Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mera kuch saaman

Last two weeks have been busy and quite an emotional roller-coaster for me! Finishing my half-marathon (in 2:29:28) was one of the high points :). Let's not talk about the low points here. Anyways as usual there is a story associated with my song choice...

When I first came to the US for grad school, I remember trying to stuff as many things as possible into my two suitcases. The weight restrictions (thank god it was 70 lbs then!) allowed me to bring only a few audio cassettes and one of them was "Fursat ke raat din", a collection of Gulzar's songs. One of my close friends used to play this often at our hostel in India and I had to buy it (love all the songs). I was quite homesick when I got here and used to get quite emotional (ok I am a sentimental person) listening to this cassette. So here is one of the songs from that cassette which is very close to my heart... Mera kuch saaman from the film "Ijaazat". A beautiful composition by Pancham da and wonderfully wonderfully sung by Asha ji. Hope you listen to it when you find time. As always your feedback is very welcome...

Song: Mera kuch saaman ; Movie: Ijaazat

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Sunday, November 16, 2008


A couple of weeks ago my nephew participated in Peace Day by singing bhajans. But wasn't peace day in September I thought and "googled" it. I came across this simple website . Although this had nothing to do with my nephew's Peace Day, I was very moved by the fact that this was started by two common people like you and me, who wanted to make a difference. They picked November 17th as a day to promote peace and all they wanted people to do was participate with them by spreading the word around. Do check out their website when you find time. Now that I have my personal space in the world wide web I wanted to make my tiny contribution for Peace Day in the form of music.

The first song is Allah tero naam from "Hum Dono" (thanks a lot Smitha for suggesting this). This song is beautifully sung by Lata ji and has such wonderful lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi.... "Sabko sanmatee de baghavan" . Here is my cover version ......dedicated to change.......

Song: Allah tero naam ; Movie: Hum dono

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The second song which I really really wanted to sing is Imagine by John Lennon. I personally feel this is one of the most idyllic songs written. One of my fav. rock songs ever. This epic song talks about a utopian world with no boundaries...nothing for people to really fight about. Several artists have sung their cover versions of this song and I get deeply moved when I hear every one of them. Here is my version (i wanted it very simple with no effects at all on my vocal track).....dedicated to all the dreamers....

Song: Imagine

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Bhaagi ri main....

So I have been running lately. That too quite a bit!! Over the past few months I have transformed from someone who hates running to someone training for a half-marathon. hmmm...quite a contrast isn't it. Am running to generate funds for underprivileged kids in India through an organization called "Asha". Check out my marathon website if you want to know more about my running escapades (or if you or anyone you know is interested in supporting my cause :)). I am training with a really nice team and we run together on Saturdays. I have to confess that during the first month of training the runs seemed very tiring. Not that I have become a pro or anything but lately I enjoy the long runs. This Saturday for the first time in my life I ran 10 miles and was thrilled. It was quite cold but after the first mile I started enjoying the run, especially since the trail was nice. I wish I were poetic enough to describe my feeling. The one song that comes to my mind which describes it best is bhaage re mann from "Chameli". So I had to record it! Sunidhi Chauhan does such a great job of capturing Chameli's emotions. Her voice in this song is so soft and soothing (almost like she is whispering it in your ear). Here is my attempt...this time dedicated to my fellow runners. Please listen when you have the time and please do not hesitate to provide feedback :)

Song: Bhaage re mann ; Movie: Chameli

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lata ki awaaz

Is there an adjective to describe something "more melodious" than "melodious"? I run out of words to describe Lata ji's voice. Although her singing career started in 1947, her popularity rose in 1949 with songs such as Aayega aanewala, jiya bekarar hai etc. Another beautiful song from 1949 was Uthayeja Unke Sitam composed by Naushad for "Andaaz". I had attempted recording this earlier but received some constructive criticism from my father and decided to improve it. So here is the improved version dedicated to my father :). He also requested me to sing a song composed by Madan Mohan. I am a big fan of Madan Mohan's compositions myself and was recently obssessed by one of his compositions Maaye Ri from "Dastak". This song is not as popular as Baiyyan na dharo but caught my fancy last year when a contestant Abhilasha of "Star Voice of India" sang it (beautifully I must add). I could not get the tune out of my head. Being not that familiar with the song and also not being able to find the song online (knowing the movie name might have helped!) the tune started evolving in my head into "my version" of the song. Thankfully, I soon found the a video of the song on youtube. I was thrilled on finally hearing the whole song and also disappointed a little when I realized how off my version of the song was. Recently found a karaoke track of the song and could not resist recording it. It is a difficult song for me and here is my first attempt. Again dedicating it to my father. With your comments and suggestions I hope to revisit and improve the song later....

Song: Uthaye ja unke sitam; Movie: Andaaz

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Song: Maaye Ri; Movie: Dastak

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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Magic of Umrao Jaan

Rekha's beauty, Khayyam's soulful compositions and Asha's beautiful voice. Is it really possible to disassociate them from one other when you think of Umrao Jaan. The music of Umrao Jaan was really beautiful. I cannot even find words to describe the magic in Asha ji's voice when she sings Dil cheez kya hai, In aankhon ki masti, Yeh kya jagah hai doston or Justju jiski thi. I very recently started singing and recording songs and really wanted to sing something from Umrao Jaan fully aware that I may not even be able to recreate 50% of the Umrao Jaan magic :). The very second song that I recorded was Justju jiski thi (you can hear my first recording on esnips if interested) and I wanted it to be the first one on my blog because I am a huge huge fan of Asha Bhonsle. I want to thank Krishnan Sir and Smitha for the encouraging comments they left on my esnips folder. I also specially want to thank Smitha for introducing me to this world of audio blogging so this posting is dedicated to her. Please listen when you have time and don't hesitate to give your positive/negative feedback.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Let's start at the very beginning...

My family has a deep interest in music. My grandmother used to play the veena, my parents have a very good ear for music(my mother sings too) and my sister plays the violin. I began taking lessons in carnatic music at the age of 8 on Vijayadashmi day. I learnt a lot from my teacher Nagarajamani Natarajan about discipline and perfection in singing. Upon her relocation to hyderabad my singing lessons continued with Jayalakshmi Ramachandran who also gave me very valuable lessons. Despite religiously attending my music classes, I was extremely lazy when it came to practising. Such was my laziness that my mother had to enforce rules such as "You cannot meet your friends in the evening unless you sing atleast 3 Keerthanams". Little did I value that during childhood days and stubbornly sang 3 songs with a pointed gaze(one that would give Arjuna a complex) at the clock to show an urgency to leave. I really appreciate her effort now and wish I had valued it more then. After coming to the US my practice started reducing gradually and I blamed it on long hours at work, stressful life of a graduate student etc. etc. Deep within I know these are just excuses. I guess it is never too late to make amends so here is my blog. I have to thank my husband for getting all the recording paraphernalia and encouraging (read pushing) me to do this :).