Tuesday, June 16, 2009

musically enlightened

For someone whose only source of new music was either a Bollywood or a Tollywood film and whose knowledge of bands started at BackStreet Boys and ended at U2, I have come a long way in the last fortnight. It has been a musical revelation to me, all of a sudden.

In the past 15 days, I have heard songs which I never would have imagined to, seen people play the guitar at lightening speeds and read about bands whose genres range from heavy metal to punk rock. Phew! That is quite a lot of diversity but the best part is, it has opened my windows.(Sorry all ye Mac fans!)

Now to begin with, I bought this book called 'Rat Salad' on my birthday. All i knew about it when I bought it was that it was the story of some obscure rock band called Black Sabbath(Holy crap! Black Sabbath and obscure). Did not start reading it till a couple of weeks back but then once I got the hold of it, I loved the story. Then I realised that if I wanted to know more about the band, get their feel, I should first listen to their songs. So, I started listening to Black Sabbath, Paranoid and Iron Man. Spooky lyrics and Heavy Metal, not my type. But I listened nevertheless. Most importantly, what struck me was Tony Iommi's guitar play with two of his fingertips on his fretting hand missing. Watching him play is really inspirational. Anyway, that was the beginning of me exploring various kinds of music.

Then came John Denver singing away Country Roads, Take me home to glory. I was asked by my Guitar teacher to listen to that song to know the timings of chords. But since I loved Country Roads, I listened to many of his songs, and I love Annie's song and Leaving on a Jet place. Thank God he is a country boy.

Then, a couple of days later ani made me listen to this song called Wonderwall by Oasis. I didn't like it the first time around but he was persistent and I was lucky enough to give it another shot. And this time, I loved it. So, I got back home and started listening to Oasis songs and I love Lyla. A couple of months ago, I would have detested them because they are not my type.

I listen to a lot of blues and having listened to Filmy music all my life, I am impatient with instruments and give a lot of importance to vocals. And then the unthinkable happened. I came across the Acoustic Ninja. And I loved him. Pure guitar and nothing else, Trace is a pleasure to watch and I was stunned by his speed. I don't remember how I came across his site but when I was browsing through the website, this song called Urban Challenge started playing and I knew instantly, Trace was a magician.

And I didn't know Rabbi's new album Avengi jaa nahin released till last week. So, when I was downloading it, I also downloaded Sivamani's Mahaleela. I know I shouldn't be downloading songs but I cannot afford such high prices of these albums. Rabbi is as good as ever and although I always liked Sivamani, Mahaleela made me look upto him. The depth and the purity of those compositions still resonates in my ears.

Then off to Mumbai and there Chinakka listens to all these weirdo songs. I liked Joe Satriani but he didn't touch me. And there, in Bombay I was reading this book called Losing my Virginity, Richard Branson's autobiography. There I found the names Sex Pistols, Boy George and Mike Oldfield. As curious as I am, I youtubed them. And I tell you, Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen is fucking hilarious. They call the queen everything they are not supposed to. And though Boy George looks bizarre, I loved his Karma Chameleon. I always thought all these English songs were rather stupid because of their inaudible lyrics and extremely loud music but Karma Chameleon has a lot to say.

And oh!, Tabular Bells. No wonder they made Richard Branson a goddamn millionaire. You just cannot get over it. It haunts you.

I did quite some shopping in Bombay and having bought this tee with Bob Marley portraits on it, I thought I needed to know something about him before I wore that thing. And Buffalo Soldier rolled on. A voice so deep and so honest, I never knew. No woman no cry, Is this love and Buffalo Soldier are my favourites.

Ok. What next? Ofcourse, Andy Mckee. Boy, see him drift and you will know what a guitar can do. Or rather, what can be done with a guitar. Sheer brilliance.

Once I returned to Hyderabad, I thought I would download all these songs. And having heard a lot about The Beatles, I thought I would give them a go as well. So, what I did was that I downloaded John Lennon's Imagine and unsurprisingly, fell in love with it too. What is wrong with me? I hated 'English' songs and even when Kruthi or Ani forced me to listen to it, I was always closed. Maybe that is the reason, I never liked them. I never wanted to like them. But when I myself stumbled upon all these great artists, I am hungry for more. Not that I didn't listen to English songs. There's a folder in my mp3 player called 'Firangi' and it has a few selected collection of English songs, like Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Summer of 69, Lose Yourself, Right now na na and Have a nice day. But that's it.

I do not know why this fit all of a sudden. But I'm happy about it. Atleast I am open now and am experimenting, not shying away from something new. And as if things couldn't go more wrong, I stumbled upon Lemon Tree by Fool's Garden today morning and its one of the best songs I ever heard. For someone who worships the voices of Atif and Rabbi, Peter Freudenthaler is someone who earns his spot in that league. And the lyrics of Lemon Tree are as deep and meaningful as any.

In these past month, I have had a lot of lows(which everyone somehow knows). I have been called a selfish arrogant asshole more than once, felt deserted, wept my eyes off and almost lost myself in the process. Just when I was crumbling from the inside, when I was feeling lost and when I almost broke apart, music brought me back together. And I am really grateful for it. I have atleast stayed sane.

This journey has been of Musical Enlightenement to me. It came out of the blue and it hit me really hard. But hey, I'm lovin' it.

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