AMC – Africa

Oumou Sangaré

Considering that I’ve been listening to music for many decades, it’s not surprising that I have around 5,000 favorite songs. I’m not exaggerating: I do have 5,000 favorite songs.

Those songs give me pleasure and joy, solace and comfort. I know them intimately, each of them associated with treasured memories. Many of them I can still recall when I first heard them, and why they entered my collection of favorites.

Today I would like to present three foreign language songs. I consider Bengali (my mother tongue), Hindi and Marathi to be domestic languages, and consider English to be a “native” language since I think, read, write and speak it better than any other language. The rest are all foreign languages to me, including French which I understand a bit of. Continue reading “AMC – Africa”

AMC – Kabir Bhajans

Veena Sahasrabuddhe

I love bhajans. The wiki explain that the word bhajan connotes “attachment, devotion to, fondness for, homage, faith or love, worship, piety to something as a spiritual, religious principle or means of salvation.”

On its historical roots, it notes that “in Hinduism, Bhajan and its Bhakti term Kirtan, have roots in the ancient metric and musical traditions of the Vedic era, particularly the Samaveda. The Samaveda Samhita is not meant to be read as a text, but sung as it is like a musical score sheet that must be heard.” Continue reading “AMC – Kabir Bhajans”

All Songs Considered

Do you like music? I do. Intensely and passionately. All sorts of music. The range is unlimited. From Hindustani classical vocals to modern composers to Western classical. From old Hindi film songs to rock ‘n roll and heavy metal. I am so glad that I live in an age that I can have access to a virtually unlimited amount of music at my command. It’s magical and amazing.

I realized that music is not everyone’s cup of tea. My sincere sympathies. For the rest, I’d like to point to some music I like. This is prompted by a suggestion by my friend Anup who recently asked me to share movies and documentaries that I like. Why not, say I. Why not share music, too. So here beings a regular series. Continue reading “All Songs Considered”

Hay You

“The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter. All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe. Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages. According to the Hay Theory of History, the invention of hay was the decisive event which moved the center of gravity of urban civilization from the Mediterranean basin to Northern and Western Europe. The Roman Empire did not need hay because in a Mediterranean climate the grass grows well enough in winter for animals to graze. North of the Alps, great cities dependent on horses and oxen for motive power could not exist without hay. So it was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York.” ― Freeman Dyson, Infinite in All Directions 

Continue reading “Hay You”

Porcupine Pie

Pictures and videos of cats and babies makes up for the socialist idiocy one comes across on the internet.

I like baby animals, the most favored being human babies. Human babies in animal suits are the best. So I share with you this picture of a baby in a porcupine suit.

I am not too sure about the suit. It could be a piggy suit — notice the snout and the hoofs. But then it has spiky things all over it. So it could be a porcupine suit. It looks like it to me.  And then this old favorite song popped into my head: Porcupine Pie by Neil Diamond. Continue reading “Porcupine Pie”

Dhanteras

Dhanteras Greetings. For those who are not familiar with this northern Indian festival, here’s a bit from a 2019 post on Dhanteras.

“The first day of Diwali is called Dhanteras — the thirteenth lunar day of the month of Kartik. On this day, Lord Dhanwantari came out of the ocean with amrut — the nectar of immortality — for the Devas. This day marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations.”

Share lots of sweets with family and friends, and have a wonderful Diwali with fireworks and lights.

Here’s what I am listening to — Roopa Panesar on the sitar, accompanied by Upneet Singh on tabla, and Pirashanna Thevarajah on the mridamgan. Listen. Continue reading “Dhanteras”

Morsing

Percussion player from South India, Pirashanna Thevarajah plays ghatam and mridangam exceptionally well. Here he introduces another percussion instrument used in Carnatic classical music — the morsing.[1]

NOTES:

[1] It’s the same as jew’s harp. The wiki entry says:

There are many theories for the origin of the name jew’s harp. The apparent reference to Jews or to the Jewish people, which only exists in the English language word for the instrument, is especially misleading since it “has nothing to do with the Jewish people; neither does it look like a harp in its structure and appearance”

Sundance & Matsuri by Kitaro

I first heard Kitaro in the mid-80s. We used to go to Tower Records in Mt. View to buy CDs. Tower Records is now only an online store. But Kitaro’s music lives on. I even got to see Kitaro in concert at the Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley. 

Wiki describes it as “a multi-venue performance facility on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, completed in 1968. The facility consists of two primary performance spaces: the 1,984-seat Zellerbach Auditorium, and the 500-seat Zellerbach Playhouse. … suitable for dance, theater, and opera, and has a built-in concert shell that provides an excellent acoustical enclosure for symphonic and other classical music performances.” Continue reading “Sundance & Matsuri by Kitaro”

Cucurrucucú Paloma

Years ago in Berkeley, I watched this Pedro Almodóvar movie, Talk to Her. My advisor and I would go to the movies every so often. In one scene, Caetano Veloso sings this song, Cucurrucucú Paloma. I don’t understand Spanish but I do know that paloma means dove. The song is heartachingly beautiful. The voice conveys so much loss and longing.

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