Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Fourth of July

Just yesterday my son was asking me for suggestions for patriotic hymns. The only one I could think of was 'Rise India'. But on the Fourth of July - Independence Day in America , I thought I'd use this blog  to share all the American Patriotic songs that I know and love. 


What better way to start the blogpost than with the National Anthem - The Star Sprangled Banner.


For the music trivia lover, the most famous version of that track would be unmistakably the Jimi Hendrix performance at Woodstock in 1970. 

During the one trip I made to the USA nine years ago, I recall attending Church on Sunday when the choir began to sing this song - America The Beautiful.


Back home in Mumbai, I remember singing the next song as a child of 7 or 8. Never knew at the time that it was an American Patriotic Song - Battle Hymn of the Republic.


Another song I remember as a child, and possibly heard among the family medleys was this classic - This Land Is Your Land.


So whether your a native American or one of my many Indian friends who live there, here's wishing you a Happy Fourth of July. Yes, Happy Independence Day. God Bless America.


While looking for videos for these songs, I chanced upon an interesting compilation of the Top Ten Most Patriotic Songs from Watchmojo.com





Thursday, June 8, 2017

Purple Train or Purple Rain


Have you ever seen a Purple Train? 

Mumbai has got a lot of colour nowadays... and its going to get even more in the coming years... with the Mumbai metro proceeding in to develop the next phase really fast... though one wonders when the Monorail will be extended to the proposed network. I'm sure we'll also see some purple trains...

While we have to wait and see how things move ahead, yesterday was a Purple Train day at the North Shore Scenic Railroad in Minnesota, US - the reason? Celebrating a musical birthday. The birthday of Prince - who gave us Purple Rain.



I shared this post last year on #PrinceDay, the invitation to locals to wear purple...


While most conversation about Prince tends to be about his Purple Reign, I can't help but notice one more colour (or actually a non-colour) on his palette. Have you come across Cream.


What's colour can you spot on of the background of the video screenshot above? That's a rhetoric question....

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Colours in Life.... 100 years of Dean

Do you know any song with your name in it?

If you're name is Maria... then you probably find it difficult to keep track of the songs with your name. My sister Priya had songs in Hindi with her name in them.

Though I have a common name - you'd find two or three Sunil's in any gathering, no matter how small. But I have the privilege to hear my surname in this one song. 



Nel blu di pinto di blu is literally translated from Italian to 'In the blue that is painted blue'. So I guess the Pinto in the song is a conjugation of the verb that has something to do with paint. And speaking of blue, there a lot more blue in my name. Never knew the meaning of my name till one baby names guide translated Sunil to 'Deep Dark Blue'.

And while we are in the blue, you probably heard the phrase “once in a blue moon”. Do you know what it means... As far as I know, the 'blue moon' refers to the second occurence of the moon in a calendar month... but I look forward to this Blue Moon.


Actually had a jumpy version of that song for a while sung by The Marcels. While blue in music often refers to sadness, the Blue Moon here had a wonderful sense of Amore.


That's a whole lot of love going around... and we all know that Everybody Loves Somebody sometime.



If you've been following this blog over any part of the past two years, you possibly would've guessed that this post is a tribute to Dean Martin... oh yes, it is. I still remember finding a cassette (you may not know what that is anymore) of his songs at home and really enjoyed these oldies. And of course my Dad enjoyed singing a lot of these songs including Buona Sera.



An on this wonderful evening we recall the wonderful music that Dean Martin gave us during his lifetime that started A Hundred Years From Now.


This tribute to a great singer would be incomplete without the wish for a Pink (read happy) life - La Vie En Rose.


We've been from Blue to Pink... which colour comes next?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

And I Love You So

Just wrote a blogpost about a famous birthday... the birthday of a modern saint canonized as recently as 2014... maybe you know Giovanni Paolo... Read more about him at Walking With Jesus...


While Saint John Paul II spend over 26 years as head of the Catholic Church, another famous person who shares his birthday enjoyed a musical career spanning over 50 years. That's Perry Como. And my favorite song on his list is this one my dad used to sing... And I Love You So...


Perry Como would have been 105 today. He passed away just about a week before his 89th birthday in 2001. 

While they have gone ahead before here's a living legend of Country Music - George Strait at 65 today... right in the Heartland.



Nearly midnight in Mumbai... Stay tuned for more on #AMusicalTwistToLife



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Two Years of #AMusicalTwist

Was a pleasant Sunday afternoon and I had just been introduced to blogging at the Digital Marketing course I was attending at Don Bosco Centre of Learning. And an idea lit up... What does it take to create one? That's how it began... this blog, #AMusicalTwistToLife... with a quick chat on Music and Math.

This blog has had quite a journey over the past twenty-four months finding the musical twist in almost everything in life. And of course it has been quite a journey for me. On this second anniversary, I thought I'd revisit some of the special moments I've cherished creating and writing this blog...

Less than a month after starting this blog, I was invited to go Back To School - not one but two - the first invitation was back at my basic school where I spent twelve precious years of learning - Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Chembur - where I was called on to help the Secondary Choir prepare for the school feast. 

The second invitation was to my Business School - Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS Mumbai) - where I took on the prestigious role of Guest Faculty teaching Digital Marketing. And almost at the same time, I took on another Guest Faculty assignment teaching CRM at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communications (SIMC Pune) - Music, Digital Marketing, CRM ... all rolled in one.

Happy Friendship Day in August connected me to friends from school, college, business school, work colleagues, and friends from absolutely everywhere. The warm response and the connections inspired me to pick up the pace on this blog. Besides Independence Day, Teachers Day, Mothers Day, etc... we celebrated many happy days, and paid tributes on some sad ones...

2015 was a year for new beginnings - this blog being only one of the new things that began for me. 



Things moved at a rapid pace through 2016 with more than a hundred posts for the year... 130 to be precise. Rewind 2016 highlighted the special moments on the blog while celebrating the top posts of the year on diverse topics including films, travel and even animals - enough reason to do the TWIST.



At this two-year mark, I've put up a total of 230 posts and nearing 20,000 pageviews on this blog. 

During this year like in others, we've celebrated Birthdays - of musicians famous and not so famous - my favorite birthday post being that of my son going eight a couple of weeks ago. He's Eight Today - This Musical Little Boy

Weddings were memorable - and so were anniversaries especially those of loved ones. Bees Saal Baad being extremely special. 

Whether the music is nostalgic like the Ventures or contemporary and glamourous like Lady Gaga, I'm glad that you all have been enjoying the posts.


Thanks again to one and all for reading and listening to #AMusicalTwistToLife




Friday, May 5, 2017

Let's Sing With The Cartoons

It's Summertime!!! And the schools are on vacation!!! Yes! Summertime.



Flashback to our summer holidays back in the 80's. We'd have a real fantastic time at the local summer camp... and when we were not playing, singing, dancing or acting... we'd devour books or better still comic books... my favorite being The Archies.



Did you know there was a real place called Riverdale in New York State... Passed the station when we were travelling by train from Toronto to Penn Station, NY. Back to The Archies, did you ever wonder why everytime they took the stage, they'd always sing Sugar Sugar? That's because this song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for a full four weeks. 

There was another band in from Riverdale High... comprising all girls and they had some fancy cat costumes... Remember Josie and The Pussycats... Stop, Look and Listen...



From the late 1960s and early 1970s, we go back in time a further 10 years to a song from 1959... that became popular in 2007 with the release of Alvin and The Chipmunks.



And from the big screen to the small screen with Phineas and Ferb - Gitchi Gitchi Goo (Means That I Love You).



And for those wondering why I pulled out this lot of music, there a very good reason... Today is World Cartoonist Day and I decided to celebrate these cartoon bands... Also celebrating all the cartoonists who've made us smile and laugh. 

Back in the 80s and 90s, we all woke up to a daily dose of satire in the Times of India with R.K. Laxman's You Said It. And nowadays I get my daily dose of cartoons and sports on a Facebook feed on Austin Coutinho's Cartoon Page

And finally, did you hear about a music group called Cartoons.



A picture is worth a thousand words... 
A cartoon, countless...

HAPPY CARTOONIST DAY


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Best of Country

My eldest sister celebrated 25 years of marriage earlier this year. The first wedding in our family - it was a real union of families, especially considering that both the families had strong music roots. Our choice of music was mainstream pop, a little rock and some pop jazz, and a lot of oldies. But now, we had a new musical influence in our family... an introduction to the world of Country Music... and the country music has gone down (in two senses) really well. Down as in to the next generation... and also down geographically to New Zealand. Apparently there is a flourishing interest in Country Music in New Zealand, and it is a proud moment for our family that my nephew Keith Pereira is making waves in the Country Music scene there by being the overall winner at the Auckland Country Music Awards.... 


Keith has recently launched his YouTube channel - The Country Coffee Club where he posts some of his excellent covers for all to hear. And one of the artists that I've heard thanks to Keith's dad has been Randy Travis - who celebrates his 58th birthday today. While Randy Travis has many #1's on the Country Music charts, this song has been his highest scoring hit on the Billboard Hot 100 - Three Wooden Crosses.



That song also hit an emotional string of my heart for many reasons actually - one of them on the spiritual note. The song also fitted well with a post I wrote on a new blog I've created to share my experience of Walking With Jesus

While on the spiritual level, today is also the birthday of a Grammy winning Contemporary Christian music singer-songwriter and worship leader, Chris Tomlin. Over the past three years in Mumbai, I've been fortunate to have involved in the music ministry in our local Catholic Charismatic Renewal Group... and being called on to play music at some of the retreats they've organised. Also been called upon to share the Lord's Word through teaching Catechism to children and youth in the parish. Our God is good, he is great... Here's one of the songs of praise that I've sung and played to - How Great Is Our God.



And as I wind up, I must thank all you wonderful people for your support on this blog... I just had one of my best days yesterday... with more than 350 viewing my celebration of the music by my little son Kendall in the post - He's Eight Today... This Musical Little Boy. Thank God for him. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My Grandfather's Clock... and more

The first picture I saw this morning this one posted by my Mum on a family WhatsApp group.


That's my Grandfather - Mr. Joseph Marian Pinto. I never did see him, but what awesome stories I've heard about him. And among the cherished memories that my dad and his siblings have shared about their dad is the encouragement that he gave to music and singing. And I'm sure he would have been a really proud dad with every song his kids sang... and every dance they danced.

He was born on this day in 1904... but this grandfather song is even older... My Grandfather's Clock.



Grandpa was a man of strong values... and lots of advice. I'm sure this message would've been among the tips he gave his kids... Ac-cen-tuate The Positive.



Born exactly a year before my grandfather, was this very versatile singer who recorded well over 2500 songs comprising around 320 hits including some very memorable Christmas Carols and songs still played proudly today. Bing Crosby was born in 1903.

Also born today in 1919 was a folk-singer who lived for 94 years and wrote some great songs including Turn Turn Turn for The Byrds and If I Had A Hammer for Peter Paul and Mary.


  
Swing, Folk... how about Soul? The godfather of Soul was also born today in 1933 - James Brown I Feel Good.


While those three singers have gone ahead of us... this next singer has completed 80 today. We all know him from his #1 hit and the title song of the 70s movie - Grease. This is Frankie Valli.



Born in 1944 was another Pete, Pete Staples of The Troggs - Wild Thing.



Need a break from all the male songs... Let's go back in time... Do you ever use this phrase... Those Were The Days sung by Mary Hopkin, born in 1950.



We started with musical birthdays for today from 1903 and gone down the years... Born 50 years after Bing Crosby is this power balladeer - Bruce Hall (REO Speedwagon) with Keep On Loving You.



Quite a diverse spread of music put together to remember my Grandfather's birthday... While I was researching music for this post, I chanced on this beautiful bluegrass rendition of My Grandfather's Clock.



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

He's Eight Today - This Musical Little Boy

It was a warm sunny Saturday morning exactly eight years ago. The three of us set out on what had become a routine for a checkup for my wife at the maternity hospital at Sharjah. But today was different - the tests were not showing and when the doctor probed further, there was a very good reason. One little boy was in a big hurry to see the light of day. 



Kendall is still a boy in a hurry, as he sits and keeps track of everything anybody types at the computer, and instructs even me on the shortcuts to computing. He's a boy in a hurry to grow up and keep up with his elder brother, six years older than he. 

Very different from Kaniel in most ways, there's more than one thing they love in common. Besides the games on the iPad that all kids enjoy, they have a common love for making music.

On one weekend, I introduced Kendall to his first finger exercise on the keyboard. And this is what it turned into.


The year has had more than its fair share of music for Kendall. Was a proud moment for all of us when he was one of of the few boys to be selected for a solo part for Annual Day - an experience that gave him tremendous confidence. The selection actually earned him the nickname of 'solo singer' especially by classmates who find his name difficult to pronounce. 



What started in school went even further in Sunday School. On a day when I was tied up with professional commitments, Kendall stepped up on stage at 'A Fair To Remember', our parish fete to sing a song or two. 

At the Sunday School Annual Day a couple of months ago, he was selected to play the role of Joseph (from the Old Testament) and sang this song about 'A Coat of Many Colours'


Just last week, our parish conducted the Vacation Bible Joy program, and once again Kendall was called on to lend his voice to this theme song written by some of the catechists there. Here's the song with a compilation of pictures from the camp.


If you ever pass outside my front door, you may hear our keyboard play either one of the following nursery rhymes - Mary Had a Little Lamb or London Bridge Is Falling Down. But what is different about these songs is the elaborate Intro and Outro across music genres from Rock to Jazz to Swing... that only Kendall can add. 

During the week, he discovered a harmonica that had been gifted to him by my parents, and decided he wanted to learn to play it. He went online and searched for harmonica notes, and then went on to learn the same two songs on the harmonica. Give a little listen. 


As the school year came to a close, students were handed over a copy of the school magazine that including this article from our champ.




As we celebrate the completion of another year in Kendall's life, I indeed need to Thank The Lord for this wonderful gift of love to our family. In this month of May (dedicated to Mother Mary), we entrust him in the arms of Our Blessed Mother for her care and protection... and most of all her intercession.  



HAPPY BIRTHDAY KENDALL







Monday, May 1, 2017

WORK WORK WORK...

20 days since my last post on this blog... That's a long time...

Been a busy month of April... new projects at work, tight deadlines... Been working beyond the 9 to 5...



Whatever your timings, we all need to be Working For a Livin'...


And there's the sometimes you get this feeling... to Bang On My Drum all day...


And those times when life seems to go haywire due to work schedules... I remember this song and try to rework the schedules... 


Enjoyed a boys weekend at home... included sight-seeing, shopping, an event, and plenty of music...

On this Worker's Day let's also remember all the people who help and support us in their work... from the domestic help, the rickshaw driver, the shopkeeper... everybody... That's what my last year's post paid tribute to... 

So go ahead, enjoy your work... and if you're looking for a change... or even your first job... remember.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Confucius

Whatever work you do... just enjoy it... and Whistle While You Work.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Harmony at the Barbershop

Barbershop Quartet Day (April 11)


Barbershop Quartet Day is a day to appreciate music that sound like it started in the Barbershop... In those days before technology in entertainment, when possibly family running the shop would entertain their customers and just have a good time with music. Keeping the genre alive in America is the Barbershop Harmony Society which organises events and also an Annual competition. I've put together my selection of barbershop favorites for you to listen to and enjoy. 

Let's start with the the winners of the International Barbership Championship in 2016. Their in the Forefront - I've Got Rhythm.


Have you seen that barbershop on the Main Street... That's the name of the next quartet. Had featured them in my barbershop post last year... Time For A Haircut? ... These guys are really good and do some fantastic parodies with a lot of Spice (aka Spice Girls).. For them Life's A Happy Song.


The barber is where the men go for their haircuts... The girls usually go to a beauty parlour... And do they sing there too? 

Barbershop is not a man thing... the girls do it too... And their quartet is called a Sweet Adelines Quartet. Here's one of the sweetest Adeline groups I came across - ClassRing - singing a medley I Can't Give You Anything but Love/L-O-V-E.


Last Night Was The End Of The World. Not really... but I wonder what I night it was when our next quartet was born... Quaduplets - 3 girls and a boy make up Vintage Mix and their showcase here is You've Got A Friend In Me from Toy Story.


Go ahead... think of your favorite song that will fit this format... Anyone thinking about the Queen... Not the Queen, but the band... This song is my alltime favorite with heavenly harmony... Bohemian Rhapsody performed by Storm Front.


Time for a local surprise... not a quartet, bur a sextet... that's what I think it is called... Raaga Trippin' have been engaging local crowds at events and even online with some of their a-capella compositions including Hindi favorites... Here's a classic from Julie - Dil Kya Kare.




If you enjoyed the music here... do Follow for regular updates... Also check out the Barbershop Quartet on the post... Oh When The Saints

Monday, April 10, 2017

Jump Jive and Wail

Was walking down the street yesterday with my boys... and noticed a cat perched on the wall in a corner that would later in the day be occupied by the fish mongers. We've all been warned about the black cats crossing the road... I remember some friends turning around on their bicycles and riding a short distance if a stray cat crossed their paths... and then turning back to their destinations... Also had lots of good friends who were die hard cat lovers and we would desperately try to avoid the cats when we visited them...

But today, our topic here is not really the cats... but a band called the Stray Cats whose front man went on to create an orchestra in 1990. 


Check out the Brian Setzer Orchestra with the Stray Cat Strut.


Remember The Mask with Jim Carey and Cameron Diaz. The movie was a fantastic comedy... and had some rocking music... with a really upbeat rhythm... And the soundtrack of the film has this rocker from the BSO - Straight Up.



Talking of movies, Brian Setzer played Rock n Roll legend Eddie Cochran in the 1987 musical La Bamba based on the life of Richie Valens... And with summer on the anvil, here are the Summertime Blues.



Its going to be Summertime Blues in full swing for 58 year-old Brian Setzer... He's going to be taking his Rockability Riot across the US and Europe as well... Rock This Town.



And if you get that rhythm and got music in your veins, you'd probably be tapping your feet... and you were at a party, you could Jump Jive and Wail.



Growing up in the 80s, we just loved that beat at parties and weddings... In fact in my band days in the 90s, we had a 30-40 minute Jive set and there'd be A Whole Lotta Shakin'. This is a collaboration with Jerry Lee Lewis - another Rock n Roll legend of the 60s.



If you enjoy Rock n Roll, you should check out Brian Setzer's Christmas and Holiday Music as well... Will have to wait a few months for that though...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sing Me Back Home

Last year on this day... a Country Legend went back to his home on the sky... on the same day that he was first born... 79 years apart... That's Country Legend Merle Haggard. 



Do you know his songs... Try a little quiz...

 

How did you score... share your points in the comments...

Paying double tribute to Merle on what would have been his 80th birthday but is also his 1st Death Anniversary... the music industry gets together today at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena to celebrate his life playing tribute to him - Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle HaggardThe all-star concert performances by Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, John Mellencamp, Dierks Bentley, Sheryl Crow, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Jr., Toby Keith, the Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss, Ronnie Dunn, Alabama, Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Jamey Johnson, Kacey Musgraves, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lucinda Williams, Ben Haggard, John Anderson, Connie Smith and Bobby Bare.

Meanwhile at the other end of the world diagonally - down in New Zealand, a couple of young Country musicians have paid their own tribute to Merle Haggard - presenting Keith Pereira and Jeremy Hantler.


If you liked that, do subscribe to the The Country Coffee Club where Keith promises a lot more of his music productions in the days to come. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wipe Those Tears Away... Just Be Happy


She's got the most sung about eyes in the world...
She's the 'First Lady of the American Screen'...
And she was born today in 1908...
She's BETTE DAVIS... and her eyes were made famous by Kim Carnes.


When that song became a hit in 1981, Bette Davis wrote the singer letters saying she was a fan and thanked her for making her “a part of history."

How many songs do you know about Eyes? Was just checking the archives on this blog and came across two posts with collections of songs on eyes... Eyes Wide Open (on World Sight Day) and Eyes Wide Shut (on World Braille Day).

While this next song did not feature on either of the posts, it features here since the Platters took it to a #1 position in the US and UK in 1958... and their lead singer at the time was born exactly 20 years after Bette Davis... on this day in 1928... Tony Williams of the Platters



What happens when Smoke Gets In Your Eyes... maybe there'd be tears... Tears of A Clown.
 

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles including Ronnie White born today in 1939... Among the many hits that he wrote with Smokey, the one that probably stand out most is My Girl. And that reminds me of the 'girl with golden hair' Agnetha Fältskog from ABBA who's 67 today... I'd love to call her the Dancing Queen.



The latest update on the band was around six months ago when it was reported that ABBA were getting back together for a ‘groundbreaking venture that will utilise the very latest in digital and virtual reality technology’. 

 I'm sure that would have made them and all the ABBA fans of yesteryear Happy



Have you been clapping along.... Pharrell Williams is 44 today. Just last week, there was news that his childhood is set to inspire a big-screen musical called Atlantis.

We've spanned 65 years of time across the five songs above to mark birthdays of #ThisDayInMusic.

But the biggest event #ThisDayInMusic was in 1985 

At 3:50pm GMT, over 5,000 radio stations worldwide aired the charity single by USA for Africa - We Are The World. The single went on to be a No.1 in the US & UK, and most Western territories.

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We Are The World featured in my earlier post Tolerance. The song has special memories for me as a teenager when I used to sing it with my siblings. We've also done a really good version of that with all my paternal cousins at my grandmother's 75th birthday. But more recently, the song was sung by my seven-year old son at the school Annual Day. More about that at Annual Days and Fun Fairs... Keeping The Music Alive. 
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