Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thank You, Evergreen

As a token of appreciation for writing a review of their debut album on my blog Evergreen sends me their debut CD and a Tee.

Thank You, Evergreen.

A nice Christmas gift and what a nice way to begin the New Year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year, 2010

Here's wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year. May all your dreams come true this New Year, 2010.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best of the new Tamil movie songs

Starting with the best, Vijay Antony's reputation as a good music director will only be further consolidated with the release of the movie, "Aval Peyar Thamizharasi". He has managed to make some good numbers different from his usual repetvoire of danceable songs.

Start with the duet "Nee otha solla sollu" a song with simple but nice lyrics. Check out the Santoor tune when the song ends.
Next check out this lovely number by Malgudi Shuba and bound to be a hit, "Kol taana ranghubai".
Next come the three songs by Veera Shankar, "Oththayadi padayailai", "Madathu oli vilakku" and the best of the three, the soulful, "Aararo Aarirao" sung in a very unique style. I am looking forward to the video for this song. Vijay Antony certainly deserves credit for the composition and the way it is sung.
"Guju guju goods vandi" is bound to get popular and get fame for the kid who sang it.
"Yethanaiyo katha undu" is sweet and "Palayn kota by V Antony is ok. "Vadakka Thekka" is sung by Vineeth Srinivasan, son of popular Malayalam actor Srinivasan. Vineeth has sung some bit hits in Malayalam cinema in recent times.

I rate songs from "Payya" next best in this review. "Poongatre Poongatre" by Benny Dayal, "En kadhal solla" by Yuvan and "Thuli thuli" by Haricharan are all good.

And finally check out "Ading Ading" by Dimaan for the movie "Odipolama".

Friday, December 18, 2009

Is Idea Star Singer a Malayalam Programme?

After actress Sheela commented on one of the perfomances today I was reminded of an article I wanted to write long ago. I wanted to do it when Roy, the CEO of the Confident group was giving away the award for the Idea Star Singer winners of Season 3. He commented on how ISS being a Malayalam programme had contestants singing more Tamil, Hindi and non-Malayalam songs. Much to his vexation, the contestants were singing Tamil songs even on the awards ceremony. Sheela's comments on today's show about why cannot Malayalam "adi poli" songs instead of Tamil songs be sung went un-answered.

Contrary to these programmes in similar competitions in Tamil contestants do not sing even one non-Tamil number. In fact they are not supposed to do so. Only in the non-Tamil or Other Languages round can they sing songs made in other languages.

ISS need not be as stringent as the Tamil programmes are but if the organizers want to call ISS a Malayalam show then they must curtail the songs being sung in other languages. The same goes for similar such shows on Asianet and other Malayalam channels too.

A new band that shows promise

Evergreen is another rock band from the land of Avial and Motherjane and from the quality of their music it looks like they may have come to stay too. The green and fertile strip of coastland on the Indian subcontinent facing the Arabian sea may not be the rock destination of India but many of the bands from Kerala have swayed the masses. Evergreen is going to do that too.

Unlike every other new hard rock and metal act in the country taking to "Death Metal" these days, Evergreen's debut album "Beyond and Between" exudes rock and it gets better the more you listen. I don't see any rush here on the album to play blistering solo's, riffs, and thundering grooves. Instead the band takes it easy with some lovely ballads such as "Epilogue" and an acoustic number too. There are faster numbers but they don't wear you down like those "Death Metal" growls of other metal and hard rock acts burgeoning in India.

The album opens with the hard-rocker "Vengeance" clearly showcasing what the band is worth. "Vengeance", the fastest and hardest song on the album distinctly shows the band's musical tastes in the heavy sounds of the 80's, from bands like Whitesnake and Deep Purple. Saji Antony's keyboards on "Vengeance" and later on "Sublime" definitely proves this.

"From here to clarity" is mellower when compared to the opener but I was happy it wasn't another head-banger. Then comes "Altar of dreams" that begins slow but gradually moves to a faster number and it features some nice guitar work by Sunil Silvester, the band's guitarist. I don't know why an acoustic version of this song was included though it does sound good too. Evergreen could have added a new song instead. I must also mention Jagan George whose vocals are noteworthy, steering each song. His voice reminds me so much of another singer but I am not able to nail it right now.

You also get a feeling of the sounds of the 80's bands such as Journey, Toto, Europe and The Scorpions. "The Calling", "Run to the light" and "Sublime" reflect this.

"Epilogue" is a nice concluder where you'll hear only vocals and keyboards. The first time I heard this song, I couldn't help playing it twice.

Other personnel in the band are Arun and Suraj who provide all the needed bass and percussion support.

The album and ringtones are available for free download at and you can catch the band at where you can listen to the audio songs with better clarity and also watch some of the band's videos.

How much of their sound is going to be accepted by this generation is the question. Evergreen has a long way to go and much to learn to add novelty and variety to their music to keep their fanbase interested, but they do have the potential. Their album is cetainly worth more listens than one.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Classic Malayalam folk song on Idea Star Singer

Oh yes, I still manage to watch ISS in fits and starts though I try to avoid all the nauseating parts whenever possible.

Preethi sang the beautiful "Pallivaala Bhadra" yesterday. I was reminded then of another singer from a previous show of ISS Season 3, Aarabhi who also gave a beautiful rendition. Preethi's performance was more tight and slightly improvised but somehow I'll give the innocent looking Aarabhi the award for the better performance. Here they are, the two videos. Aarabhi's performance was the first time I was listening to this lovely song.

Preethi's performance yesterday.

And Aarabhi's performance in 2008.

Such a danceable folksong, the dancers for both the songs were superb. This song could be a great candidate for Avial's next album. If only Avial could improvise and make a great version of it. Avial, are you listening?

Friday, December 11, 2009

If you are Indian, why you should visit the War Cemetery in Singapore

In Singapore, the Kranji War Memorial and cemetery is a very unlikely place that you may visit but while living there in the late 90's I went there anyway. Not many people, particularly tourists visit this place but if you are Indian and have moved from India to Singapore or from another country to Singapore do pay a visit to this place.

It was both a moment of both pride and of sadness to read the names of so many Indians, (I am quite sure I read Tamil and Malayalee names too) on the stones of their graves. These brave Indians died fighting the Japanese during World War II. According to Wikipedia, there are a list of another 800 Indian names at a cremation memorial where the bodies were cremated according to religious beliefs. I missed this one. It is sure an honourable thing to know how many of our countrymen had laid down their lives for the freedom of man in another country. This could be another reason why so many older resident Indians in Singapore consider Singapore to be more Indian than any of the other races living in Singapore though I am not implying that the Chinese or the Malays do not contribute to the welfare and economy of Singapore. But I am sure that I don't recall reading any Chinese names on the cemetery. Early money lenders, teachers, labour union leaders, politicians of Singapore were predominately Indian. Singapore even had a Malayalee president, Devan Nair. The story of how Devan Nair was ousted from office and stripped off his powers are legend among resident first generation Malayalees in Singapore.

Like other attractions in Singapore the War Cemetery may not be on your itinerary list but going there can be a moving experience. Chances are that you many not find even one tourist there. The loneliness of the place and being there in the evening, when the sun was going down was an experience I will never forget.

Myself, in 1997 at the War Cemetery.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dan Seals passed away, so did Larry Knetchel

Someone who passed away a few months before Michael Jackson (exactly three months before) was Dan Seals, brother of Jim Seals of the super soft-rock group Seals and Crofts. Dan Seals did have hits of his own with group with his mate Dan Ford Coley and then after the duo disbanded, Dan had several hits on the Counrty Music Charts.

However it is his pop songs as the duo England Dan and Dan Ford Coley that I loved. One of them was their biggest hit "I'd love to see you tonight". Dan is the one who is singing and playing the guitar.

There are other songs I like such as "Love is the answer", "Who's lonely now", and "Soldier in the Rain" but my favourite will alwyas be the song "Sad to belong". Like Ford Coley put it, "This song isn't a song about cheating but how to save Alimony and child support. So marry your second spouse first..worked for me." Here are the beautiful lyrics of this timeless number written by Dan Seals.

Sad To Belong
by: England Dan

Met you on a springtime day
You were mindin' your life
And I was mindin' mine, too
Lady when you looked my way
I had a strange sensation
And, darlin' that's when I knew...

That it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along
Yes, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along

Oh, I wake up in the night
And I reached beside me
Hoping you will be there
But instead I find someone
Who believe in me
When I said, "I'd always care."

Oh, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along
Yes, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along

So, I lived my life in a dreamworld
For the rest of my days
Just you and me walkin' hand in hand
In a wishful memory
Oh, I guess that's all that it would ever be

Wish I had a time machine
I could make myself go back
Until the day I was born
And I would live my life again
And rearrange it
So, that I'll be yours from now on

Oh, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along
Yes, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along
Oh, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along
Yes, it's sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along

Also noteworthy to mention is Larry Knetchel who used to play bass for the soft rock band "Bread", passed away in August this year. Two of the bands members Jimmy Griffin(vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion) and Mike Botts(Drums) passed away in 2005. While in Singapore I, Sathish and Suji had gone to watch Bread during their 25'th anniversary tour in 1997. And here are some of Bread's hits.

Make it with you

and, Guitar man

Friday, December 04, 2009


Got this in an e-mail this morning and couldn't stop laughing for a while. It actually gets better with a second and third reading.

By the time you read through this YOU WILL UNDERSTAND
"TANJOOBERRYMUTTS" ...and be ready for China .
In order to continue getting-by in China, we need to learn English the way it is spoken...... ......... ........
Practice by reading the following conversation until you are able to understand the term "TANJOOBERRYMUTTS”.
With a little patience, you'll be able to fit right in.
Now, here goes...
The following is a telephonic exchange between maybe you as a hotel guest and room-service today......
Room Service: “Morrin. Roon sirbees”
Guest: "Sorry, I thought I dialed room-service"
Room Service: “Rye. Roon sirbees...morrin! Joowish to oddor sunteen???"
Guest: "Uh..... Yes, I'd like to order bacon and eggs."
Room Service: "Ow ulai den?"
Guest: ".....What?? "
Room Service: "Ow ulai den?!?... Pryed, boyud, pochd?"
Guest: "Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry.. Scrambled, please."
Room Service: "Ow ulai dee bayken ? Creepse?"
Guest: "Crisp will be fine."
Room Service: "Hokay. An sahn toes?"
Guest: "What?"
Room Service: "An toes. ulai sahn toes?"
Guest: "I.... Don't think so.."
Room Service: "No? Udo wan sahn toes???"
Guest: "I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'udo wan sahn toes' means."
Room Service: "Toes! Toes!...Why Uoo don wan toes? Ow bow Anglish moppin we botter?"
Guest: "Oh, English muffin! !! I've got it! You were saying 'toast'... Fine...Yes, an English muffin will be fine."
Room Service: "We botter?"
Guest: "No, just put the botter on the side."
Room Service: "Wad?!?"
Guest: "I mean butter... Just put the butter on the side."
Room Service: "Copy?"
Guest: "Excuse me?"
Room Service: "Copy...tea. .meel?"
Guest: "Yes. Coffee, please... And that's everything."
Room Service: "One Minnie. Scramah egg, creepse bayken , Anglish moppin, we botter on sigh and copy ... Rye ??"
Guest: "Whatever you say."
Room Service: "Tanjooberrymutts. "
Guest: "You're welcome"
Remember I said "By the time you read through this YOU WILL UNDERSTAND
'TANJOOBERRYMUTTS' ......and you do, don't you!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Jaya's meeting with Manju Warrier

That's Rekha, Jaya's sister and Jaya with the talented actress, Malayalam cinema misses so dearly. Many of her fans still think she is going to stage a come-back someday.

Manju and Dileep visited Rekha on one of their recent trips to the U.S and thus began the friendship. When Rekha was in India this August, Manju invited her to her home. I was in Chennai at that time. Jaya went along with her sister. She was so excited after the visit, that she told me she couldn't sleep that night thinking of the meeting and the conversations they had.

Of the movies I have liked of Manju's, "Kaliveedu" will top the list. I also liked her in "Kaliyaatam". When I watched "Ee Puzhayum Kadannu", one of my favourite among the Manju-Dileep films, I told several friends that it would only be appropriate if Manju and Dileep tied the knot. Amazingly in one of Kamal's (I am not sure if it was Sathyan Anthikaad) recent interviews I was surprised to hear that it was only after "Ee Puzhayum Kadannu" that love between the two really blossomed.