Wednesday, August 31, 2011

54


Malaysia turns 54 today ;) 

Happy Merdeka to all Malaysians and Happy Birthday Malaysia ;)

Now I'm supposed to be packing and doing a lot of other things today but here I am finally editing videos and excitedly posting them. I had written this post way back then but never got to posting it. it's kinda usual these days so read it as it was told that day. And watch the video ;) My first edited video with the 5dmk2 ;)

I think I live in the most awesomest town. There I’ve said it ;p

You see I’ve been accused of loving my town a tad bit too much but then I’m not lying you see. It does have awesome food and you get everything there for great prices. But what I love most is the whole laidback feel and the people who live there.

People here are seriously hardworking. They’d hold jobs at the university, then have their own business on the side while lending a hand in their communities and their own religious movements.

What I really wanted to write about is the boys from my area. Now they’re typical Indian boys, naughty and flirty and full of Indian movie Bandha (think Rajinikanth) – the typical Macha.

But here’s the thing you would not expect from them. If there’s a temple function, these boys may not turn up to pray but they will be there to clean up, cook, help with the food preparation and finally to serve the food.
They’re all part of the local Youth Club which was set up by my uncle to get these boys to channel their energy in the right way. The boys pool their money to host the last evening before the temple thriruvila (festival) in our town.

I never miss going for their ubhayam (prayers) just to watch them and bask in proudness. Each year they pick representatives from the club to stand in front and be the ones who get to carry the idol around the temple. It is so cute to see those boys turn up in their veshtis and blink in embarrassment. They’ll pull their veshti to the left to the right and then when their eyes meet someone they know (which is probably everyone) they blush away. This is probably their first time ever wearing the veshti.

After the prayers these boys will start serving food with outmost efficiency. Be it as a buffet line or in a sit down style where everyone sits in rows on the floor. Nobody gets left out, everything is cleared in time and the service is done with sincerity and humbleness.

Yesterday afternoon during lunch, the boys were getting bullied by this aunty sitting next to me. She kept teasing them is this yesterdays food? Eh why you giving her more appalam than me? At one point my mom, me and the aunty ended up putting one boy on a merry go round of refilling our drink glasses. Not once did they sulk or get angry, it was all smiles and laughter and teasing protests.

The younger boys of our town look up to them in awe and wait for their turn to be able to serve. We’ve all done our time, once we get too busy with work, the younger boys take over and we watch with glee and pride.

Weekends before and after festivals the youngsters of the town will turn up to clean the temple. When I was younger I was one of them. I remember one year they wanted kolams painted all across the cement floors of the temple, so three of us who normally put the kolam turned up to paint 10 huge kolams around the temple on a Sunday morning. Throughout the day someone brought us food and drinks so we wouldn’t run away without finishing our work. Not that we would have.

All the temple brass items are usually gleamed by the community folks. Before big festivals the ladies of the town will turn up to cut the huge quantity of food. Let’s just say no one ever goes hungry in our town. That’s why on such festival times we’d have foreign workers turning up as well and we never decline them. 

Everyones welcome to turn up as long as they behave themselves.

The best part everyone will patiently wait in line (ok most of the aunties don’t) to wash the plates and cups so that the temple folks don’t have to do it.

Last night as the chariot made its way across town, the boys were out in full force to help out and mostly have fun. We had already done our prayers in the temple itself but wanted to go chariot chasing. That’s where you hop into a car and stop people to ask where they are.

At one point I stopped the car and went boys where’s the chariot. They replied back “akka its at that corner.” The courtesy and the manners are always there. Of course the boys aren’t saints, they break rules, tease the gals (they are boys you know), flirt and such but they do know how to respect elder people and everyone in general. Just don’t pick a fight with them, the whole town might turn up in support for them.

They had set up a pantal or booth at one of the locations to provide food and drinks for the people walking with the chariot. The boys were dressed in their best and had decorated the place with coconut leaves and decorations.

By giving the boys importance, we had created a system to ensure they were an integral part of the community. It’s a simple theory trust them with responsibility and they will perform. Don’t undermine naughty boys, they just want attention, you can always talk to them nicely and trust them. Eventually they will become better people.

So to the boys of my town, I am so proud of you – you guys are awesome ;)  





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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Covers

For the last few months people have been raving about Shanker Tucker. Now Ive been meaning to write this for sometime now but didn’t have the time.

Here I am sitting and listening to "O Re Piya / Rolling in the Deep" - Shankar Tucker ft. Rohan Kymal, Brendan Susens-Jackson on a loop since this morning.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipNB-ijxHiI&feature=player_embedded

 

Now the reason I’m listening to the song on a loop is not coz of how he merged them but it’s because of the amazing voice of Rohan Kymal. Like the lyrics of Adele’s song

 

You had my heart inside your hand
And you played it To the beat

 

He had my heart in his hands. I woke up today to fall in love with his amazing voice. Oh and I love those amazing guitar riffs in the song.

 

But the reality is in this second based on the youtube videos both Shanker and Rohan are cover artists.

 

In Shankers case he has sound knowledge of music, is a brilliant producer because he continues to pick the right singer for each song and he has introduced us to amazing singers like Rohan and the Iyer sisters and a talented instrumentalist.

 

The only instance I have seen his creativity as a composer is in this less listened to original song by him "Night Monsoon" - Shankar Tucker, Amit Mishra.

 

This is seriously amazing it feels as if you’re listening to the monsoon itself but sadly it has less hits as it is a more classical piece and most of the people listening to his songs are looking for the familiarity of the covers he has been doing.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnyDwXmxwac&feature=relmfu

 

 

Take for example this cover of Micheal Jackson’s by Harmonize Projekt 2. It is a cover but wait till you get to the guitar riffs and the dude blows you off with his amazing skills moving away from the original composition and exploring the raaga and then as easily moves back to the original composition and we’re back to MJ.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-XINPCPoq0&feature=related

 

Here they have a perfect singer however the chorus to me borders on irritating so there’s no way I’m going to loop this. This is a talented band but they have the problem most bands have they can’t do all covers and need to come up with originals or have people nitpick on them coz it will be evident.

 

Of course this would be irrelevant if they were one of the thousands of amazing Filipino bands worldwide ;p

 

So why isn’t the merging of O Re Piya and Rolling in the Deep not great? Simply coz Shanker has identified that both songs are based on the same raga platform and merged them.

 

Here’s the original by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5awZ9sOTA54

 

 

It’s amazing but the arrangements use more classical instruments so the general public perhaps have not heard it. People like me who don’t follow the Hindi music scene definitely have not heard it.  Listen to the song fully it gets better and better.

 

So how is a cover singer different from a cover director. It’s the originality of his voice that makes all the difference. With his voice Rohan has created a different experience to the song and the credit goes to Shanker for picking him. Like I said Shankers a brilliant producer.

 

Only time can tell if Shanker can truly be a creative composer or continue to be brilliant producer. He has a movie album coming out – let’s see where that goes.

 

I’m going back to looping Rohan ;)

 

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