, Listen to "ini maanathum nakshathra pookkaalam..." from the movie Cover Story, you would know. Sharath has once again proved his mastery over the art with the music of June R. He Rocks!



0 comments | Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I was looking for this clip from the early 90s malayalam chartbuster Akkare akkare akkare. Finally found it in youtube. here it goes! Non-mallus please excuse!


The king of melody has returned to mesmerize with some amazing vintage ghazals, khayaals and punjabi folk songs. After a long wait of more than one year, I finally managed to grab my copy of Padmashree Hariharan's latest album Lahore Ke Rang, Hari ke Sang. Thanks Times music for releasing it in India.

I have gotten enough time to do a comprehensive review of this album. I will do that in another week's time. I have listened to the tracks less than 20 times till now (Thats very less by any standards for me when it comes to Hari Ji's ghazals.) This review covers 3 tracks from this album which have really grown on me in a span of less than 3 days! The album starts with a high energy yaman composition, a manifestation of amir khusrao's vintage poem "mohe apne hi rang mein rang de..." The most amazing part of this song is the momentum that this song maintains throughout. As Hari ji himself remarks on the CD pamphlet, this song will definitely make you think of color. The tabla accompaniment is spirited while the interludes are vastly acoustic and minimal. Despite the flamboyance of the track, the track doesnt give you that heavy giddy feeling that some of the vintage ghazals give. a must listen track, great way to open an album.

The third track is by far the best in this album. This track has the lyrics "Dil se har guzri baat guzri hai, Kis qayaamat ki raat guzri hai..." This is signature Hariharan. The composition also deserves special mention. Nazir hussain saab's arrangement and placement of notes has a characteristic freshness in it, something which you hardly hear in the popular ghazals of recent times. It has the pseudo melancholy feel to it. your heart will certainly long for the song to never get over. It is once again rendered in a very restrained fashion, but to perfection. One thing I notice about this album is that Hari Ji kas kept a low key approach when it comes to impromptu improvisations. Thats a disappointment indeed for some one like me who adores is style of improvisations. This is more a well rehearsed execution, good-very good to the ear neverthless!

"Begana vaar unsay mulakaat ho, to ho..." Once again, full marks to Nazar hussain saab's composition. This is a masterpiece in raag darbari. The song has been treated in a very unhastly fashion. It forces the listener to concentrate, indulge in the sheer exuberance this raag generates. The short alaap in the beginning is unmatchable by any singer of any ages! This track bears resemblance to one of the earlier renditions of hari ji - "kab tak yun hi rulaayengi, tanhaayean hamein...." I am greatly impressed by the way the song order is designed for this album. The album ends in a subtle, melodious and soft note, with begaana vaar...

For those folks who havent gotten their copy of this great album, get urs now! This album is in stores in Bangalore, I picked up mine from Landmark. I hear that this could be ordered online through indiatimes.com too.

If you want to listen to 1 minute samples of all tracks of this album, you can do that here!

Verdict: Great album! (it cant be otherwise for a Hariharan album, so the verdict is kind of irrelevant!)

Hari ji is un paralleled when it comes to rendering tracks which has the mid-octave notes predominantly. The ease with which he fleets his brighas to the higher octave and then touching a note which technically is not part of darbari and then back is a lesson for every musician. Its easy to sing within the raaga, which many "pro-carnatric music only" people argue is the basis of a good rendition, bah!. Sorry about their ignorance, singing something outside the scope of the raaga adding that sublte twist and then coming back to a raaga is one of the biggest challenges for any musician, how many ever years of music training he/she might have! Singing a ghazal is no joke and its the most sublime form of imaginative music!

PS: The links provided in the post are only pointers to the samples of the songs hosted in various sites that found on the internet. Please buy original cassettes and CDs and fight music piracy to save the music industry and musicians.

4 comments | Friday, April 21, 2006

Well, I have to admit that I have become a Shakti maniac these days! Picked up this track from Raghu's repository and am presenting it for all the music lovers of the world. I am not sure if this track is available commercially any more. If any one happens to know about the availability of this album / video / track commercially, I'd be extremely grateful if you let me know. I will immediately take this version off from the internet and procure a copy of the original CD!

Ultimate Shakti! I Salute your musical excellence!

Warning: 43MB clip streaming. Broadband required (I am working on thinning down this clip, once I am done, I will upload a faster version. Do bear with me for the time being!)


First of all, Thanks a lot Raghu for re-kindling my interest in the music of this band - Shakti. Their music is unmatched by the spontanity, innovation, musical richness and overall impact. I found the following videos of the stage performances of this band on google videos. Do check them out, Can promise you that this is not the regular "fusion" stuff that you hear these days!

Long live innovations in music! Long live fusion! I have said this and will continue to say this again - Pure forms of music are boring, for the sheer reason that its backed and promoted by people who wish to keep it as crude as it used to be 200000 years ago in the name of maintaining tradition, bah! Little do they realize that theres more to the world than what it used to be 20000 years back because they dont wish to open their ears , fearing that they'd lose what their grandfathers gave them.

I might sound opinionated here, but in this birth I can NEVER appreciate the PURIST view points. May be I dont understand it! (but for my own good, I am happy NOT understanding it!)


I had posted this song earlier in my blog with a different title! The audio hosting was completely screwed up during that time and many folks had complained about not being able to listen to this track. So I decided to remove the previous post and write a fresh post for the song.

This song is very close to us (f6 - me & ganesh). This is the first song that we worked with Swamy. Swamy once had asked us if we could work with him in arranging this cute little song that he had written for his son Skanda. He even had the tune ready with him! What made us love this song almost instantaneously was the beauty of the poem with very simple words but filled with a lot of love.

We recorded this track in one go with Ganesh playing the keys and backing and me singing. Nothing was planned! Neither the interludes nor the chords / backing. It was all impromptu. (Many folks who heard the 1st interlude of the track pointed out its similarity to "en kaadhale..." from duet's first interlude :) We dont deny it! haha!)

Do listen to this track and let us know ur opinion. This is not production quality, the recording might not be the best u have heard!

6 comments | Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Before I start, If you are an Orkut user, do check out the following links:

Link 1
Link 2

Okay, now to the post:

Is it wrong to dislike something or somebody?

I am sure most of you will say that its only natural that someone likes something, while somebody else doesnt. But my recent experiences discussing my dislikes about a person's music has made me think otherwise. I am an ardent music lover and I keep a pretty open mind towards all forms of music. (well almost... except heavy metal & grunge.. i refuse to accept it as music. Very personal feeling. period.)

The person in discussion here is padmabhushan Sri K J Yesudas. I have been listening to his film music & carnatic music ever since i was a small kid. I still remember myself listening to songs like "pranasakhi...", "Thaamasamenthe varuvaan...","Innale mayangumbol..." etc with awe and admiration to the great master. He indeed is a veteran and the man with the golden voice. On the contrary, when I used to hear his carnatic renditions like "Ksheera saagara...","Etha vunara...","Kripaya paalaya..." etc, I could feel that this doesnt have the magnetism that his film numbers have.

Through the years, I slowly learnt the fundamental differences between film music and carnatic music. Film music is about reproducing a tune composed by a music director with ur voice where the imagination of the composer has a little higher weightage than the singer's. On the contrary, carnatic music is firmly based on "manodharma sangeetham" where the singer's imagination has utmost importance. I always felt shri KJY is unmatched in his renditions of those great songs composed by M S Baburaj, Dakshinamoorthy & Raveendran master. But his manodharma and carnatic renditions made me slowly dislike his carnatic style. His over emphasizing pronounication was also not acceptable to me. this was the times when I started getting addicted to Padmashri Madurai T N Seshagopalan's music. He was a master of imaginative and unconventional singing. His manodharmam is unmatched. I knew comparing artistes is incorrect but I couldn help compare these artistes whom I adored so much.

Then came the times that I got hooked on to this form of music called Ghazal, and the legendary musician called Hariharan. His voice, his singing, his improvisations made me idolize him. Hariharan brought in the much needed freshness by improvising the pre-composed film songs also. I wrote all this history to point out why I like Hariharan's ghazals, TNS's carnatic and KJY's malayalam songs.

Now, is it wrong in being vocal about my dislikes about KJY's carnatic music. As a citizen of a country which allows free expression, I have all rights to be vocal about what I felt. Most of the guys who idolize shri KJY come to me and tell me that I am arrogant and I have no respect for the great Artist. Shri KJY is gaana gandharvan, no doubt about that! but his carnatic music leaves far more to b desired and thats my taste. No one can victimize me just for the fact that they love shri KJY. The saddest part is that the opposition comes not due to any musical reason, it just comes out of the hero worshipping mentality of people. Anything said against the music of KJY is most of the times taken as an insult to the artiste! Thats absurd! Its the music that is criticized and not the person

As much as the people have rights to like a person, I have my rights to dislike a person. People have come and told me that "Whatever you say about dasettan (shri KJY) YOU will never become as great as him". Thats when I lose it! Where am I saying I am equal or bigger that KJY? I am only giving my opinion. 9/10 cricket fan these days criticize Sourav Ganguly! Does that mean we all needs to be equal or bigger than him to criticize him? Bull crap! Its just the intellectual slavery of people for an artiste that makes them so intolerant to the criticism! In malayalam they say "kundilirikkum thavalakkunju...." the frog sitting in the well knows only the walls of the well. I feel these blind hero worshippers are no different from that!

I feel this unquestioning attitude and the submissive nature of people to any artiste is going to majorly hinder the growth of music. Till my last breath, I will continue to express my likes and dislikes towards the music rendered by popular artistes irrespective of their experience, acceptance or stature. i am not enslaved to any artiste here, I am a music lover and thats all!
If people think its my arrogance that makes me criticize an artiste, B*lls to all of them, I dont give a fscking damn!
And no one has the prophetic skills to tell me what I am capable of or what I will achieve!

Long live music, Long live constructive critisism and Let the blind hero worship be crucified!


I found this link on youtube. This band comes with a heavy artillery with stalwarts like SelvaGanesh, Vikku Vinayakaram, Zakir Hussain, L Subramaniam, Shankar Mahadevan etc. This is one of their earlier videos. Amazing is an understatement!Enjoy!

3 comments | Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dedicated to all the people around the world who have lived in thiruvananthapuram or been associated with this amazing city at some point of their life. "payale adichu noothalayum kettaaadeeey.... #@$%$"


"Oru theevandi kittiyirunnengeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel, belt aayi upayogikkaaamayinrunnooooooo...."

This is incredibly funny! I am really sorry I just cant transalate whats spoken there! Its inane, but hilarious. Now coming to my favorite argument.. with scenes and situations as ridiculous as the ones portrayed in this video and the one below, we are still happy and proud to say OLD IS GOLD! (man!!thats the biggest paradox that I have ever encountered. OLD is INSIGNIFICANT! thats why all these chartbuster scenes look as irrelevent as lady in a gay pub in today's world!)


No offense meant to the legendary actor. But have to confess that I was rolling on the floor and laughing listening/watching this song. Thanks to Malli for introducing me to this song!


The newest addition to my set of gadgets: iriver U10. Thanks a lot, Adobe for gifting this to me! (I just love recieving gifts!)

5 comments | Friday, April 14, 2006

"Ethu dhoosara sankalpangalil valarnnaalum
Ethu yanthravalkritha lokathil pularnnaalum
Manassilundaavatte graamathin velichavum
Manavum, mamathayum, ithiri konna poovum"

One more Vishu passes by. But my heart still leaps thinking about the wonderful 25 Vishu's that I have celebrated in my life. It forces me to go back in the memory lane. In the fast track life that I am leading in Bangalore, the spirit of celebrating Vishu has definitely dampened a little, much more than before this particular year owing to the riots and mishaps caused after the demise of kannada matinee idol - Dr Rajkumar.

I grew up in a small, picturesque town Shoranur - which is by the banks of the bharathappuzha in the district of palakkad - the land of palms, forts and arts. I spent the first 16 years of my life there. Vishu was big event there during those times. I still remember my mother waking me up at 4AM in the morning for the Vishu kani, which is a symbol of prosperity and all the happiness thats in store for the new year. Bursting crackers, getting vishu kaineettam from my grandparents, watching the flowering kanikkonna trees in our courtyard in the early morning sunrise... Man, It is pristine beauty of the village. It is unmatched by an of the sophistications of a city and i am sure it will staty that way for ever

I moved to thiruvananthapuram in 1997, vishu is not as big in south kerala as it is in the mid and northern parts of Kerala. But still the excitement of vishu was verymuch there. 9 years later, vishu has just become yet another day for most of us malayalees living away from kerala to make a living. For those folks who manage to get home for Vishu, the festival is now limited to watching the vishu special programmes in Asianet or Surya TV

I dream of one vishu that I could celebrate again like I did when I was 7years old with my childhood buddies...

Happy vishu all of you!

for all my tamilian friends, happy tamil new years!

2 comments | Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Propellerhead Reason + m-audio Keystation 49e. Made for each other

GNR's latest trip to US brings us a new silver beast! M-Audio Keystation 49e. This is just an amazing USB midi controller. Its a 4 octave keyboard with a sexy pitchbender and modulation wheel. Whats more? It works like a charm with Reason. Watch this space, will upload our first demo on this new combo real soon!