Sunday, January 30, 2011


Here is a list of some of the musical concerts happening in Mumbai in February. This might help you make some plans before hand.
Hindustani Vocal by Uday Bhawalkar
1 February 2011
Event Venue: Nariman Point, NCPA Marg & Dorabji Tata Road, , Mumbai
Thermal And A Quarter (TAAQ)
1 February 2011
Event Venue: Mumbai, MH, India
Mint Hip Hop Night feat DJ Sin and DJ Chintan
2 February 2011
Event Venue: Ranassance Hotel Powai Lake, Mumbai, MH, India
Musician Expo
2 February 2011 to 4 February 2011
Event Venue: NSE Estate, Goregaon (E), Mumbai, Mumbai
Jeremy Baum - Shemekia Copeland
5 February 2011
Event Venue: Mathuradas Mills Compound NM Joshi Marg Lower Parel Mumbai 400013 India, Mumbai, MH 400013, India

Devoid - Zygnema - Spiked Crib - Abandoned Agony - Atmosfear
5 February 2011
Event Venue: Andheri, MH, India
Shemekia Copeland
5 February 2011
Event Venue: Mumbai, MH, India
Jonny Lang
5 February 2011
Event Venue: Mumbai, MH, India
Mahindra Blues Festival
5 February 2011 to 6 February 2010
Event Venue: Mumbai, MH, India
Bryan Adams
12 February 2011
Live Concert
Event Venue: MMRDA Bandra Kurla Complex
SOI 10th Celebrity Concert Season
14 February 2011 to 27 February 2011
Event Venue: Nariman Point, NCPA Marg & Dorabji Tata Road, , Mumbai
Chamber Recital - Violin duos
14 February 2011
Event Venue: National Centre For The Performing Arts, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Near The Hilton Hotel, Mumbai
17 February 2011 to 20 February 2011
Event Venue: Mumbai - 400 051, Mumbai, MH, India
Friderick Delius : La Calinda-Koanga - Music Concert
17 February 2011
Event Venue: NCPA Complex, Nariman Point, Mumbai
18 February 2011 to 20 February 2011
Event Venue: Mumbai - 400 051, Mumbai, MH, India
Piano & Soprano Performance
18 February 2011
Event Venue: Nariman Point, NCPA Marg & Dorabji Tata Road, , Mumbai
Master The Rock Lead Guitars At Guitar Hall,Mumbai.
22 July 2010 to 20 February 2011
Event Venue: B-7 Gurudev Apartments R C Marg Chembur naka near Akbarallys Chembur Mumbai-71, Mumbai, MH, India
Gioachino Rossini : William Tell Overture - Music Concert
22 February 2011
Event Venue: NCPA Complex, Nariman Point, Mumbai

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Music of BENGAL

Bangladesh and West Bengal, India are traditionally very rich in its musical heritage. From the ancient times, music documented the lives of the people and was widely patronized by the rulers.

Bangla music in ancient times was mostly linked to prayer. Due to the immense influence of Hindu mythology, most folk songs are related to some sort of praise of the gods and their creation. songs were associated with particular groups of people, such as fishermen, cart-drivers, hermits and so on. Most songs were based on classical themes.

Modernisation of Bangla music occurred at different times and most of these modernisation processes happened independently of western influence. Most notable of these changes were:
Popularity of folk music of Sufi genres: introduction of non-Hindu notions and philosophy in music
Works of Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel Laureate poet: introduction of variations of classical music to music
Works of Kazi Nazrul Islam: introduction of complicated musical composition and use of music as a revolutionary tool
Modernisation of folk music: bringing folk music into mainstream
Fusion work: fusion of traditional music with electronic instruments and Western work to revitalise and re-popularise Bangla music in a society increasingly overwhelmed by the West

Rabindranath Tagore wrote thousands of songs that are cherished even today. A famous writer of Bengal whose music was very popular in Bangladesh is Kazi Nazrul Islam. Lalon Fokir is a popular Bangladeshi mystic poet, famous for his spiritual tunes. Bangladesh is not wealthy in money, but is a culturally rich country

The Bauls of Bengal

The Baul songs are a very specialised branch of Bengali folk songs. Baul song has a kind of hippie-like attraction to it. It is unique in itself, yet it seems to hold in it a lot of elements of the other branches of Bengali folk musical tradtions as noted above. Because of its unique appeal or affliction, we have presented it as a distinct folk practice.

The word Baul means "afflicted with the wind desease", minstrels, uncaring travellers, selfless wanderers, lost in search of their souls, street walkers, ones with no fixed address, ones who find happiness in richness of their minds, etc. Much of the Bengali society looked upon the bauls as strange people who forsake all comforts and binds of the family life and chose streets as their home and austerity as the way of life. Customs and traditions they leave behind on the wayside.

The Bouls are the folk heroes of Bengal. "The popular romantic imagination everywhere seeks expression through its chosen bards: we have our Bob Dylans and Leonard Cohens, the Bengalis have thier Bauls. These wandering minstrels carry with them from village to city the soul of Bengal, perhaps of India, and every Bengali knows it even if today he is becoming uncertain what that soul really is" [Charles H. Capwell and others]. The Baul tradition cannot be characterised by any known or distinct doctrine. According to Edward C. Dimock, Jr. the term baulencompasses "a wide rage of religious opinion, traceable to several Hindu schools of thought, to Sufi Islam, and much that is traceable only to a man's own view of how he relates to God. All Bauls hold only this in common: that God is hidden in the heart of man, and neither priest nor prophet, nor the ritual of any organised religion, will help man to find him there. The Bauls feel that both [hindu] temple and [muslim] mosque stand across the path to truth, blocking the search. The search for God is one which everyone must carry out for himself."


First a disclaimer. This blog isn’t about bike rides (which I am (in)famous for). It isn’t about weekend getaways either. It’s about Purple Flower one of the oldest existing Rock Bands of India playing at a nondescript location, Gandhinagar, Gujarat for the last 35 years. For the uninitiated, people in Gujjuland treat Rock bands as any other orchestra at a Garba Mandali. They request for Sanedo and dance to it too!     
            Anyway, Sonam Gandhi and Shreya Oza do not fall into this category. As I am new to Ahmedabad and craved for some decent “chill-out” stations of which there are none in this city, these guys introduced me to the aforementioned band.
“Kya Hoga….. some sad orchestra you are taking me to!!” I smirked.
As I parked my bike (yeah, it had to be mentioned) and walked into the City Pulse Multiplex, I hear Eric Clapton’s Cocaine in a deep baritone.
Wtf? Cocaine!! Here??
Saturday night, I am standing in the vastly empty space, dotted by small trees with concrete peripherals to sit on them. A larger, flatter peripheral in the opposite under a Peepul tree, housed the Purple Flower. The halogens in the background bouncing off silhouettes of the musical instruments and the men and women(!!) playing them. As if cocaine wasn’t enough, the crisp wintery breeze sent a further chill down my spine.    
  “That’s Vispi Siganporia,” I’m informed. “The old man swaying at the drums.”
The creator.
Further information. Vispi started out this band when he was in Xavier’s Ahmedabad (my college!!) with a couple of his friends. Like most bands, the interest waned out of most of the players but Vispi held on. Today his daughter, Harmony (the other one is called Melody) plays with him on acoustics and vocals while Arnab Kumar (film director by profession and musician by choice) accompanies him on the keyboard. Marc Damania lends his electric (guitar) expertise while the grizzly haired Abhinav Khokhar on the bass completes the band.
Vispi Siganporia attracted me the most. His silvers are tied in a knot at the back of his head and a handlebar moustache completes the look of this awe inspiring drummer. If you are sitting alone listening to the band (which is the case most of the time, people here still don’t understand this genre of music), he peeps from below his cymbal and flashes that walrus smile at you.
Harmony is any man’s dream girl at any point of time. Studied at the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology University (CEPT), she comes across as a fiercely independent young woman. Clad in baggy greens and kurta she croons to Bob Marley’s “Ain’t no sunshine” with such ease that you tend to believe that the song feels better the female way. You cannot help but notice the tattoos on her. Be careful though, dad is on the drums next door!
Marc Damania is tall, wears sneakers and rides his bullet down south here to strum his guitar for Vispi. Listen to him on “whisky in the jar” and you tend to forgive his “Rock On!!” antics for the crowds that come up after a movie.
The Purple Flower has stuck to covers all these years with Deep Purple, Guns n Roses, Pink Floyd with a Metallica thrown here and there forming their staple diet. Their original compositions are rather far and apart. Arnav Kumar is a huge help here. Filmmaker by profession, his fingers create magic on the keyboard too. Sometimes when Vispi isn’t around, he plays the drums for the band.  His wife Dhaara accompanies him every time he plays here.
After Chinmay Nayak left his bass guitar here, it was picked up by the extremely talented nineteen-year-old Abhinav Khokhar. Purple Flower does pick up youngsters to do their deal now. Yashvardhan Prasad and Abhinav among others are regulars with the band now.
It’s been 40 years since Vispi won the “best Drummer in the country” title for his psychedelic rock number “The mod Trad” at the then annual Shimla Beat 70/71. Since then, he has tries to keep up this band and quite successfully at that. Today, the band is represented by two generations with different schools of thought, united by their singular love for music. It takes a lot of love, courage and gumption to stick to your guns if you're a musician, more so in this part of the country. Vispi and his motley crew of crazy musicians have done just that - for 39 years and counting.


Simla Beat 70/71 is a collection of tracks from the All-India Simla Beat Contest, which was organized in the late-1960s by the India Tobacco Company. In an attempt to reach the youth market, the India Tobacco company billed itself as "the oldest cigarette company with a young heart" and tried to attach its brand name to rock music.
The contest was first held in 1968 and became an annual event thereafter. As the contest grew, a subsidiary of EMI released the LP Simla Beat 70, which collected the winning tracks from the 1970 contest, and followed the next year with Simla Beat 71. A label ill-advisedly named Ten Little Indians reissued Simla Beat 70/71 as a double-LP in 1997, and Normal Records released this as a double-CD in 1999.
Normal Records did a nice job of packaging the CD re-issue of Simla Beat 70/71, but for some reason they chose not to add any information about the significance of the All-India Simla Beat Contest. This is more than a little disappointing, as the original liner notes are not very informative, being more or less a commercial for the company that staged the event.
From the information available, however, it's clear that this was a major event in Indian rock & roll. All in all, 13 bands representing nine Indian cities are featured on these discs, and the music on Simla Beat 70/71 is surprisingly Western sounding. Anyone expecting sitars and tabla drums is in for a shock, as most of the tracks feature a guitar-bass-drums-vocals lineup, and a number of the tracks are covers of American songs.
Simla Beat 70 contains two Creedence Clearwater Revival covers ("Sinister Purpose" by the Dinosaurs, who were from Bangalore, and "Born on the Bayou" by the X'Lents, who were from Ahmedabad—presumably they weren't singing about the bayou in Ahmedabad!). Simla Beat 71 included a couple of blues covers, Skip James's "I'm So Glad" is covered by the Velvette Fogg and Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor", performed by the Hipnotic Eye. More than likely the Indian bands who recorded these songs had only heard the versions recorded by popular rock artists.
Cream included "I'm So Glad" on the 1966 album Fresh and "Killing Floor" was the debut single of the Electric Flag in 1968, not to mention that Jimi Hendrix had performed this song at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Other songs on Simla Beat 70/71 make specific reference to psychedelia (the X'Lents recorded a track called "Psychedelia" and the Brood of Vipers perform "Psychedelic Web"). Psychedelic titles and band names aside, these tracks by and large are straightforward garage rock. This is not a criticism, as the tracks here are inspired recordings with a refreshing guitar-bass-drums-vocals simplicity.
Having said that, easily the best track in this collection is the most "eastern" sounding one, "Simla Beat Theme" by the Fentones. "Simla Beat Theme" is a hipnotic instrumental track that increases in tempo and in intensity over four transcendent minutes. It's ironic that the Fentones achieved that "eastern" sound with a guitar-bass-drums arrangement that so many British and American bands were trying to achieve by adding a sitar to their sound.
All in all, Simla Beat 70/71 is a good collection. The main criticism of the music here is that the Indian bands were perhaps trying to sound too American, but Simla Beat 70/71 is a fascinating release that is definitely worth searching for.     
01 - Confusion - Voice from the inner soul.mp3
02 - Dinosaurs - You can't beat it.mp3
03 - X'lents - Psychedelia.mp3
04 - Genuine spares - Proper stranger.mp3
05 - Dinosaurs - Sinister purpose.mp3
06 - Great bear - Mist.mp3
07 - X'lents - Born on the bayou.mp3
08 - Innerlight - Baby baby please.mp3
09 - The fentones - Simla beat theme.mp3
10 - Nomads - Nothing is the same.mp3
11 - Hypnotic eye - killing floor.mp3
12 - Velvette fog - I'm so glad.mp3
13 - Black beats - The mod trade.mp3
14 - Brood of vipers - Psychedelic web.mp3
15 - Hypnotic eye - Aimless lady.mp3
16 - Pat farrell - Brand new baby.mp3
17 - The conductors - She said so.mp3
18 - Soul Generation - I can't see you.mp3
19 - The couriers - Feelings.mp3
20 - Changing tymes - You make it hard.mp3

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The phonautograph is the earliest known device for recording sound propagating through air. Invented by Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, it was patented on March 25, 1857. It transcribed sound waves as undulations in a line traced on smoke-blackened paper. Intended solely as a laboratory instrument for the study of acoustics, it could be used to determine the frequency of a given musical pitch and to visually analyze the waveforms of speech and other sounds. Apparently, it did not occur to anyone before the 1870s that the recordings, called phonautograms or phonoautograms, contained enough information about the sound that they could, in theory, be used to recreate it.

The device consisted of a horn or barrel that focused sound waves onto a membrane to which a hog's bristle was attached, causing the bristle to move and enabling it to inscribe the sound in a visible form. Initially, the phonautograph made recordings onto a lamp-blackened glass plate. A later version (see image) used a medium of lamp-blackened paper on a drum or cylinder. Another version would draw a dotted line or wavy line representing the sound wave on a roll of paper.

By mid-April of 1877, Charles Cros had realized that a phonautograph recording could be converted back into sound. But before he was able to put his ideas into practice, the announcement of Thomas Edison's phonograph, which recorded sound waves immediately, temporarily, relegated Cros's less direct method to obscurity.

One phonautogram, created on April 9, 1860, was revealed to be a 20-second recording of the French folk song "Au clair de la lune". While it was initially believed to be the voice of a woman or adolescent, further research in 2009 suggested the playback speed had been too high and that it was actually the voice of Scott himself, singing the song very slowly. Also recovered were two 1860 recordings of "Vole, petite abeille" ("Fly, Little Bee"), a lively song from a comic opera.


“Music as an art, our so-called occidental music, is hardly four hundred years old; its state is one of development, perhaps the very first stage of a development beyond present conception, and we—we talk of "classics" and "hallowed traditions!”
                                                                         Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music, Ferrucio Busoni

Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology.  Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar. Purely electronic sound production can be achieved using devices such as the Theremin, sound synthesizer, and computer.

Electronic music was once associated almost exclusively with Western art music but from the late 1960s on the availability of affordable music technology meant that music produced using electronic means became increasingly common in the popular domain. Today electronic music includes many varieties and ranges from experimental art music to popular forms such as electronic dance music

Before electronic music, there was a growing desire for composers to use emerging technologies for musical purposes. Several instruments were created that employed electromechanical designs and they paved the way for the later emergence of electronic instruments. An electromechanical instrument called the Telharmonium (sometimes Teleharmonium or Dynamophone) was developed by Thaddeus Cahill in the years 1898-1912. However, simple inconvenience hindered the adoption of the Telharmonium, due to its immense size. The first electronic instrument is often viewed to be the Theremin, invented by Professor Léon Theremin circa 1919–1920. Another early electronic instrument was the Ondes Martenot, which was most famously used in the Turangalîla-Symphonie by Olivier Messiaen as well as other works by him. It was also used by other, primarily French, composers such as Andre Jolivet.

The decade 1920 to 1930 brought a wealth of early electronic instruments and the first compositions for electronic instruments. The first instrument, the Etherophone, was created by Léon Theremin (born as Lev Termen) between 1919 and 1920 in Leningrad. The instrument was eventually renamed the Theremin. This led to the first compositions for electronic instruments. 

Recording of sounds made a leap in 1927, when American inventor J. A. O'Neill developed a recording device that used magnetically coated ribbon. However, this was a commercial failure. Two years later, Laurens Hammond established his company for the manufacture of electronic instruments. He went on to produce the Hammond organ, which was based on the principles of the Telharmonium, along with other developments including early reverberation units.