Music

There is more to that song

The radio would always be on at home when I was growing up.  It would start at around 6:30 am with Vividh Bharathi and would then switch to Radio Ceylon at 7:30 am and that program would culminate with the signature Saigal number at 8 am.  It would then switch back and forth between the two stations through the day…

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History, Music

Tansen

When I turned nine, my cousins gifted me a couple of Amar Chitra Kathas for my birthday.  These were comics that retold tales from Indian mythology and history.  One of them was on Tansen, the legendary singer from the court of the Mughal emperor, Akbar.  This was my introduction to the story of Tansen.  He was one of the “Navaratna”…

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History, Music

The Lonely Mughal

  As a subject in high school, History was a seemingly limitless study of various dynasties of yore.  The lessons focussed largely on dates of events, conquests, administrative reforms and either largesses or depredations of the ruler in question.  The Mughal dynasty, given its prominence, spanned a few chapters.  Akbar enjoyed the lion’s share followed by Babur and Aurangzeb.  A footnote…

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Memories, Music

Requiem for the Cassette Tape

They made their appearance in India in the mid-to-late seventies.  The next step in the evolution of music players – the cassette decks.  They ranged from the compact mono players and “two-in-ones” to the larger cassette decks that came with graphic equalizers and powerful speakers.  They were middle and upper-class status symbols, usually occupying a prominent place in the house.…

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Memories, Music

The Street Singer

The phrase “Street Singer” evokes nostalgia for lovers of old Hindi music.  And by old, I mean really old, for this is the name of the 1938 movie starring the singer-actor K.L. Saigal.  It contains gems such as “Babul Mora”, “Jeevan Been Madhur Na Baje” and “Lachhami Murat Daras Dikhaye”.  Yes, I admit, I listen to Hindi songs from the…

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Memories, Music

Jamaican Farewell

If you asked me to name my favorite Hindi song, I would be hard-pressed to give you an answer.  I’ve been listening to Hindi songs as far as I can remember.  If you asked me my favorite English song, I would say “Jamaican Farewell” by Harry Belafonte.  The word favorite is subjective.  How does a song become one’s favorite?  In…

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