Monday, July 09, 2012

The MJ Show #148 - Guest Series - Ashwin Sanghi's favourites! (Part 1)

Ashwin Sanghi

I had the pleasure of interacting with tonight's guest on twitter a few months ago...and I then went on and picked up two novels that he'd written. I knew they were best sellers and super popular but I'll admit that I hadn't got down to reading them till after I met him. I gotta say this...I loved his first two books "The Rozabal Line" and "Chanakya's Chant" and I can't wait to check out his new book "The Krishna Key". (I've linked all his books to their pages. If you don't have them go to Flipkart and order them now!)
Here's a video about his new book. The book releases in August this year! Make sure you go and pick it up...or pre-order it online on flipkart!

There's a lot that can be said about the man who is a businessman by day and a brilliant writer by night but instead of me telling you more facts, I'll request you to go check out his site.
Loads of info on him and his books.
I take great pleasure in presenting to you part 1 of Ashwin's favourite songs. Get ready for some great songs ranging from classical to sufi to rock classics!
Here we go!! :)

Ashwin Sanghi (AS): 1. Wadali Bandhu - Tere Ishq Nachaya
I have always loved Qawwali and the Wadali brothers are among my favourites. Tere Ishq Nachaya is one of the most incredible poems of Bulleh Shah and the words are evergreen.

MJ: When I heard this song by the Wadali Brothers...for some inexplicable reason a song by Sona Mohapatra popped up in my head. Possibly only the song title and the main lyric line is same...but the styles and singing completely different.
Interesting song to look at in any case. Have a look:

AS: 2. Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan w/ Peter Gabriel- Sanu Ik Pal Chain Na Aawe Sajna Tere Bina
Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was undoubtedly a legend but when his voice was combined with the musical sensibilities of Peter Gabriel, the results were just ethereal. This particular number was heard several times by my wife and I when we were courting, and I have incredible memories of places and moments when I hear this song.

MJ: Well when you talk about the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan collaborating with someone from the west, the songs that immediately pop up in my mind are "Face Of Love" and "The Long Road" which were featured in the soundtrack of Sean Penn's "Dead Man Walking". When Eddie Vedder's voice joins Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's voice on the's absolute magic!
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with Eddie Vedder - Face Of Love
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with Eddie Vedder - The Long Road

AS: 3. Madhup Mudgal - Nirankar Niradhar
Madhup Mudgal is one of the most unappreciated classical artistes of our times. His voice is pure and unadulterated. His rendition of Gurbani can almost make one’s eyes well up. I listen to this particular number almost every morning. Formless, imperishable, limitless and tens of other adjectives recited simply in honour of the Almighty.
Nirankar Niradhar by MADHUP MUDGAL on Grooveshark

MJ: Honestly, I had not heard of Madhup Mudgal till you told me about him. Just heard the track and though I don't have any adjectives to add to your's I'll say simply that it really was beautiful. Really enjoyed it.

AS: 4. Farida Khanum - Aaj Jaane Ki Zidd Na Karo
My grandfather—the one who inspired me to read and write—loved Farida Khanum’s voice and we would end up listening to this particular ghazal again and again. It is sung so very simply that one can almost imagine the scene being played out—a lover pleading with her amour not to leave.

MJ: It's so strange that I mentioned Sona Mohapatra at the start of this episode. Many months ago when Sona was in my studio at 94.3 Radio One on my show One Mumbai One Music, she had spoken about how this song was a massive influence on her. How, Farida Khanum was one of the few female vocalists who sang in this lovely soft voice...and not the typical high pitch voice that Bollywood so prefers. It's such a beautiful song and I remember that my dad also used to love this song. Heard it many times when my dad used to drive the car and he'd put on his favourite songs on the car stereo.'s a song that I have. Lyrically it's not connected to "Aaj Jaane Ki Zidd Na Karo" but I love the feel of the song and it kinda fits in. I truly believe that the greatest movie soundtrack I've heard in an Indian film in the longest time was for the movie "Balgandharva". It is my honour to say that I count the music director, Kaushal Inamdar and the lead singer of the movie, Anand Bhate as my friends...but even if I didn't know them personally I would say that I'm a massive fan of their talent. Strangely enough the song I have for you doesn't feature Anand Bhate. It features another great singer selected by Kaushal for this incredible song.
Have a look:

AS: 5. Abida Parveen - Main Naraye Mastana
Abida Parveen’s is probably one of the most powerful voices one can ever listen to, but this particular rendition has all the elements of that power mixed with a wonderful jazz element. Pure bliss!

MJ: There's something about the creativity of Pakistani musicians that's really amazing. Speaking of a great fusion of jazz/blues/rock and the Indian subcontinental style of singing I think of a fantastic band called Mekaal Hasan Band from Pakistan. Mekaal's jazz sensibilities and arrangements, his band's talent and then the voice of Javed Bashir...what a brilliant magical mix this is.
Have a look at this song by them:

AS: 6. Jafar Hussain Khan Badauni - Chhap Tilak
I had heard Chhaap Tilak many times but I fell in love with the song after I heard it sung by Jafar Hussain Sahab. I heard this for the first time in the Eighties and since then have kept hearing it. Qawwali doesn’t get any better than this.

MJ: Isn't it incredible how great songs survive no matter what.
I remember hearing this song like this:

AS: 7. Bruce Springsteen - Brilliant Disguise
From Springsteen’s album ‘Tunnel of Love” it is my all-time favourite song. I would hear it repeatedly during my student days in the US. Perfect listening for a lonely drive along the Mumbai-Pune expressway.
MJ: "The Boss" is such an incredible songwriter. "Brilliant Disguise" is one of my all time favourites by him too. Another song which I think of as an "endless loop song"...which also is a great song for a lonely drive is this next song by him. When I first heard it, I think I heard it on an endless loop for days. The saxophone solo at the end...reaches so deep within you if you let it. It's amazing what music can do to you if you just let it

AS: 8. Bryan Adams - Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman
From the soundtrack of Don Juan DeMarco, this incredible song is passionate, melancholic, and satisfying… incredibly all at once. The other awesome feature of this track is the flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia.

MJ: I remember watching the movie - Johnny Depp, Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway. The song was beautiful and so passionate. The song fit in so beautifully in the movie. In fact, the lyrics of the song had a few of Johnny Depp's lines from the movie!
Bryan Adams has such a gift. He writes beautiful, melodic, simple, incredible songs. One of my favourite songs by him is one that's not such a massive "hit"...but just listen to this. It takes my breath away.

"I never thought I'd find someone to move me 
Someone who could see right through me 
You found your way into my head 
Where even angels fear to tread."

AS: 9. Dire Straits - Water of Love
My favourite number from my days as a college student in St. Xavier’s. Used to hear this all the time. I was always fascinated by the unique percussion that forms the backdrop of this track. Haunting!

MJ: I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of fantastic musicians over the years...but a few years ago when Mark Knopfler came to Mumbai, I got a chance to meet him and I truly felt that I met one of my music idols. I've always said that if I had to get someone to make a soundtrack for my life, it would have to be Mark Knopfler. He's an absolute genius. Also, that evening in Mumbai, he just signed 3 things at the end of the press conference...and my copy of the 1978 Dire Straits LP was one of the 3 items :) It still is one of my most prized possessions! :)
I remember when I first started listening to Dire Straits...the one song that really got to me because of the incredible guitar work in the song was this next song. Hope you enjoy it too. :)

AS: 10. Eric Clapton - Layla
Inspired by Eric Clapton’s love for his friend George Harrison’s wife—Pattie Boyd, this particular track has to be the greatest rock song of all time. I have always loved Eric Clapton’s music (Tears in Heaven, Cocaine, You Look Wonderful Tonight…) but this is in a league of its own.
MJ: When I first heard the phrase "lyrical guitarist" about Clapton, many years ago, I didn't quite get it but over the years, having heard him, I completely get it. His guitar playing isn't playing for the sake of playing. The phrases and the solos speak to his listeners. I remember John Mayer once commenting in a concert that Eric Clapton's guitar playing reaches out to those people who don't know how many strings a guitar has...and I don't think anyone could have put it better. I've loved so many of his songs...but since you spoke about George's a song on which George Harrison called over Clapton to come and play the guitar on a Beatles album.
In fact, I have a rare live performance in which you can see them play together!!

(By the way, look around in the video...for a LOT of famous faces jamming in on this song!)

AS: 11. The Eagles - Tequila Sunrise
Surprisingly enough, The Eagles are best remembered for Hotel California. In my opinion, though, Tequila Sunrise is far better. The rhythm guitar and the mournful words almost make you feel that you are the guy who has been ditched by a lover!

MJ: There are two songs I love and immediately think of when I think of The Eagles. Both songs are hauntingly beautiful and in my opinion, just like you said, much better than Hotel California.
The first of the two was in fact, on the Hotel California album!
Here's a live performance of "Wasted Time". This was taken live At Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand on the 26th of November, 1995.
MJ: The second was on their 1979 album "The Long Run". The song was written by Timothy B. Schmit, Glenn Frey, and Don Henley, and was the first Eagles song to feature Schmit on lead vocals. There's something about Timothy Schmit's voice that really really gets to me. His clear high voice just lends something completely magical to this already beautiful song. Have a look at a  live performance of the song from their  Farewell Tour - Live From Melbourne, Australia at the Rod Laver Arena! Incredible!

MJ: What a brilliant 1st part once again! :) 
(I said "once again" because just a few days ago we had another 2 part "Guests Series" show with Mid-day Executive Editor Sachin Kalbag. If you missed that, see it now!

I'll put up part of Ashwin's favourite songs in my next episode. Don't miss it!

And get in on the action! Let me know what you think about the songs on: or in the comments here :)

It is now time for me to say take care and have a nice day! :)
This is your Musicman...Mihir Joshi...signing off!

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