Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The MJ Show #149 - Guest Series - Ashwin Sanghi's favourites! (Part 2)

Ashwin Sanghi
I had the pleasure of interacting with today'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".
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!

Aswhin Sanghi (AS): 12. Queen - A Kind of Magic
I will say this emphatically: the world has never produced any singer like Freddie Mercury or Jim Morrison. I’m not sure whether the fact that Mercury was an Indian Parsi influences my view, but I find that his music stirs my soul whereas Morrison’s music stirs other parts of the anatomy!

MJ: I know exactly what you mean. For me, Freddie Mercury is one of my major influences when it comes to performing on stage. Apart from being a great singer I think he was one of the greatest performers in the world. That's something that Jim Morrison also had. When they were on stage you couldn't look anywhere else! I guess it was "a kind of magic" that they had! :)
Here's a performance of "Somebody To Love". The first 1 minute by itself makes it one of the greatest performances of any song that I've ever seen!
And what the heck...here's a song by The Doors that I love too. It was actually written by Van Morrison and originally recorded by his band "Them" in 1964. What Jim Morrison does to the song...is beyond belief! 

AS: 13. Pt Nikhil Banerjee & Ustad Ali Akbar Khan - Raga Manj Khamaaj
It must be the fact that Pt Nikhil Banerjee trained under Ustad Allaudin Khan that influenced his jugalbandhis with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (Ustad Allaudin Khan’s son). The two maestros produce the softest and sweetest notes and at times one feels like they are having an intimate conversation. A priceless gem of track!
MJ: I'm not really well educated about Indian ragas/classical music but I've always loved the sounds of our music. Be it Pandit. Bhimsen Joshi or Kumar Gandharva...I've grown up listening to some great music. I don't really have a response song to this because with my limited vocabulary of Indian ragas, I can't really think of anything to say here. So, I'll just listen and admire the beauty of what you've picked for us here. :)
(I've said this before a long time ago on some episode...it's so awesome when I get to hear things that I've not heard before. Recommendations from other music lovers, aficionados and musicians...make music loving and learning such a fantastic experience.)  

AS: 14. Fateh Ali Khan & Talvin Singh - Colour of Love
One of the sweetest sitar tracks that I have ever heard. Partly I loved the track because I had heard Shobha Gurtuji singing “Mein to Kheloongi…” and this particular melody is almost identical to that but with a contemporary twist. Awesome.
MJ: When I heard this song....for some reason I was taken back to a song that I've not thought of in ages. In fact, I couldn't even remember who had done it but then after a bit of searching I found that it was Jeff Beck.
It was on an album of his called "You Had It Coming". 
On his site here's what he had to say about the song and it's original composer.

Jeff Beck considers YOU HAD IT COMING’s standout track to be "Nadia," written by Indian musician Nitin Sawhney, whom Beck describes as "a genius -- like an Asian Stevie Wonder." Beck remembers first shuffling through Sawhney's CD while driving home. "I couldn't believe the diversity of the tracks. I stopped on 'Nadia' and I almost crashed the car, because it was such a refreshing, almost commercial, Indian song. I started whistling bits of it, then I thought, 'What am I waiting for? This is custom made for me.' "

Here it is...Nadia by Jeff Beck. Prepare to have your mind blown :)
MJ: By the way, I think the reason I thought of this song is because of the kind of vivid images both these songs can bring up in your mind's eye. 

AS: 15. Anoushka Shankar w/ Midival Punditz - Rebirth
I had never appreciated the skill and softness in Anoushka’s Shankar’s sitar-playing until I heard this fusion track in which the music had been arranged by the Midival Punditz. The track starts slowly but builds into a frenzy… almost orgasmic. Bravo!
MJ: I'm not much into instrumental tracks to be honest but when I read the last part of why you like the last song I thought of this song by Phil Collins.

AS: 16. A R Rahman - Khwaja Mere Khwaja
The reason that I love A. R. Rahman’s music is because it comes from deep within his soul. When this song was released as part of Jodha-Akbar I would never have imagined that it was a track that I would listen to endlessly for the next six months! It is prayer, meditation, longing and passion—all bundled together into one heady mix.

MJ: The awesome thing about A.R.Rahman is how simple he seems and really is. I was talking to someone who has worked with him closely and he was telling me about how all he cares about is his work...and nothing else matters. I think that honesty, that devotion...to his music and to the allmighty shows in his work. That is why I think he connects so instantly with people of all ages and nationalities.
Here's my favourite song by the maestro:

And the follow up track:

AS:17. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt & Ry Cooder - A Meeting By The River
I think that this particular album won Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Ry Cooder a Grammy in 1994. I have never been a huge fan of the Indian slide guitar but this track changed my opinion forever.

MJ: When I heard this song I thought of another duet I had heard between two great guitar players - Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler 

AS: 18. Luciano Pavarotti & Bryan Adams - ‘O Sole Mio
This is an all-time classic Italian love song but it reaches a new high when sung by Pavarotti and Bryan Adams as part of the phenomenal album “Pavarotti & Friends”. The perfect listening for a long-winding drive through the countryside!

MJ: Firstly, I have to share with you a song that Elvis did which was based on 'O Sole Mio! In fact, I just found a version in which he talks about it...and also gets someone to sing the Italian part :)
MJ: Another song that I loved, done by Pavarotti with another fantastic pop singer is a song called "I Hate You Then I Love You". In my opinion one of the greatest voices in pop music in the last couple of decades is Celine Dion. The high clear voice of Celine Dion...matched with Pavarotti's operatic tenor is just perfection.

AS: 19. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan - Tere Mast Mast Do Nayan
If there is one voice that I have grown to love, it has to be the voice of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. I heard him for the first time when he sang “Mann ki Lagan” and I knew I was addicted. This track from Dabangg is my all-time favourite Rahat number.

MJ: I'll not go with the Rahat Fateh Ali Khan angle on this. I'll go with Salman Khan and how he's had some fantastic songs in his movies...throughout his career. From Dabangg, my favourite song was "Chori Kiya Re Jiya". Sung by Shreya Ghoshal and Sonu Nigam, this song is absolutely astounding  for one reason...and that reason is Sonu Nigam! Don't get me wrong...Shreya Ghoshal is pretty damn awesome...but the things that Sonu Nigam does with his voice in this song...are just flawless! I think this is the best I've heard him sound on any song.

AS: 20. Shankar Mahadevan - O Sahiba
Shankar Mahadevan has to be India’s finest singer but surprisingly one of his very best songs never became a true hit. O Sahiba shows Shankar’s amazing versatility. It’s music that you could almost pray to. Strange are the ways of public opinion.

MJ: In last episode, I spoke about a song from the soundtrack of Balgandharva and how I truly believe that it has been the single greatest soundtrack for any Indian movie in the longest possible time. I shall stand by that statement and give you further proof. Kaushal Inamdar got Shankar Mahadevan to come on and sing a song for the soundtrack. The song is brilliant not just because Shankarji sang it...but more so because of the little bit that Anand Bhate does at the start and end of the song. It takes the song to a completely different level!
I believe that Shankarji has one of the greatest voices in Bollywood...but I honestly believe that Anand Bhate has one of the greatest voices that I have ever heard...anywhere in the world! Listen to the song and you'll know what I mean.

AS: 21. Jagjit Singh - Hey Govind, Hey Gopal
Jagjit Singh’s voice had that perfect husky tone that lent itself to ghazals but sounded even more amazing when he sang bhajans. This has to be one of the most melodious bhajans ever. Whenever I’m down, this is the track that I turn to.
MJ: The first time I met Jagjitji was in 2007 when, for a short while, I was working with EMI Music. That year, he released an album called "Karuna" with EMI and I had a chance to go to the studio where he was recording this album and I got to see how he went about his work. When I heard him sing this next song in front of me, I knew I was in the presence of someone truly special.
I so agree...that when he sang bhajans, he sounded even more amazing...if such a thing is even possible.

AS: 22. Antonio Vivaldi - Concerto for Two Mandolins in G Major
I would never have begun to appreciate Baroque music had it not been for Vivaldi. At first, I thought that I loved The Four Seasons. The love-affair was short-lived. When I heard his mandolin concertos I was hooked.

MJ: This is another area of music that I've not really gotten into...but the way I see it, I have a lot more time and the openness to eventually get into it. Right now I think I've heard more classical music through Tom and Jerry and old English movies (30s-60s Hollywood - my FAVOURITE time in movies) than I have in any other form. I intend to change that in the years to come but for now, I don't think I can really give a really good response song/piece to this song. 

AS: 23. Sanjeev Abhyankar, Ashwini Bhide etc. - Soham
The most hypnotic and enchanting meditative track ever. I listened to this composition repeatedly while I was writing my last book. It transported me back thousands of years to a land of spiritual purity.

Soham by Jagjit Singh, Sanjeev Abhyankar, Ashwini Bhide, Anuradha Paudwal, Uday Bhawalkar etc. on Grooveshark
MJ: Absolutely beautiful! What a way to end the show. Thank you so much for these fantastic songs. Everything from rock n roll to bhajans to music that you can meditate with. Truly a diverse and fascinating list of songs. :)
Let's do this again whenever you feel like sharing some more songs with me and my readers here.
And I wish you all the very best for your new book. I'll be picking up a copy for sure. :)
See you around Ashwin! :)

And YOU! Yeah I'm talking to you! Y U NO talk to me? :)
Let me know what you think about the songs on: https://www.facebook.com/mihirjoshipage 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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