Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thursday Live


I spotted this structure when I first landed in Dubai in 1999. And if you look at the yellow patch just above the cross on the guitar necks - you have the answer - HARD ROCK CAFE.

The building above no longer exists... but Hard Rock Cafe is at a new location there and an integral part of the music scene there. 

India has seven Hard Rock Cafes across the country including 2 in Mumbai and 1 in Pune. And all these cafes are gearing up for an absolutely rocking night tonight THURSDAY LIVE in association with G-SHOCK.

Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits is the dream song of any aspiring guitarist (mine too... and my son's as well). That's definitely a song you would hear at the Hard Rock Cafe tonight as One Night Stand - The Band takes on centrestage and pays tribute to the incredible British Rock band formed in the 1977 - Dire Straits with Mark Knopfler at the helm.

Playing Mark this evening is Sarosh Izedyar - whom I first heard play lead guitar at an Interschool competition in the early 80s. Got to first know him when I sat by his side in the same classroom in the FYJC class at R.A. Podar College. Over the next five years, we performed side by side at many inter-collegiate competitions and competing against each other at the intra-college level. A fantastic lead guitarist, he ensures that everybody drops everything they have to listen to the nuances and intricacies he plays.

Guitar George - who knows all the chords - is Padmanabhan NS - Paddy or Poopsie to his friends. He swept away the Talent Awards at the Emvies 2016 - an Advertising Club Mumbai effort encouraging musical talent among media agencies and companies in the city. Met him at the auditions and he's truly a delightful person... and yes he's really plays a mean guitar. 

The other George (I didn't hear the name of a keyboardist in the lyrics) - is George Joseph. When he's not too busy performing or recording, he volunteers to play the keyboard at the church services at Our Lady Of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) Church Chembur. His incredible rhythms and effects has the Senior Citizens swaying - they would  a 'Whoopi Goldberg' (as in Sister Act), if they could. 

So if you're in the mood for an action-packed musical evening, Hard Rock Cafe Worli is where you should be headed. 

And while One Night Stand - The Band definitely looks forward to more than that, the 'man with a golden voice' will be rocking Hard Rock Cafe at Pune - a few hours drive away. Known as the 'Jingle King' in the 80s - Gary Lawyer will be singing his own songs - 'Nights on Fire' and 'Heaven's Child' and possibly some covers in his characteristic. Did an ad jingle singing backing vocals with him while in my teens. Promises to be an interesting evening as well. 

Loads of music happening in Mumbai. Stay tuned here or better still click FOLLOW on the right. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Lilting Voice of Indian Cinema - Lata Mangeshkar

I'm writing my 100th blog post for 2016... And it happens to be on a legendary Indian voice who has been entertaining us for nearly a 100 years (that a little bit of exaggeration, alright - more like 75 years). She's completed 87 today and is still an extremely active voice behind the stars of Hindi cinema.

Lataji made her filmi debut in 1942 with recording here first song for a Marathi movie. She's been singing for 8 decades and is estimated to have recorded no less than 50,000 songs over these years. I just thought I'd share a flavour with you with one song per decade. So here we go...

Jiya Beqarar Hai - Barsaat (1949)
Music: Shankar Jaikishan - Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri

Sham Dhale Khidki Tale - Albela (1951) with C.Ramachandra
Music: C.Ramachandra - Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan

Naina Barse Rim Jhim - Woh Kaun Thi (1964)
Music: Madan Mohan - Lyrics: Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

Bahon Mein Chale Aao - Anamika (1973)
Music: R D Burman - Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Jab Ham Jawan Honge - Betaab (1983)
Music: R D Burman - Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye - Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
Music: Jatin-Lalit - Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham - Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001)
Music: Jatin-Lalit - Lyrics: Sameer Anjaan

Laadli - Raunaq (2014) with A.R. Rahman
Music: A.R. Rahman - Lyrics: Kapil Sibal

From going 'Around The World In 14 Songs' to trying to summarize Lataji career in its 8th  decades with as many songs, it definitely falls way short. In this day of digital apps, I need not worry though. You can listen to as much Lata Mangeshkar music as you would love to - thanks to this app I found on the Hindustan Times website - Let Lata Sing.

Do you have a favorite Lata Mangeshkar song? The comments are all yours...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Around The World In 14 Songs

We all love to travel... 
Some more than others...
For a variety of reasons...

However much you may have travelled, you still Ain't Seen Nothing Yet (Randy Bachman).

Hans Christian Anderson said, "To travel is to live." And I'm going to take you on a journey in this post to places Around The World (Nat King Cole). You may have seen (heard) some but nevertheless - sit back, plug in your headphones or stereo and enjoy the music.

Where do we begin? The past few years the hottest sports destination has been Rio - that's where the last FIFA World Cup was held and more recently the Olympics. That's where the world was headed - To Brazil (Vengaboys).

Loads of beaches there including the famed Copacabana - we will go someplace else with Barry Manilow. Talking about beaches, we'll take a cruise to the most beautiful islands in the Atlantic Ocean that populate the Caribbean Sea. Thanks to the cricket team of West Indies - we know of Barbados and Jamaica. Also remember singing this popular Caribbean song as as a young kid of eight or nine - and that's still part of my party repertoire of songs - Jamaican Farewell. 

Apparently there is a Jamaican connection in the family with one of my mums cousin based in Canada being married to a Jamaican. I visited them during my visit to Canada, and I must add this, the food was fantastic.

That trip to North America included time spent in New Jersey with my sister-in-laws family. We flew in and out from the JFK airport in New York. Also explored Manhattan, boated around the Statue of Liberty, besides visiting The White House in Washington DC and Virginia. This song about the Big Apple means a lot to me since it got me to the finals in the Cadence (Western solo) category at the Malhar (St. Xavier's College Mumbai cultural festival) one year - New York New York (Frank Sinatra). 

I made my own videos of Manhattan, the Bronx Zoo and lots of the other places we visited. What a wonderful place, you just blend in. Never felt like an Englishman in New York (Sting). That's because I'm not English. And Indians will be at home anywhere in the world.

Let's flip it the other way around. An American in London (Barry Manilow). I've been there as well on a business trip to participate in an Exhibition and Conference. Being a trip with colleagues, we did quite a bit of sight seeing. 

Just across the English Channel, is the City of Love - gay Par-ee (Paris as we all call it). The City of Love is truly a city loved by all. And that's the love that Ella Fitzgerald and various others have sung about. But I love the Frank Sinatra version of I Love Paris.

The other European place I've visited was Amsterdam (Sin City) in the Netherlands. (You'd better know the difference between a coffee shop and a cafe). I didn't however get to the port city of Rotterdam (The Beautiful South).

Moving to the central part of Europe in Hungary is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe - also possible one of the biggest cities in the European Union -  the capital city Budapest (George Ezra).

In the Southern Hemisphere below Europe is the continent of Africa. I used to have a cousin in South Africa, and got to meet quite a few South African locals on projects that I managed during my tenure in Dubai. Among the most attractive tourism attractions in Africa is the wildlife safari. A beautiful continent, it embodies the heart and soul of nature. There are lots and lots of songs on Africa - but I like this one aptly titled Africa (Toto).

Of late I've noticed that the hottest honeymoon destination is the country of New Zealand. With most of my family based in Auckland, I've paid one visit there - but unfotunately did not get time to explore the tourist attractions out there - the lakes and the hills. New Zealand is south-east of the country of Australia (also the name of the continent encompassing both the countries and the host of nearby islands). In common parlance, we just call it Down Under (Men At Work).

Flying back from New Zealand or Australia usually requires a stop-over at Far East Asia. While I've transited through Malaysia and Bangkok, my wife and I spent our honeymoon in Singapore. Besides visiting all the attractions including the Night Zoo and Sentosa islands, we enjoyed walking On A Little Street In Singapore (Manhattan Transfer).

While I find most of my friends and colleagues taking international holidays, India is full of tourist destinations. Kerala (referred to as God's Own Country) ranks among the most popular destinations, possibly giving competition to Goa Aamchem (Jazz Goa).

On World Tourism Day today, we've taken a music tour across many tourist destinations. Yes, we've Been Around The World (Lisa Stansfield). She's looking for her baby.

Tourism supposedly employs the second highest number of people in the world. That possibly includes people working at the airlines, airports and hotels in the world besides all the tourist destinations including theme-parks and various other places for people to visit and enjoy. 

I've got a lot of friends in the industry - including one that I just discovered has started up a travel consultancy providing excellent deals to popular as well as exotic destinations in India and around the world. As you make travel plans with the Indian festive season of Diwali less than a month away or the year-end holidays coming up, do check out Go Destino Travels and check out what best they can offer you. 

This post has probably been the longest on this blog, but we've covered quite a distance. Do go ahead and follow this blog and get the latest updates right in your e-mail. If you're a music lover - that something you must surely do...

Friday, September 23, 2016

There's A Time For Everything

A time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to reap.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

Have your heard these words before?

I heard these words as part of the Readings this morning - from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes (Chap 3: 2-8)

Also, the cantor at the Mass (yours truly!) could only think of one hymn that perfectly encapsulated the theme of TIME... In His Time - Maranatha Music.

As the day progressed, another song came into my head - a folk rock song with no biblical leanings that I know of. When I checked the lyrics, I was pleasantly surprised that they matched those from the same passage of Ecclesiastes. Turn Turn Turn - an international hit that reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for The Byrds in December 1965 was written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s.

The passage has even more significance today - being the day of the Autumnal Equinox  - a phenomenon we learnt about in school geography. September 22/23 is officially designated as the day that the sun crosses the Equator marking the change of seasons. While the Northern Hemispere heads for winter, the bulk of my family based in New Zealand are looking forward to summer. Yes, the sun is responsible for the seasons. And the Seasons in the Sun. The song written and performed in French by the Belgian poet-composer Jacques Brel in 1961, was translated by Rod McKuen and subsequently released by The Kingston Trio in 1964. You possibly heard the song in the 1999 recording by Westlife or the 2004 version by Nirvana - but I like this version.

And as TIME moves ahead and the SEASONS change, I'll leave you with a quote to remember and reflect...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


If you work with Mumbai's Marketing Communications industry, everything is wanted YESTERDAY. But in the world of music - Yesterday takes on a totally different meaning. 

Yesterday was the day YESTERDAY was first released - 51 years ago in 1965. It was the first solo song released by the Beatles featuring Paul McCartney with his guitar.

The song in the making had a working title - Scrambled Eggs. And the rough lyric went something like this.

Scrambled eggs/Oh my baby how I love your legs/Not as much as I love scrambled eggs

Would that have made the song as popular as it is? Your guess is as good as mine. 

Over the past 51 years, Yesterday is possibly the most covered song in the history of recorded music with as many as 2200 versions. I thought this would be a good place to review some of the other versions of the song that helped make it as famous. 

Frank Sinatra recorded this version of Yesterday in 1969 on the album My Way that included cover songs of other singers including Simon and Garfunkel's Mrs. Robinson. 

Another legend with a Jazz touch who covered the song in 1966 a year after its original release was Ray Charles.

Yesterday was covered by the King of Rock n Roll - Elvis in 1970. Got this version along with another of the Beatles hits with the Paul McCartney touch.

From the King to the Queen of Soul - Aretha Franklin in 1979

In the boy band era of the 1990s came this version from one of the best R&B quartets of the generation - Boyz II Men - in acapella.

I hope hearing the song so many times hasn't made you sentimental or Wet Wet Wet

I hope you enjoyed all those versions of Yesterday. Going back to the original singer in another place another time. 

Do let me know, which version you liked the best... or maybe you like a version not included here. 

A special word goes out to the greatest Beatles fan I've known - a senior of mine in school (a classmate of my brother) who had the most incredible collection of books, music and videos of the Fab 4. He even learnt to play the guitar during his days in IIT a few years later. Hey Rohit Malhotra - hope you still enjoy your Beatles songs...

Meanwhile the rest of us could get back to today. This blog will be back in the morrow with more musical connections that I think you may like. Have a great day. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

It's Bublé Time

Wrote the 150th post on this blog... to wish a Blessed Mother on her birthday. While I was invited to lead the singing for the Feast Day Mass at my church yesterday, I remembered how I spent the day last year. My blog post on the day had a lot of the details. 

It's A Beautiful Day reminded me that today is the birthday of one of my favourite jazz singers... also the youngest. That's Michael Bublé.

It's not surprising then that he also got a couple of extra mentions on this blog in the past 365 days. 

JAZZ IT UP... International Jazz Day celebrates the versatility of the genre of music that I really love. And thanks to Michael for helping it stay contemporary...

They're Playing His Songs paid tribute to a 125-year old Jazz composer - Cole Porter and Michael Buble has sung him too. 

He's just 41 and has a long way to go...

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Over the past nine days, my kids along with around a hundred others have been attending the Marian Nativity Novena at our parish in Chembur and preparing to celebrate the birthday of Mother Mary which is celebrated today - 8th September. 

Devotions to our Blessed Mother started for me at an early age. Growing up in a parish dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and studying in a school with the same name surely helped. Also the daily Rosary at home was an absolute must - encouraged by God-fearing parents and grandmothers. 

As a teenager, I was introduced to an active church association dedicated to Mother Mary - called the Legion of Mary (Legio Mariae). Over the next decade or so, the devotion grew along with leadership skills as I took on various roles of responsibility within the Legion. Taking a cue from the role Mother Mary played in life of Jesus and others, we too were called on to be alert to the needs of those around us and to respond to those needs with love care and compassion as only Momma Mary could.

That song just came into my head this morning with the picture of a vibrant priest who was responsible for some of the best holidays we had as a family during my teen years. Fr. Robin Selwyn used to run Family Camps in the Jesuit 'St. Mary's Villa' at Khandala. A fantastic singer and guitarist, he could sing almost anything - from contemplative melodies to frivolous party songs - in his on inimitable style. Another Marian favorite that I recall him sing is the song made famous by the Beatles - Let It Be. While the original is played on the piano by Paul McCartney, I particularly like this version I found earlier today with Alicia Keys and John Legend. 

"A song that that comforted generations with it's beauty and message" - has the comforter in the person of Mother Mary who played the comforting role in God's eternal plan for salvation. Her role did not end 2000 years ago, but she still continues to be that comfort in the heavenly role as Queen and Mother... a look at the the crowds that throng to Mount Mary's -Bandra and St. Michael's Church - Mahim in Mumbai and the host of Marian Shrines in Vailankanni, Fatima, Lourdes and everywhere else is only testimony of how powerful her intercession can be. We all are blessed to have Mother Mary as our mother - and be happy to let her - Be With Us, Mary...

to one and all

Monday, September 5, 2016


Teaching is the one profession...
that creates all other professions

I'm happy and proud to have an association with the teaching profession - as a Catechist in my parish, and as Guest Faculty at a host of premier Business Schools in Mumbai and Pune. 

Every day of our life, there is something new to learn. And hopefully there is someone there to teach it... 

I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing - but for now I'm content with teaching them to play music. Just started keyboard lessons with a couple of students... and the third music student is my own child - yes, don't you have to Teach Your Children.

What's your favourite song about TEACHING or TEACHERS?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mother Teresa - Model of Mercy

Today is a day of great significance for the Catholic Community in India. And there has been a lot of content circulating across the Facebook and WhatsApp in the run-up to the day. Yes, a few hours ago, Mother Teresa was canonized as a Saint. India has yet another saint to pray and intercede for us - a very merciful one at that.
As I write this post, there is a concert going on at the Tata Theatre (NCPA Mumbai) organized by the Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy to pay tribute to this model of mercy who picked people from the gutters and cared for them. She established the "Missionaries of Charity" in Kolkota - and spread to the ends of the world to spread peace and love, comfort and mercy to all. 

Among the choirs performing at the concert are the Stop-Gaps Choral Ensemble conducted by Alfred D'Souza. Alfred D'Souza is also behind the combined choirs of St. Peters Church - Bandra and Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church - Chembur. Alfred has dedicated over 30 years now - quite a few relatives and friends have been part of the StopGaps - some of them still are...

Also performing at the 'Teach Us to Love' concert is the Victory Chorus Line - the choir (chorus) from Our Lady of Victories - Mahim conducted by Karen D'Lima. I've known Karen since my college days when I used to cover the Malhar (The St. Xaviers Mumbai college festival) for All India Radio - where she used to sweep a whole lot of prizes. Besides the music she's also gaining accolades for her work as a graphic designer - the canonization logo having been designed by her. This song would surely be part of their repertoire for the evening - Angel of Mercy.

Also from Mahim is the great Konkani singer and actor of yesteryear - Alfred Rose (1932 -2003). I recall his name vividly from my childhood days, where every Konkani drama that I ever heard of had his name on the advertisements. His son - Engelbert- is also a force to reckon with in the music circles. Performed alongside him at numerous shows over the past 20 years or so. The frontman for Rockin' Marmalade is also an active member of the Mumbai Comperes Inc. - an association of comperes who emcee at weddings and corporate events in Mumbai through to Goa and Mangalore. I'm it it as well.   

Here's Alfred Rose with this Konkani tribute to Mother Teresa.

The sweet sound of Konkani -  can't get enough of it... Came across this Konkani tribute posted by a friend on WhatsApp. Mother Teresa by the Zeemix Trio

One singer who has performed on the Konkani stage made it big with Bollywood in the 70s with 1-2-Cha-Cha-Cha and numerous other songs in her inimitable style. Usha Uthup is said to have been a supporter of the Missionaries of Charity - and supposedly received invitations for the canonization from the Missionaries of Charity and the Vatican as well. She was also scheduled to perform at St. Peter's Square last night. 

From the languge singer, here's her tribute in Bangla (Bengali) - the local language of Kolkota (Calcutta) the home of the Missionaries of Charity... 

Laakh Laakh, Hazaar Hazaar, Chahiye Mother Teresa - Usha Uthup

To sign off this post, I'll leave you with the Canonization Song.

Canonization Song of Mother Teresa - Usha Uthup

P.S. I just saw a post on my WhatsApp groups offering a special grace when invoking India's most recent saint - St. Teresa of Calcutta - from midnight today till tomorrow. So let's take advantage of this special 'Window of Grace'

St. Teresa of Calcutta - Pray for us

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The First of September

Time flies... and we already in September... A month of changes.... A month of feasts and celebrations... and lots more... and a month of birthdays... generally a month to look forward to... Come September

Among the birthdays today, is my younger sister who used to co-croon with me in the mid 90s. And this song by a Latino singer who celebrates a #FamousBirthday today was part of our set...

Gloria Estefan - Turn The Beat Around

Did you enjoy all those beats... The beat of the drum... It's also the birthday of the first ever drummer that I encountered (a classmate of mine in school - Lincoln), who's been playing a lot of the drums all these years. 

The first Gloria Estefan music I heard made big waves in India having been the inspiration of a Hindi movie song that contributed to making 'Tridev' a blockbuster in 1989. The song Rhythm's Gonna Get You.

Gloria Estefan used to perform with Miami Sound Machine - a band formed by husband Emilio Estefan Jr as part of the Miami Sound Machine.

My sis also did a mean falsetto imitation. Not surprising considering she shares her birthday with one of the world's best falsetto. For the uninitiated, falsetto is the unusually high-pitched sound that has been a characteristic of the BeeGees that you hear in Stayin' Alive

Barry Gibb - at 70 today is the only surviving member of the BeeGees (after the demise of brothers Maurice and Robin). He will soon be releasing his his solo album 'In the Now' again a family effort. Report say that the 12 tracks on the album are co-written with sons Stephen and Ashley (for more info, check out this video report)

Check out more #MusicalBirthday for regular updates on Birthdays in the music industry. I'll leave you with one of my favorites from the BeeGees collections - this one live... How Deep Is Your Love.

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