Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year Day

Today is February 29, a day that comes only once every four years. Our Geography lessons in school explained the concept to us in detail about the sun taking 365.24219 days to rotate the sun, so we adjust that one extra day every four years. 

Do you know anyone who was born on the leap day in a leap year?

While growing up, I knew about a Prime Minister of India who had a birthday on 29th February - Shri Morarji Desai.

But then about 8 years ago, I came across another 'leapling' or 'leap-year baby' - a little talkative girl who rode the same school bus as my son. Over a period of time, the family grew quite close to ours. And she would ride with us to church every Friday morning (Sunday School in the UAE is on Fridays). Born on 29th February 2004, our little friend Rachel completes 3 today (not really, she's actually twelve). And while she misses her birthday three times out of four, she has got four times the talents and energy of a girl her age - she's a musician, an athlete, a cricketer, a karate blackbelt... and possibly a lot more. Have a wonderful birthday RACHEL. 

Also born on 29th February is the King of Rai - Khaled. He's 56 today and it's only the 14th time since his birth that he gets to celebrate his birthday on the actual day. So as we celebrate his birthday, let's enjoy his most famous song. 

Also maybe a good year to watch "Leap Year" - a movie that was not released in a leap year. The soundtrack includes some of my favorites - Dream a Little Dream by Beautiful South and Tell Me Ma by The Colonials. Check out the trailer. 

Anyway, enjoy the extra day... It'll come again only after four years. 

Friday, February 19, 2016


Singers whose names start with the letter 'S'?

I'm ONE...

Just kidding... Looking for the world-famous ones?

Sting, Shakira, Santana.... the list is long....

The reason I asked the question is because we have two artistes of different eras with a #MusicalBirthday and both their names start with the letter S.

The first S is the Batman-singer and songwriter who loves the 'Kiss from a Rose' is 53 today. Though we know him as Seal (his original name, Henry Samuel does not start with S).

Also born today back in 1940 - the other 'S' is also a 'MIRACLE'. Smokey Robinson has been credited for his tremendous contribution to the 'Motown' label. He shares his birthday - even the year with Miracles' co-member - Bobby Rogers. 

Happy #MusicalBirthday to Seal, Smokey and Bobby. Enjoy the year...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Birthday of John and Yoko

We all know Yoko Ono - artist, musician, filmmaker and activist who turns 83 today.

Happy #MusicalBirthday to Yoko Ono 

Did you know she and John share a birthday... not her husband John (Lennon of the Beatles).

The Bad Dancer, Yoko shares a birthday with a good fact a very good dancer...
John Travolta. From Saturday Night Fever to Grease, Hairspray and even Pulp Fiction he's made the moves. 

Happy #MusicalBirthday John Travolta

If you liked that song, let's see you add your own favorites from John and Yoko. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Listen To Your Heart

Just three days after Valentine's Day, a reminder to 'Listen to Your Heart'....

This time literally. 

200 years ago, Dr. Rene Laennec invented the stethoscope. We pay him tribute on his birth anniversary today with The Stethoscope Song. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day/ World Marriage Day

Happy Valentine's Day

On 14th February, the world celebrates Valentine's Day. It's a day to celebrate love and most of the world does it with candy, flowers and gifts for their loved ones. While not many know the origins of this celebration, it has become a special day to woo someone you love. And of course you can do it with music. 

Most people plan a romantic outing or quiet dinner with their loved one, but often have to deal with long waits. This is an opportunity that Event Managers have made the most of - by creating special events for the occasion. 

Back in 2000, one smart Event Manager came up with the idea of making of the largest Valentine Day card ever, on Mumbai's Chowpatty Beach. While singles and couples were making their designs on the card, or just catching pictures against the background, I was there - getting people entertained with games and distributing spot prizes from select sponsors. 

Another year, I was the anchor to a Valentine Day event at a getaway resort in Vasai. Kept the couples ticking with interesting games and great music and fantastic entertainment.

While Valentine's Day is quite popular among the young couples courting, one hopes that relationships celebrated this day graduate to a more committed one - MARRIAGE.

Happy Marriage Day

The Worldwide Marriage Encounter - an organisation committed to enriching marriages worldwide - has designated the Second Sunday of February as 'World Marriage Day'. This year, Valentine's Day and World Marriage Day coincide. Here are some ideas on celebrating the day.

Wishing all couples - a 'Happy Marriage Day', I'll sign off with this song that I've sung at many a Wedding Mass over the years. "I'll Never Find Another You".

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Radio Ga-Ga

Thirty years ago, a shy junior college boy who loved to sing was invited to join the college music group for a performance on YuvVani, the Youth Show on All India Radio, Mumbai. At the end of the recording at Akashvani Bhavan close to Churchgate in Mumbai, a charming lady named Ms. Sarla Mirchandani asked the troupe to share their names and addresses on a piece of paper. 

About a year later in April 1988, right after my HSC board exams, a letter came home with All India Radio printed on the envelope. As I opened the letter curious to know what was inside. The letter stated something like this: 
Dear Mr. Sunil Pinto,

We think that you may be suitable to present Saturday Date on All India Radio. Kindly contact the undersigned for more information.

Programme Officer
English Section

The very next day, I made the trip to the Radio Station, right next to Dad's office, and that was my entry to the world of professional entertainment. 

After a week of orientation with the studio equipment I was on the airwaves as a Casual Announcer saying"
This is All India Radio Bombay broadcasting on 287.3 metres corresponding to 1044 KHz. The time is 
I presented Classical Music shows, read the Commercial Bulletin, the Program Highlights and Weather. But the icing on the cake was the 'Music On Parade' on Wednesday nights and 'Saturday Date' - the request show at 10pm on Saturdays. 

Over the next decade or so, the Radio Station became my favorite hangout. Whenever I wanted to pass some time, listen to some music, or just meet new people - there I was at the Radio Station. The attachment continued after college into the early years at work, and then in between jobs, right until the time I left town. 

Radio opened up a whole new world for me. From voice-overs and jingles, to live events and celebrations, I discovered the new me. The shy boy had given way to a confident, mature individual. 

Radio has moved by leaps and bounds - from MW and SW to FM stations, from transistors to car radios to the radio on mobile. Today we are in the world of internet radio where you can tune in to absolutely any radio station around the world. 

Today is World Radio Day.

As we remember Marconi - who invented the radio, I would like to say a special Thank You to all the people who made radio such a wonderful experience for me. The programming teams, fellow and future RJs, production personnel and most of all the wonderful listeners who support the show. 

Do you have any special memories of Radio? Share them here...  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Science of Music and Movies

Truly a Science Week!

Earlier this week I paid tribute to two scientists celebrating their birthday this week in 'The Music of Science'. Also born this week (11th February) was possibly the greatest inventor of all time. He's the reason why we can listen to music and why I can write a blog about music. That's because he invented the first music playback device - the phonograph. 

I'm talking about Thomas Alva Edison who invented movies as well. That's because he invented the light bulb and the motion picture camera among a host of other things. In fact he's got 1093 US patents to his name. 

Check out this song about this American - and World - Hero

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Music of Science

I did not study Science in college, but a couple of my siblings did. In fact my mum as well was a Chemistry graduate and taught Chemistry and Biology in school. We've started the work week with a Chemistry birthday...and will end it with a Biology birthday. 

Today we remember an extra-ordinary scientist who organised all the chemical elements into a simple table - the Periodic Table also called the Mendeleev table. Dmitri Mendeleev was born on 8th February 1834.

It's not easy to remember all the names of the elements, so someone put it to music. If you intend to pursue a career in science, maybe you should learn to sing this one. 

On Friday 12th February, the world celebrates Darwin Day, marking the 207th birth anniversary of Charles Darwin. We all know Darwin's theory of evolution of the 'Monkey To Man'.

Speaking of science, I guess many of you have enjoyed the American science sitcom currently in its ninth series on CBS. I've been rolling with laughter at the antics and exploits of Leonard, Sheldon and Raj in 'The Big Bang Theory'.

So go ahead, make sure you explore your scientific side this week. And tell us about your best science experiment. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Day The Music Died

We've all heard Don McLean sing American Pie many many times. Possible even Madonna. 

Yesterday marked the 57th Anniversary of the fateful day when three great musicians of the 50s - Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson Jr.)  were killed in an aircrash. The song is Don McLean's recollection of that day and the great music of the 50s and the revival of music of the sixties. 

Here are some of the songs created by these greats. 

Buddy Holly

Ritchie Valens

Big  Bopper

The Day The Music Died - may be 3rd February 1959. I wonder at times how alive the music is today.

A few years ago I was preparing to DJ a Christmas Party for the Youth of the parish. Since my music needed an update, I approached some of the youth and asked them to provide me with a list of what was 'hot and happening' among the youth. They willingly agreed, but warned me that I would need to check for 'clean' versions. 

The music that is doing the rounds today has made a shift from singing performances with music to electronic sounds and DJ vibes. A lot of the music of these days is rife with innuendos and expletives. There is an urgent call to keep the music from dying. Keep the music alive and the way to do it is to set up the right tone with the next gen. 

Over the weekend, I attended the Annual Day function at the school where my children study (also my own alma mater). The boys - 25 of them - played a mix of songs including movie themes, a devotional song and songs from the yesteryears featuring actor Anil Kapoor - the chief guest of the day. They put up an absolutely scintillating performance. Here's a short clip

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Football Anthems - #MusicalBirthday

Everybody in the world loves FOOTBALL...

And the music that builds the energy levels of the game.

We got our first TV set in 1977, but the first World Cup I remember watching on TV was the 1986 World Cup in Mexico... and my most memorable memory of the games is the 'Mexican Wave'.

As the years progressed, the World Cups became more and more competitive and interesting...and we watched more and more of the game. While I did play football in the neighbourhood as a kid, I have not really been a great sport enthusiast. But the 2014 FIFA World Cup was exceptionally special for me. 

Having just moved back to India from the Middle East, I was in the process of transition... and had more time available to enjoy the game. Also my elder son was newly exposed to the game - both physical and virtual, and was extremely enthusiastic about the World Cup. The excitement levels were so high that even my younger son, just 5 then, was insisting on being woken up in the middle of the night to view the games. 

While music has been associated with Football from way back in the 1960s, it has had a big impact on the game since the late 1990s. With South American countries dominating the World Football scene, the music scene caught on with the trend in 1998. Whether in France, Germany, South Africa, South Korea or Brazil, the Latino Anthems have ruled the world. And among them, there's this one lady who has been ruling the Football Music Charts. 

Among the FIFA World Cup Anthem in 2006 - 'Hips Don't Lie', performed above by Columbian singer Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean. 

Shakira was back in 2010 in South Africa doing the 'Waka Waka' (This Time for Africa)

The winning Football singer got associated with the World Cup winning team in the same year. She is married to Gerard Pique of Spain (exactly 10 years her junior) and have two sons - Milan and Sasha. 

So join me in wishing Shakira and Gerard Pique a Happy Birthday today. Go ahead sing along... La La La....

Monday, February 1, 2016

Dreamy Duets and The Dooley Trio

Last evening while we were having dinner, my six-year old son raised a very important question...Are Dreams Real or Fake?

I remember a TV show I saw as a little boy that explained the entire concept of dreams. Another memory about 'dreams' from my childhood days is a song that would be always sung at any party or get-together in our family. And later on found it's way into every jam session that had talented singers capable of singing vocal harmony. 

Dre-e-e-e-am, dream, dream, dream....

The elder of 'The Everly Brothers', Don is 79 today. With younger brother Phil, they were among the earliest and the most influential duos of all time, having set unmatched standards for close two-part harmonies. From lilting ballads and sad stories like 'The Lightning Express' to their upbeat 'Bird Dog' or 'Wake Up Little Suzie', the harmony has always been absolutely fantastic. Happy #MusicalBirthday Don Everly. 

We have another harmonious #MusicalBirthday today. The lone surviving member of the very original line-up of this folk group that is still around, Bob Shane is three years older than Don...and was part of - not a duo - but a trio - The Kingston Trio. Happy #MusicalBirthday Bob Shane.

A folk group of the same generation of 50s and 60s, my favorite Kingston Trio song (and possibly of many many others) is the doleful tale about a Mr. Grayson, a beautiful woman and a convicted man named 'Tom Dooley'. 

I would love to have your feedback on the posts on this blog. Or even better, some suggestions for topics to be included in this blog. 

Looking to hear from you.
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