Monday, September 28, 2009

Sahana bestows on me the Tamilnadu State award.

After Kannathil Muthamittaal, I get the cherished Tamilnadu State Award for the second time for Sahana.
I am usually verbose but I am pretty much at a loss of words to say anything. All that I know is that I am indebted to Rahman sir for lifetimes together for choosing me for this song. I could not have had a better Vijayadasami. I am praying for the blessings of all my Gurus and God at this moment and henceforth.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Release - Jaggubhai

Apple Laptop - a duet with Shankar Mahadevan. I think this is the first duet with Shankar ji that has released though I remember recording several others.
Rafee sir is the voice of Signore Signore (Kannathil Muthamittaal) and several other songs for Rahman sir. But I remember him best for Signore. Signore is one of my favorites and maybe it is not common knowledge that Sri Abdul Hameed penned the lyrics for this baila.
Fast forward several years and I landed up at Rafee sir's office/residence here in Chennai to record. It was a beautiful session. I got to know Mrs Rani Rafee, a wonderful human being and even after the session there were a lot of things we spoke about. On the Sufi mystics, philosophy and the divinity that we see all around us sometimes but fail to realize. We also realized we read similar literature.
A lot of times a recording session becomes special for reasons in addition to the composition that I am singing - the experience and the chance to be behind the mic one more time is something I crave for all the time. Its the only thing that drives me and my true calling. (The things that I do otherwise are gifts that have bestowed on me and I am usually not the one to let an opportunity pass by unless of course something about it was not the right for me to do at that point in time).
And I have noticed that a certain divinity in the composer makes a recording great. Someone told me the other day, that you will find a glow in the face of someone who makes it a point to pray regularly. Those who choose the communion with the higher self, the truth, the creator have a certain aura about them which makes interactions with them wonderful. The recording session with Rafi ji was one such. And he happened to tell me today that I have worked hard on this one and asked me to keep it up. Felt good to hear that from the composer I have worked with.
They screened Apple Laptop and Sunita Sarathy's song at the audio release today and Shriya has completely showcased her dancing skills in both song. The Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamilnadu Kalaignar Karunanidhi released the audio CD and Rahman sir received it.
This was also one of those rare audio release functions where the singers were invited. K S Ravikumar sir said he has always invited the singers when I kinda lamented that no one bothers about the singers at audio release functions while I met him during the briefing sessions for hosting the Aadhavan audio release.
Looking forward to buying the CD once it arrives at the stores.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Playback Singers against royalty rule in India

Courtesy Musicindiaonline
Thanks to @PraveenonTweet for bringing it to my notice. 

High high high time that this has happened. And hope the musicians will unite for the collective rights - be it of the composer/singer/musicians/lyricists.

P.S: Apparently leaving the link with at the title did not work. Please click on Musicindiaonline to read up
I have got wonderful comments to the posts below. Thank you very much and any more are welcome.
A lot of people, just like the tweets I received asked for FM tie ups. FM stations are primarily not interested in non film albums and neither would they play it if they get the rights even for free. Perhaps an exception would be that McJasz. Not sure if he spells his name that way but one track from his album got sufficient airtime only for 2 FM stations for about a couple of weeks. And then that is about it. 
There were comments which are directly in opposition to one another as well. Some said rock some said No rock thank you. 
And somehow a lot of people assumed that I am going to 'choose apt singers' for this one. I am not a composer and can never be. And I am not sure whether I am going to go choosing :)
And yes in retrospection the publishing industry question was quite a no-brainer. People don't like E Versions of books. Just doesn't happen I guess :) But thank you very much once again for all the comments and the time you have invested in letting me know of your opinion which I consider highly valuable. 
If and when I come out with an album it will definitely be worth your while. 

Sunday, September 20, 2009


If I had to make an album what would you expect of me?
What kind of music? What would you advise that I should do? 
Let me know. 
Also I won't be publishing the comments in this particular post but the comments shall all be acknowledged if I come out with one. 

A couple of questions

I am asked often:
Why don't non-film albums work in South India or more specifically in Chennai. I think the market in Kerala is pretty good for non-film music.  Maybe also in cosmopolitan Andhra Pradesh. No idea about Bangalore. But let me also put down the disclaimer that I am only pondering aloud here and I do not have studies or articles to base these thoughts on. These are stuff that came up during random discussions with others in the industry. If I am wrong here I'd love to be corrected. 
- Is it because Radio Stations won't popularize the tracks?
- Is it because we are so used to only stars acting out the songs and no one else?
- Is it the branding?

And with Audio Piracy
I tweeted a while back. "Is there a way to market publish (I'd rather call it publish now) music in a manner that it cannot be pirated?" I got the response that the pirates are always better than marketers. And I am getting highly interesting responses too.  I think the print industry is not so highly affected by piracy like the Movie/Music industry. How could they achieve that? Is it because it is easy to track down the printers who publish such pirated copies? Or is it that those who have it in them to read - as the habit of reading is not so commonplace - would also consider the experience of shopping for their books integral? Correct me here too if I am wrong. 

Maybe it is human tendency that someone would rather download something for free than pay for it. Guess piracy is the  the technology's way of telling us that we are mostly thieves at heart. 
Or maybe the pricing is just way too high. 

I have always wanted to figure this out. 

And I really wish the IPRS can get their act together. Soon. 
P.S.: A lot of people telling me that we can never get the better of pirates. Then I think I am going to start hiring pirates. Something like they show in the movies on the police hiring crooks with a view of reforming them and helping the police force. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Doctors of the future???

I happened to go to Kilpauk Medical college as a guest this evening. Didn't know it was a light music competition that was in progress already but I figured that out when I went there. I first found it quite strange that there was a separate enclosure for us, on a higher level and found it weird facing the back of the audience. Roshini, Naresh Iyer and Mathangi joined a little later.
But even as the different bands were performing some students kept throwing rockets and paper balls at the performers. I found that highly irksome. It was almost like dejavu, when I was judging an event at Stanley Medical college 4-5 years back. I remember that the audience kept throwing branches broken of the campus trees, stones rolled in paper and paper rockets at the singers during a solo competition. I remember requesting the audience to maintain a little decorum. Even my mother kept requesting the 'audience' That did not happen. I said if this kept going I would have to walk out of the premises. And that I did. I apologized to the contestants, I knew most of them from previous meetings and said they were better off doing anything else than take part in that music competition at SMC. I saw no reason why those contestants should subject themselves to this kind of a treatment. 
The SMC students said it is not their fault and the students from other colleges are to be blamed. But then some did say that students of the medical college were also part of the troublemakers. I wonder how they got in by 'merit' or whatever it was, into these colleges. 
That was the last time I set foot there. 
I was wary of going to KMC but did because our family doctor recommended it. The students who were part of the audience kept throwing paper rockets and other throwables at the girls in particular while the authorities kept watching. And as I walked onto the stage disgust had somehow overtaken me. Someone threw a rocket on me and I saw the boys who were doing it. KMC has to say that the students are from another college. I frankly do not care. Who is to know where they are from?  They all take the name of college in the neighbouring area.  Though the students apologized, they said they had brought in police protection for this very purpose. I don't know what purpose it served. 
But 5 years after the SMC debacle KMC is pretty much the same. And if these guys who are doctors in the making were to allow and even bear with this bull crap happening on campus I wonder what all they will allow to happen to a patient. Or would it change then? Would responsibility happen? If KMC or any other college cannot handle the behavior of students no matter where they come from, then they might as well not organize such events and allow public insult of girls who come to participate. At least as long as people do not know of this, there will at least be an opinion that KMC and SMC are 'safe' places to be in. Why organize any such congregation and ruin a good reputation even if it is misplaced. Ignorance, in this case, would definitely be bliss. Ramachandra Medical College and even the newer Chettinad Medical College seem to run a tight ship. 
And yes it does make a lot of sense to me now that educational institutions are strict. When someone becomes a part of a mob he/she could do anything and everything. 
I only have one prayer now. That nobody should ever come across the kind of unruly men (especially if they are students of medicine) that I came across in KMC and SMC. 
Definitely felt more sorry for the nice student coordinators I met. Sorry for the kind of people they are exposed to. And the kind of environment they are in. God help my country.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Music Engravers / Finale 2009

OK people. Here is something.
If you are a music engraver/ or know someone who is into engraving, and works on Finale 2009, let me know


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

And another year

has gone by. It has been quite fast and mostly eventful.
Perhaps if some events had not happened I would have been happier. But like they sometimes used to end those Tinkle or Panchatantra tales, it perhaps made me sadder but wiser.
I mostly do not look forward to a birthday. I do not associate anything great or happy. No great memories either. Yeah while in school it used to be the excitement of new clothes and the whole class to class chocolate distribution thingie we got done. And sometimes about shared birthdays. Three other girls in my class shared a birthday.

I read in someone's Facebook status yesterday "When life brings you to your knees, you are in a perfect position to pray" Going by the things the path ahead is not going to be easy. But all I wish for now that I do not come across any more bad people. I have seriously, honestly had enough of them. I wish that I do not meet people who will almost break my spirit. I wish that I do not come across instances that do the same either. Because when it comes to that I know it takes a while to rise. And I do not want to waste that time. I am asking for a lot of blessing. Most people perhaps think that I lead a charmed life. To the world my dreams are fulfilled and I am touted as 'succesful'. But I know the path that mom has brought me through. Bramble bush and thorns. Jagged stones and bruises. All that I have known is hold her hand just I had learned. And she has never let go of me. In her sole strength and determination I have found the will to keep going. I continue to hold her hand. For there is so much to be done and so less time.

I wish and pray that my mother be healthy and fine. I wish and pray that I will have her with me for several years to come.

The year so far has been one of great and careful planning that continues. And the year ahead will be that of execution.

And wish your wishes, your blessings and a humble, heartfelt request that you pray for me, that I stick to the path of righteousness, truth, wisdom and learning. I intend to use the popularity that I have earned for a greater good.

And I pray as I have never prayed before. And shall continue to.

For the fulfillment of a greater dream, a greater purpose. For true service that shall start soon.

God help me.

P.S.: I have found friends in my people who have liked and followed my work. I prefer to call them that than fans because I have met most of them and know them personally. They started a community in Orkut and as far as I can see, the discussions show that they are going to be organizing a meal at one of the less famous, truly needy orphanage perhaps this weekend. And I will be with them when the plan has become concrete.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Languages and Learning

After working with interpreters and translators of varied linguistic capacities and capabilities over the few years, one of the major things that Indian linguists lack is their command over English.
I really do not understand the point of learning a foreign language if you are no good in the language that you are going to translate into.
Over the last few weeks I have been pretty appalled at some of interpreter talent that is in India. Thankfully to set the balance right, I have come across some good ones too.
If you are planning to learn a foreign language, do so by all means, master it and read everything from storybooks to rhymes and comics and the newspaper in that language. And side by side, head to British council and enroll in their English courses or simply read as much as you can and use the dictionary. If you are already a professional in a field, learn the terms that you come across every day.
I think its no use being an interpreter/translator if you have not even come close to mastering the source (the language you translate from) and the target language (the language you translate into).
And as a disclaimer this is only for those who are interested in taking up languages and translation as a profession. It is definitely lucrative, but only for those who are good enough.Yes currently there are several professionals who are not, but slowly the supply is rising and then it shall truly be a survival of the fittest.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Crank calls and judgments

For once we decided to not sit quietly on these crank calls that I keep getting from random numbers and informed the authorities. A warning does work wonders. Over several months and weeks some weirdos call. Mom usually tells them that we will tell the authorities and that would be enough. This time we really did it. And the apologies followed.

Probably pretty soon I will ask for help from the Cyber Crime cell as well for some comments that seem to come from some IPs and this has been coming for more than a year or perhaps its two. I wonder what is it that makes someone use the kind of language that I get to read sometimes. Every post gets a comment like that.

Now please don't tell me that its a side effect of being a popular person. Like I have said before, someone's freedom to swing their hand stops where the other person's face starts. And if some people have forgotten their manners then perhaps its time to remind them.

After reading so many reviews, discussions and protests on Sach Ka Samna, a show, which goes about asking people to come forward to literally bring the skeletons out of their cupboard for the entire world to see, by answering 'just' 21 questions truthfully, curiosity got the better of me and I actually sat down to catch the show.

I have read on so many T Shirts, perhaps you have read it too. "Its not a crime until you are caught". And under this veil of anonymity, of their wondering who will know , with a devil may care attitude sometimes and who will notice, it is quite a revelation on the kind of things people say and do. Mostly a popular person would be scared to do most of what a common man does for fear of blackmail to extortion to anything else.

And I also wonder what it is that makes someone who is presumably leading a happy life to answer questions which can put his/her life in a mess. There were reports in the paper on a couple who played out this game in their homes and the man committed suicide as he could not handle the truth. Why would people willingly walk into quicksand. Or maybe it is not quicksand. I would never know and perhaps no one will.

So many different kinds of people around us and I have also read this in some magazines. To let sleeping dogs lie. At least in a lot of cases.

On a tangent, after that post on the 23rd August, I got a few comments which said that a celebrity should be a role model to the society. It got me wondering there as well. Why the demand that a celebrity should be a role model? Perhaps it is not in their scheme of things to be and do. As I have said several times before I blog on what comes to my mind, I do not go back and edit. And I happened to ponder on this as well. Maybe all that a person who became someone that we could recognize from the sea of faces that we come across, wants to do is just go further in his career, do better work and lead a life in his own terms. Why should he answer (not that he might be) to what our demands on him are? Perhaps Sach Ka Samna is what Reality TV is all about. They say art imitates life. And if this is anything to go by, movies are not corrupting anyone. More often than not they are plainly stating facts on celluloid.

And maybe the common man is not so interested in a popular person as he is in his own life. People are busy leading their own lives that no one really cares what happens even next door. I once knew a person who was such an optimist who kept saying that people in the world are too busy to be doing anything bad to us. I know from heresy and experience that there some beings that take it upon themselves and waste a lot of time in figuring out how they can ruin someone else's life. But then, he was an optimist. I would rather be a realist who can wear optimistic glasses sometimes.

My blogs, thereafter reading the comments that a reader (you, perhaps) takes effort and time in keying and publishing it here, watching and hearing so many things around me makes me want to take a decision time and again. That I will not judge a person. No matter what.

I happened to watch these videos on Facebook. Perhaps you might have seen them already but happened to love the commercials and the thought process behind that.

With this let me wish for you that you may not be judged, especially if you find yourself in a pickle and may you enjoy the relief that it brings about. The relief that comes about when you know you get total acceptance when you want it.
God bless.