Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lady Gaga, Why this Kolaveri Di? - Justin Bieber

Bloggers who have not written about Kolaveri Di are like leopards who are yet to grow their spots. Along with Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, a post on Dhanush has become a necessary evil. It gets the traffic and it gets the time on site better than most of the music I like to call music, so it is with pleasure and gratitude that I introduce the very first guest post ever on The Operative Note by Dr. Ramesh Grandhi, a physician by training and an inspirational leader of a very large team of healthcare professionals. His popular posts include the ones on Mark Tully's No Full Stops in India and The Samsung Galaxy Note.


Dhanush’s Kolaveri Di has managed to capture the imagination of quite a lot of Indians, more than 24 million at the last count. Seeing the hue and cry being made by the print and visual media, I simply had to watch it. And while I agree with Javed Akhthar that the lyrics are nothing great, the way it was sung and the way the producers positioned the song on YouTube to popularize it is indeed praiseworthy. There is something in the performance that makes you want to watch it more than once, the silly rhyming lyrics, soup song, flop song—your mind tells you that you are crazy to like it and that you are wasting your time listening to it or watching it, but you still want to do it!

While following this Kolaveri Di phenomenon on the YouTube, there was this constant discussion that it had 21 million hits, 24 million hits, and that it had gone viral I happened to discover that Justin Bieber’s “hit rate” for almost all his songs was at least twice that of Kolaveri Di. I need to confess that I had never listened to Justin’s songs, I had heard and read about him several times but never did happen to listen to him. Curious about his immense popularity I decided to listen to him and I was literally hooked, in my view he deserves all the accolades he is getting. I won’t go into his teen heartthrob image, I am only interested in his song singing skills—there is such a refreshing innocence in his voice that you are compelled to listen to him. His Baby, One Time, Somebody to Love, Mistletoe are really soothing to the ear. I did not like Never say Never all that much though.

Lady Gaga is another phenomenon these days, but she is so OUT THERE that she does not appeal to my middle class sensibilities. Justin Bieber, though, if he continues in the same vein and can successfully manage the transition to “adult” singing should go a long way. Whether he is a Michael Jackson in the making, and will he evoke the same hysteria the King of Pop did, are things that only time will tell, but he has started off with a bang.
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Top 50 Personal Development Blogs of 2011

I began my weekend to discover that my personal ranting blog, Subho’s Jejune Diet, has been nominated for the Top 50 Personal Development Blogs of 2011 over at Change Your Thoughts. This was a pleasant surprise for a number of reasons. Firstly, I was not aware that I was a personal development blogger. My goal in blogging is to help people to connect back to the wisdom that lies within each one of us. I thought I was in the business of encouraging people to undo the conditioning that has got our society into the mess we are in, more of a personal regression blogger maybe. Secondly, for many years, my blog was more of a personal journal, and I started blogging with a focus and some amount of regularity only in August of 2011. Even then, I refused to follow traditional advice of having a blog focused on a niche, and my blog contains posts that deal with frugality, minimalism, ethics, and value-based lifestyles, along with a smattering of food, music, movies and politics thrown in.

If you want to nominate or vote for your favorite personal development blog, this is how to go about it. Go over to the post at Change Your Thoughts. Vote for your favorite blog in the comments in the following categories. It will of course be an honor if you think my blog fits into any of these categories as your choice of the year.

Best Overall Personal Development Blog of 2011
Best Productivity Blog of 2011
Best Personal Development Newcomer Blog of 2011
Best Simple Living Blog of 2011
Best Finance Blog of 2011
Best Personal Development Product of 2011

So do go over to Change Your Thoughts and vote for your favorite personal development blog right away.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christopher Levine's Eclectiblogs- Weekly Meanderings for Music Head Consumption

Christopher Levine was the owner and chief contributor to the Eclectic, Inc. website.  He made the personal decision to shut it down as it was growing so rapidly that he felt it was losing it's intimacy.  Chris is very familiar with multiple music scenes, having lived in Southern California, New York, and Texas. Eclectic, Inc. was truly an all-things-music website. In addition to regular pop music journalism and recommendations and reviews, new artists - often without much prior exposure - were independently found and subsequently brought to the forefront and championed.  The result was a community of people who cared more about art than commerce. 
Upon closing the site down, numerous people wrote Chris and requested that he publish the accrued weekly blogs as they were viewed by many music lovers around the world daily.  He did so, and the result is his new book: "Eclectiblogs- Weekly Meanderings for Music Head Consumption.  This book is highly recommended for anyone who loves music...regardless of genre...and who enjoys laughing, thinking and creating.

You can get the book by clicking this link

Note: This is just a recommendation of a book by a friend, and not a product promotion or an affiliate link! Just so that you know. :)

Friday, November 04, 2011

Alicia Keys' Charity Ball Tribute to George Harrison

Our very own Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale were the set openers at Alicia Keys’ Black Ball for the Keep A Child Alive Foundation on November 3, 2011 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. They set the ball rolling for a star studded tribute to George Harrison with their interpretation of the all time Beatles classic Within You Without You. The long trance-like improvisation was followed by Keys herself and rap artist Jay Sean rendering a duet version of Something.
Alicia Keys and Gary Clark Jr. did their version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, while Norah Jones started out with I Don’t Know Why and then went on to a duet with Keys on Harrison’s Isn’t It a Pity. Usher sang some of his rap hits before joining Ritchie Sambora and Keys to do Here Comes the Sun. Keys also did a minimalistic and soulful version of My Sweet Lord. performed songs like I Got a Feeling and Where is The Love along with Alicia Keys. 
Guests for the heavily India flavored evening included Olivia Harrison, Padma Lakshmi, Tyra Banks, Serena Williams and Queen Latifah. The proceeds of the evening will go towards Alicia Keys charity, Keep A Child Alive Foundation, which works with HIV positive children in India and Africa.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Metallica's Delhi Concert Canceled

For metal fans, the inaugural Formula 1 race at the Buddh Purnima Circuit in New Delhi was more about music than about F1 racing, as it saw a Metallica concert shape up. With a Friday night date in New Delhi and a Sunday concert at Bangalore, this was a metal dream come true. However, the dream came crashing down as the Friday concert got postponed due to "technical and logistic" problems. This was after the audience had been allowed in, and there was large scale chaos following this announcement. It seems unlikely that the Saturday date that was announced will materialize given the fact that permission needs to be acquired, and security arrangement need to be re-done. In addition, people have reported that equipment is already being packed and trucked out from the venue.

Four representatives of the organizing company DNA Networks were also arrested by the police after the show got called off. They were booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code that address breach of trust and cheating (406 and 420). While the organizers promised a refund in the event the show was canceled, many of the audience lost their tickets in the chaos that ensued after the band refused to take the stage. There are various versions floating around as to why the show was called off. While some claim that the band itself was not happy with backstage arrangement, others point out the lack of security.

For metal followers, other than browsing the featured photos from the band's Delhi trip up on its website, the only way to get to see Metallica now is by catching the next flight to Bangalore!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Clapton & Marsalis Play the Blues - Live at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Some music, musicians, songwriters and composers are truly difficult for me to write about. While many of the names in that list are from popular music that I grew up listening to, music that resonates for me in extremely subjective ways, most are masters of their art. 

This post is a first listen to the new release from two kings of music. Wynton Marsalis. Eric Clapton. Playing the blues. Together. With a horn and banjo band. New Orleans style.  

I got introduced to jazz as a young child from the Dancehall and Dixie music that was a big hit with my parent’s generation. While it was Moody Blues and Lynnyrd Skynnyrd on one hand, it was Earl Hines and Rhapsody in Blue on the other. Trying to make sense of the blues in the 80’s and 90’s in urban India was not difficult for a generation that couldn’t figure out a lot of things happening around them. With more than one failed revolution behind us, and a world eager to jump on to a materialistic bandwagon powered by young men in designer khadi bandgallahs and jodhpurs, the thinking-feeling citizen had begun the slow journey to extinction. We would wait for every new album from Eric Clapton (those were his bad years, and every new release was a disappointment which we denied) and Pink Floyd to hit the Indian markets, or tape it on to audio cassettes from vinyls brought by someone returning from Europe or the States.

This was also the age of short wave radios, Binaca Geetmala, Radio Moscow, the news in Special English, and the Voice of America. The unforgettable voice of Willis Connover would be like a beacon of hope as I tuned into Jazz Hour every night on VOA, to discover the magical language of music, one that transcended religion, color, class and country. It was on the Jazz Hour that I first heard Wynton Marsalis. Years later, I would find his first album in an Indian store as an Indian release, and I was able to put a pensive face to the even more thoughtful music I had heard on radio. I still remember the lineup of Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Branford Marsalis backing the 19-year-old up on classics like Father Time, and Hesitation on that album, and wondering how gifted a person must be to be playing with with such masters at such a young age. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

41st Death Anniversary of Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix died at an young age 41 years back on this day. He might have had a lot of things wrong with him, but he changed the way that the world heard and perceived the sound of the guitar. May his soul find the peace that he sought in life.

Here are three recent reissues of his seminal recordings that you may want to read about.
Hendrix in the West
West Coast Seattle Boy
Valleys of Neptune

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Winters and Springs

1. I am still alive, and am still listening to music. Nothing more to say about this. Thanks for asking.
2. Further to your suggestions, I have put in a search box on the sidebar that you can use to search this blog, with tabs that let your search for "linked to" items, as well as the whole wide web world whatever.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Freddie Mercury, Queen of the Stadium Anthem!

The very first music video I ever saw was that of Bicycle Race by Queen, with fifty pretty models cycling around the Wimbledon Stadium track with absolutely nothing on. This was way before MTV brought music videos into our living rooms, and the only way music lovers in India could get to see them was either through pop promos for singles as they were called or filmed footage of classic live concerts. Sunday morning screenings of Woodstock or the Beatles films at the Metro in Kolkata was a sure way to hook up with all the music lovers in the city.  The other alternative was video tapes of offerings like Jethro Tull's Live Bursting Out, and Pink Floyds The Wall and Live at Pompeii. While the music of Queen had been rocking us from our turntables, this video opened our eyes (as did the cyclists open our eyes, and real wide too) to the performance art rock of Freddie Mercury, one of the earliest celebrities to die from AIDS, and one of the most flamboyant and magical singer-songwriter of our times.

The reason I remember Bicycle Race today is because it is Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday. I tend to remember it since it falls on Teachers day here in India. Freddie Mercury was born Farokh Bulsara to a Gujrati family in what is now Tanzania and spent his early life in East Africa and India, before moving to England at the age of 17. He teamed up with Roger Taylor, John Deacon and Brian May to form Queen in 1970. The rest is history. With technical finesse and creative energy, they went on to change the face of progressive rock entirely. It is not the objective of this post to detail the achievements of Queen, which are common knowledge to most, and easily searchable for the rest.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sony Legacy: Hendrix in the West (Jimi Hendrix)

Sony Legacy and the Experience Hendrix project initiated by his family to reissue remastered versions of his work are all set to bring  Hendrix in the West back to the store shelves.  Hendrix in the West is a set of live performances from the last two years of his life, the Royal Albert Hall on February 24, 1969, the San Diego Sports Arena on May 24, 1969, Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30, 1970 and the Isle of Wight Festival on August 30, 1970. Originally released in 1972 by Polydor and then soon after by Reprise, this album originally had eight tracks, with a smattering of standards in between original tracks.  The reissue reportedly has 5 additional tracks, though all available tracklistings onlyshow 11 of them.  The San Diego recordings have Noel Redding on bass, while the others are with Billy Cox.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

George Gershwin and my Rhapsody in Blue

My writing on music has two main sources of ideas.  The first is the richness that I have derived as a person from the music that I have grown up with, my impressions of which I wish to document for the coming generations (my kids, and the other kids whose music makes me question the definition of music).  The other is from listening to a moving piece of music that I might have recently acquired or am listening to after a long time.

However, some of my writing is triggered by endeavors of other commentators on music, usually articles, blogposts or podcasts.  Such an event took place today, when I visited M. W, Ruger's wonderful blog, Letters About Music (which I discovered through another inspiration of mine, Brian Coverville Ibott, google him) to read his post about Gershwin.
Essential George Gershwin
The earliest recollection I have of jazz surprisingly came from my parents classical collection.  One was Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra (I know, I know, but I have always understood it as something way too radical to be called classical) and the other was Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dance the Body Music

Have you ever wondered what makes some men and women are more attractive than others?  Well, science has been trying to figure it out, and has spread its probing tentacles in every direction, statistical, symmetrical, body fat ratios, you name it, and they have sent their sniffer dogs that way way before you thought of it.  One of the confirmed findings is that certain dance moves do make a potential mate appear more attractive than others.  This explains the popularity of dance across cultures and time.
Salsa is one of the most popular contemporary dance forms the world over.  Debdoot Das, the brilliant young filmmaker from Kolkata, is also the maker of the world's hottest selling instructional DVDs on Salsa and, recently Hip Hop.

New Digifilm Quick And Dirty Guide To Hip Hop The Health Fitness Dvd Movie Excellent Performance The Quick & Dirty Guide to Salsa - 4 DVD Boxed Set

Debdoot, who had the dubious distinction of being one of my closest friends through high school and college, was busy writing filmscripts while the rest of the class was battling trig and economic geography, playing the blues with paper and combs that the rest used to keep their sugar syrup'ed hairdo's in place.  He started making what he calls “arty short films” at just 16, collaborating with novices who are now Bollywood stars. His TV series, Daylights Again was among the first to address social issues like drug addiction, broken homes, juvenile delinquency, and alienation among affluent youth.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Google Marries Music and the Cloud

First, the crib.  For users in India, this Google Music India from Labs link is still up and is reasonably good for the range of Indian popular music available.  However, when you try to get to the dot com domain instead of dot co dot in, you get a message saying "We're sorry. Music Beta is currently only available in the United States."  Fair enough, except that today saw the launch of the beta of what I feel might be a stronger proposition than Microsoft pocketing Skype.

For those in the know, of course, it is a beta, and will be buggy.  But in the face of it all, RealNetworks and Apple have both been beaten in the launch game of cloud based music storage and streaming.  My inputs on this are all strictly and officially second hand till Google figures out the technicalities and legalities of rolling this out to other countries.  I am NOT going to detail how to beat the country restriction, but it is something even dummies like me can do, even from inside a secure network.

Requirements for turning the cloud into your own DVD shelf, Android 2.2 and an OpenGL2.0 ready device.  The app allows you to upload your music collection (not quite clear how they plan to differentiate between legit and cheat rips, but they claim they will) to the cloud and stream it back from up to EIGHT different devices!!!  My richest cousin doesn't have eight Android devices, but I am guessing a lot of people out there do.

It will be unfair to pronounce judgement this early, and I am certain the guys out there are working on fixes, but it does raise a few questions in my mind.  If this is free, and the music manager does have a spartan look, will we be seeing ads?  Will those ads be snooping on my browsing history and my personal communications?  Are my musical preferences going to land me in trouble with the government?  Kidding, but these are valid concerns.  The other concern is of course legality.  My limited understanding tells me that a large percentage of digital music listened to locally (off the cloud) by users is not legit, but these users seem to have put the lawsuits and the harassment behind them and continued to listen to this year's releases that their friends lent them last year.  It is obvious that more than the app itself (and I have seen some news of music and video/movies on the radar over at Google) this move is a precursor to the stuff we expect to see in the chromebooks of the future.  However, a little greater differentiation from iTunes would have been nice.  Many of the features on the music manager are heavily influenced by existing and popular iTunes options.

All in all, a landmark launch, even if buggy beta, and one that holds great promise for the non-computer of tomorrow.

Do share your thoughts in the comments.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday, Mr. Johnson

Robert Johnson turned 100 today, may his soul rest in peace.  Everything about his life reads like a legend, whether it be his parentage, or his early years as a mediocre guitarist, his alleged selling of his soul to the devil in return of mastery of the blues, his 29-song oeuvre, or the strychnine poisoned whiskey that he died of.  It is interesting to note that he died at the age of 27, with 27 extant songs, and yet was able to establish himself across time as one of the founding fathers of the modern blues.  He was a man who lived the blues, in his music, his love life and his understanding of womanhood, his drinking, and in his death.  For the interested reader, long live Google and the Wiki.

I had almost no idea of Robert Johnson's work beyond the occasional reference to him in books about Delta blues that I came across.  It was after listening to Clapton's Me and Mr. Johnson, that I got myself to find the Complete Recordings of Robert Johnson.  That was when I discovered that a lot of stuff that I had loved and grown up with were actually his songs, such as Crossroad Blues, Love in Vain, They're Red Hot, Traveling Riverside Blues and many more.  It dawned on me with each new track that here was the roots of much of the guitar work and blues work that I lived by.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm not Mavis. But I'm close.

The grammys are on!!  Draw the wool whenever you wish, but dont miss out the dinosaurs as they rock.  Mick Jagger, Neil Young, Herbie Hancock with his Brilliant Imagine Project, Jeff Beck.  The Buddha show never began and will never end.

For live updates, join any of the liveblogs at or or any other site of your choosing, in case you are watching this on a computer.  I am not, so I am back only during the next commercial break.

Click here to read about my funny valentine.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thank You!!

This is to thank you, dear visitor, critic, reader, lover, friend.  Though I started writing many many years back, and blogging nearly 10 years now, it was only the last couple of years and the last few months that I really began to focus on organizing my writing.  This was largely because of the large number of dialogs that began springing up with each post.  Like a true adda, from being a presenter, I went on to become a participant in discussions of much greater import than I had dreamed.  I also began to feel the responsibility that came with this "freedom."  This post is not a best of, I haven't done that as yet, cuz the best of is yet to come.  This post is to share with you my appreciation of your visit, your time, your concern, and your struggle.

Do you like what you see here?  Want to stay updated with where we are?  You can follow this blog by using the Follow option of Google Friend Connect, you will find the link on the right hand sidebar at the bottom.  Do share your thoughts and responses in the comments section.  I truly respect all your comments and try and respond to them as completely as possible, and apologize for my neglect at times.

From November 18, 2010, and then Thanksgiving, unique visitors to this blog (as well as the others that I have been struggling with for the last 7 years) have increased almost 500%.  Time spent has gone from a puny 1.50 minutes to 2.48 minutes.  The Akkad post on my writing blog has an average time spent of 11.24 minutes.  This is with every second person spending less than 3 seconds on that particular page.  I have had visitors with above average time spent on pages from 17 countries, something that boggles my small mind.  Truly appreciate your presence and support.

Do use the share icons below each post to easily link to your social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, etc.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

humma humma humma

sivamani and U. srinivas at rock heights hyderabad, feb 3, 2011.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Janis, 2011.

No.  This is not the cake to celebrate one year of pending task items with one of my best friends, but the cake that janis would have loved today.  This one is a cheesecake with amble helping of helpers.  I am not to blame for slurred speech and crossed eyes, no, not me.  Happy Birthday, Woman!!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Music of Daisaku Ikeda

As leader of a large organization devoted to world peace through education and culture, it is not surprising that music and song play a major role in the work of Daisaku Ikeda, who gets a year brighter today.

Whether it be the ruckus about the use of the chorale ode to joy or whether it be his own description of his sleepless nights trying to get a song right just short of the deadline, Sensei has literally risen to the challenge of upholding the right side of the right again and again and launched into martial fan dances and broken out in morning songs.  Discrimination is truly, sometimes, not a bad word.

Happy Birthday Old Man!!!
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