A few people have had a decent influence on my love for music.
It began, as is generally the case, at home. Amazing music from the 50’s and 60’s Hindi films. Dev Anand, because my father liked him. But we weren’t restricted to his favourite songs. Every morning, we grew on a staple diet of Sangeet Sarita, the AIR morning show of classical music – just two songs. The big Murphy radio was our alarm clock in so many ways. The programme spoke of ragas and such, which never permeated my thick skull, but the music somehow chose to stick like leeches to eventually osmose my scalp and make a permanent impression.
Like you see in most retro movies, we were glued to Binaca (Cibaca?) Geetmala.
As a kid, I didn’t have access to music the way we have today. I grew up in the 80s, you see. The best we could do was to keep our Sharp GF 6060 in front of the TV when Doordarshan decided to show a canned presentation of the Grammy. We were excitedly exposed to the Pointer Sisters, Boy George, MC Hammer, George Michael, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Young, and such (in no particular chronological order).
Somewhere in my shoebox, I may still have the recordings, where my voice is side-tracked, of the guy doing the Axel-F. I don’t even remember who did the “din-da-da, do-do-do, din-da-da, do-do-do.”. Came High School and a classmate introduced me to Paul Simon, when Phil Collins was reigning supreme. Graceland. I have happily forgotten that classmate for various reasons. I remember him for only one reason – Paul Simon.
Cut to ten-odd years later.
The main show is yet to begin. We are all pop-corn and coke laden. I have a session with my best friend about rock genres. Metal, acid, death and such. So, what’s jazz? We go there too. Blues and related. I was a part of the team that controversially beat IIT Mumbai at MI. Someone had performed Holiday by Scorpions. I held two lit candles in my hand. I didn’t quite know what it all meant, I was living the experience. That was my wonderful introduction to rock. I thought rock was for drug addicts. I know better now. There is more to rock than drugs.
Cut to the time that we were in, originally. Paul Simon endures. I get deeply involved. I discover S&G of my own. ‘Kathy’s Song and ‘For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her’, somehow make a huge impact on my life. Mushy? Me? No! All I do is, listen to ‘A Poem on the Underground Wall’ and decide I shouldn’t be a poet. No point.
I fall in and out of love a few times. I re-discover poetry. I perhaps go back to my roots. I listen to Marathi songs. I wonder, why I never warmed up to this music. This poetry is unimaginable, un-compose-able. Father once said, God used GaDiMa as a conduit to narrate the Ramayan. I start believing all Marathi poetry and music is such. Years later I hear Paul Simon saying something similar.
I don’t recall who introduced me to Madhushala. I am a staunch believer now. Apart from God no one could induce such beauty.
Cut to now.
After seeing The Shawshank Redemption I am a huge fan of Mozart. I can’t get enough of “Che Soave Zeffiretto” from The Marriage of Figaro. This introduces me to western classical. I don’t understand the logic of classical music, but “The Four Seasons: Con No.4 In F, RV 297 ‘Winter’: I. Allegro Non Molto” does something to me. Every time I listen to it.
One thing has led to another.
Paul Simon to Joan Baez.
Don McLean to Johnny Cash.
Kailsh Kher to core Sufi.
Marathi Soul to Marathi Stage Music.
Willie Nelson to Julio Iglesias.
My good friend in the Singapore theatre introduced me to Louis Armstrong in a Karaoke bar. I learned and I sang “I Started a Joke” till I perfected it.
Suddenly it was time to leave the Karoke bar.