Monday, January 25, 2016

Platinum for Diamond and Aaron, Dolly's Seventy

Last week I wrote a post on centuries among extended family and friends. Can't think of any more centuries soon. But yesterday was a day of precious stones and Metals - not Diamond .... but Platinum for Diamond and Neville, two singers of varied styles who've been on the scene even before I was born. And they both celebrated 75 years. 

Heard Neil Diamond for the very first time on Radio singing Song Sung Blue. A beautiful song with a lilting memory. Had a neighbour named Sean (pronounced Shaun) who was less than a year ago and he'd get all excited hearing the song, thinking it was being sung to him. 

A great romantic, his best ever song of all time is possibly Sweet Caroline - he sang this for Caroline Kennedy's 50th birthday in 2007.

While his solos were popular, he sang this romantic duet with Barbra Striesand - You Don't Bring Me Flowers. I remember an aunt of mine singing this song at most of the family get-togethers. 

The other seventy-five of yesterday I didn't know much as a kid. There was a time in the eighties when Love Duets were all around. And along with the Endless Love, Tonight I Celebrate My Love... I also heard this song by Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt - Don't Know Much. 

A few days earlier on 19th January the Queen of Country celebrated her 70th birthday. The 9-to-5 actress has a host of country tracks to her name - an all-time favorite being Jolene. 

But one of my favorites is the duet that she sang with Kenny Rogers.... Islands In the Stream. 

Happy #MusicalBirthday to all these fantastic singers and others....

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mumbai Drum Day 2016

Today is Mumbai Drum Day

I don't want to work, I want to Bang On My Drum All Day.

Some of India's top drummers are getting together in Mumbai for a unique drum festival. I'm sure all Mumbai's top drummers will be there to enjoy the show.   

Here's a sample of the type of drumming you will here at the show. Ranjit Barot and Gary Husband. 

And if you're an aspiring drummer, you would not need more inspiration than this. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Century Week

Earlier this week, the first ODI of the series between Australia and India saw some big scores. While Rohit Sharma scored the highest runs ever against Australia in Australia, the game had a first ever stat. The game was the first ever instance where both teams had a double-century partnership. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for India (207), Steven Smith and  George Bailey for Australia (242). 

We all love to see 100s scored on the cricket field, but this week is special because like in the cricket, there are two people in my circle of family and friends who have scored 100 - not in cricket, but in life. 

Celebrating his 100th birthday today is Mr. Felix Fernandez from my parish. Check out the link for more info about him. Also online is a special tribute put together by one of his grandchildren.

The other centenarian this week (tomorrow) is the grandmother (in-law) of one of my cousins. Based in Allahabad in North India, Mrs. Mary D'Sylva will be celebrating her century with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. There will sure be lots of music at the celebration with three generations of musicians. The family have put up a special Facebook page marking the event.

I wish them both a Very Happy Birthday and dedicate to them this song from the year they were born - 'The Sunshine Of Your Smile'. Yes, SMILES will be everywhere around them this week. 

The Sunshine Of Your Smile - John McCormack

There's this Happy Birthday Song that we have always sung for every birthday, soon after the cutting of the cake - 'It's A Hap Hap Happy Birthday'. It goes like this

It's a hap-hap-happy birthday,
May you live to be,
A hundred and three.
It's a hap-hap-happy birthday,
A hap-happy birthday to you.

Looks like those lyrics need to rewritten. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Britain's Got Talent

'Britain's Got Talent' - indeed - because this Musical Birthday girl was a discovery of the show. Jody Bird is just 18 today. She was stopped at the audition by (who else?) Simon Cowell but she went on the reach the semifinals on the show. 

Jodi Bird - Let It Go

Two years older, a product of another hit music reality show produced by Simon Cowell. A finalist on the ninth season, Ella Henderson signed her first record deal with Simon Cowell's recording company. 
Ella Henderson - Ghost

Three years older than Ella, sharing the birthday is one of the members of the band that's been the heart-throb of all- the teenage girls around the world. Are we headed the the right direction? - The band - One Direction. The singer - Zayn Malik. Happy Birthday Zayn.

One Direction - Live While We're Young

Another thing common about all of these singers and one next singer as well born on this day is that all are from Britain - "A jolly good day for them".

This singer was the Girl Power band of the 90s - the answer to many of the boy bands of the time. They had lots of spice. In fact they had Spice in the name. Say "Happy Birthday" to Melanie Chisholm (Mel C) of the Spice Girls.

Spice Girls - Wannabe

Music reality shows and Simon Cowell are a big thing in today's day. Which other reality singing shows have you heard of? And do you know which show can possibly be considered the pioneer of music reality shows? Let's see your answers in the comments...

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Big Birthday!!! So Many Singers! So Many Genres!

Was looking at my #MusicalBirthday list for today and it was awfully crowded with musicians and singers from all genres of music. So let's get started right away - with a prayer. 

Kumbaya - Joan Baez

Joan Baez -  American folk singer, songwriter, musician, and activist whose contemporary folk music often includes songs of protest or social justice - is 75 today.

How many of you pray so you can go to heaven? Just climb up the 'Stairway To Heaven' with Jimmy Page - guitarist and songwriter of Led Zeppelin. 

Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin

Staying with the heavenly theme, this liturgical year has been declared as the Jubilee Year of Mercy. This song is called 'Mercy' and is sung by the Dave Matthews of the Dave Mathews Band.  

Mercy - Dave Matthews Band

'Where Are You Going?' (that's the title of a Dave Matthews song). How about to Spain? That's where Farhan Akhtar goes with his friends in 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara'.   

Senorita - Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

'Rock On' or maybe rap with Sean Paul - 'Get Busy'

Get Busy - Sean Paul

Today's Birthday List also has the lead from the 90s and 2000s boy band era. A J McLean who used to be with the Backstreet Boys recently released a song entitles 'Live Together' feat. Jordan James. 

Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) - Backstreet Boys

And while on the topic of 'breakups', let's go country with Crystal Gayle whose 65 today. 'Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.'

Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue - Crystal Gayle

That's quite a list of singers, but I can't resist adding in a dancer - rather choreographer, director and actress - Farah Khan. Here's a clip from 'Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi'.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The King's Songs

81 years ago today was born a man who would be called the King - The King of Rock n Roll.

Elvis Presley has had an influence on most of our lives growing up. There is an active Elvis Fan Club in Mumbai headed by my once fellow RJ - Fali R. Singara, who was born after Elvis' death. 

I was six when Elvis died. And that was also the age, when I first sang a song in harmony -  and yes, it was an Elvis' number. Sang a voice part for "The Wonder of You" with my elder brother as a special wish to the OLPS Headmistress - Mrs. Viola D'Lima on her birthday that year. 

The Wonder Of You - Elvis Presley

Every year at Christmas time, the St. Anthony's Homes Co-op Society would have a series of activities at the Club including Talent Contests and Entertainment Events. We'd take part regularly in these contests and win a few prizes and trophies. One one occassion there, I remember doing another Elvis favorite - "Return To Sender".

Return To Sender - Elvis Presley

Last week I was emcee-ing 'Members' Nite' at the same venue with one of Mumbai's top entertainers Walter Pereira and squeezed out some backing vocals alongside, and I along with the 200+ guests enjoyed every Elvis number that he sang at the event. 

I'm reminded of another occasion at the same venue involving a cousin of mine, Glen Mascarenhas, who in his teens had this singing and dancing act that he performed on Elvis.  It was rumoured that to get the Elvis pelvis gyrating always, Elvis used to take the help of roaches that he'd slip into his shirt before getting to stage. Glen sang a couple of Elvis songs on stage dancing to tickles of the (imaginary) roaches, and stamping hard on the ones that fell to the floor. Remember he had the audience roaring with laughter with this song.

Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley

During my band days - in the 90s - Jailhouse Rock started the Rock n Roll medley in our Jive set. Will try to put a sample sometime soon on SoundCloud. 

Among Elvis' vast repertoire of songs, there's this one that has a special meaning for me. It's the first song I sang when my voice matured to a baritone, and won me many prizes including at the zonals in Chembur against 'Mack the Knife' Trudy. A soft powerful song that  serves as praise as well. Recorded this recently as a tribute to the uncle (The Singing Priest) who introduced me to the song and was also born in the same year as the King.

Elvis may be no more, but his music across various genres lives on. As we remember him today, let's remember this song every single day of this year that's just begun. Yes, there's Somebody bigger that all of us, who loves us all very dearly. 

And to end this post on a lighter note, just thought I'd play this song for you. While it is a sad song, there's this one line in this version that I've never heard before. Let's see whether you can find it - has to do with a 'hair' condition. Trust I'll see your comments below.

Are You Lonesome Tonight - Elvis Presley

Thursday, January 7, 2016

More Wedding Specials - This One is Special to Me

I've posted my Wedding Special quite a few times - in my voice. But on the birthday of one of the band members, I thought I'd give you the original. 

Amazed - Lonestar

Happy #MusicalBirthday John Rich of Big&Rich (was part of Lonestar in the 90s)

And to give Lonestar company on this post, here are a couple of other songs that I worked out in the same set of songs. 

Thank You For Loving Me - Bon Jovi

Thank You For Loving Me - Lionel Richie

Trust you enjoyed. 

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Apple Tree Day

Hi...Today is Apple Tree Day...

There are songs about other fruit trees: "Underneath the Mango Tree"  and "Lemon Tree"... but I can't think of one about the Apple Tree. 

Here however are my favorite apple songs...

Little Green Apples

A sixties song sung by many including Frank Sinatra, B J Thomas, O C Simpson, Roger name a few. Here's the latest version I know Robbie Williams feat. Kelly Clarkson. 

And for those of you who like the Cha Cha or Mambo... 

Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White

This one's from 1955.

Anyway... Have a wonderful Apple Tree Day... Eat an apple if you can... as you well know... "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Mother of the Bride (or Groom)

Came home this evening and my wife updated me of at least three couples in the family who celebrate their Wedding Anniversary today. Yes, at the peak of the wedding season, we celebrate the birthday of the 'Mother of the Bride" - the mother of the bride (Nina Banks) in the fantastic 1991 wedding movie "Father Of The Bride". Wishing Diane Keaton a very Happy Birthday. 

A few months ago, Love in the Movies discussed my favorite Hollywood Movie bride. Diane Keaton has been the 'Mother of the Bride' but the mother of the groom as well. That's the role she played in the 2012 movie, "The Big Wedding"

More mum roles for Diane Keaton (Charlotte Cooper)... The latest one is the most recent Holiday Movie (2015) - 'Love the Coopers'

Trust you enjoyed the video clips. Will be right back. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Musical Sunday - with Mumbai Youth

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.

It was indeed a happy day for singing and music yesterday in Mumbai as 12 choirs got together the St. Andrews Auditorium in Bandra for the Diocesan Youth Centre's - Singing Competition.

Christmas Carols (not songs) were the flavor of the day with impressive renditions of the Classic Carols including Silent Night, The First Noel, Joy To the World, What Child Is This. There were also some carols that I heard for the very first time. 

The Modern Carol category had an eclectic mix of themes and styles from Acapella, Jazz and Country and also patches of Latino and Beatbox. There was total excitement in the air.

The highlight of the event though was the opportunity for creativity. 9 of the 12 teams had composed original Christmas carols that they performed at the competition. It would really be great, if some of the talented professionals could come forward to encourage this effort and make it immortal by compiling an album of the best original tunes alongwith some of the other breathtaking performances. 

The atmosphere of the day took me back around 25 years when I was a teenager. At the OLPS Parish in Chembur, we used to have a Summer Camp every year with talent competitions from Music and Singing, Elocution, Dramatics to some Creative Competitions including Ad Campaigns, Telegames, etc.

However, on the standard of music, the closest to this, I have experienced has been the Malhar at St. Xaviers College. Besides participating in the singing competition for all my five years in college, I had the privilege to cover the festival for the Youth Show on All India Radio on two occasions. From Cadences, Concord, Rhapsody In You the competition was absolutely stiff, and has generated some great musicians for Mumbai city. 

A couple of people I have met at the Malhar during my college years are active contributors to the Mumbai Music and Entertainment scene today. Among them, Karen D'Lima Vaswani (Rockin Marmalade/ Victory Chorus Line) and Sunita Dias Noronha (Music Revival). Both of them are extremely talented and what even more commendable, actively involved in sharing music with all generations - the young and the old. Will tell you more about these fabulous and other musicians I've encountered in a later post.

Back to yesterday, I must congratulate all the teams that participated - irrespective of the results - for their great talent and effort. Also a big hand to the Diocesan Youth Centre (led by Fr. Ryan Alex and Deacon Ivan Fernandes) for this great initiative and contribution to music. Also all the professionals who made their time to be there at the event as mentors and contest judges to guide the youth and encourage their creativity in the music field.

Wishing all of you, a very musical 2016 and beyond. 

The team from OLPS Chembur

  • The competition was won by St. Josephs Mira Road, with OLPS Chembur taking 2nd Place. O.L of Nazareth Bhayander was awarded the prize for original score. 
  • I have just this one picture of my parish team for now. Will add pics of the other teams as and when I get them.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Birthday Blitz (and the King of the Road)

In addition to New Year's Day, January 1st is a big day for the family. We celebrate three birthdays in the family including my Mum. I've come across a handful of other folks including colleagues and friends, who have this wonderful day for their birthday. 

And born on the day at the turn of the last century (on January 1, 1900) was a fantastic Latino musician and bandleader of the century - Xavier Cugat.

El Cumbanchero 

Like me you probably know Xavier Cugat's tunes, better than you know his name or even the name of his tunes. Tico Tico is another favorite of mine, and also most of the guitar maestros I know in Mumbai.

Tico Tico

Another interesting classic musical birthday this weekend shared his name (more or less) with a football star from the 1990 World Cup - the dancing Cameroonian.

Today we remember Roger Miller (the footballer was Roger Milla) who was born on January 2, the American singer, songwriter, musician and actor known for his novelty songs that are still are rage on Karaoke - The King Of The Road.

King of the Road - Roger Miller

Signing off with a quacky song - Do Wacka Doo - to give a smile that you keep right through this year. 

Do Wacka Do - Roger Miller

Friday, January 1, 2016


Wishing each and everyone of you
with Peace, Love, Joy
and everything you may desire...

And Pentatonix add music to the wish.

Growing up, the only Happy New Year song that I can remember is by Swedish group ABBA.

A song that would be a regular on All India Radio's 'Saturday Date' back in the 70s and early 80s was the 'Calendar Song' by Boney M.

While the Calendar songs just takes us through the months, I've particularly liked this song that runs us through the months and hightlights of the year including celebrations and festivals. 

So as we take off this year, I will be here with you with more posts and highlights, to help add a Musical Twist to Life. Stay tuned... maybe even subscribe to get post updates straight to your inbox. 

Once again, wishing you a Happy New Year and a truly Musical One.

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