The Turntable
  • Bengalis take pride in three names -- Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray and now Sourav Ganguly -- and these are the ones who often come to the Bhodralok's rescue when they're cornered in pseudo-intellectual debate.

    My dad, being a proud Bengali, wanted his sons to absorb as much of Tagore and Ray, but as luck would have it none of his sons showed much interest in them.

    However, being a subservient son has its own perils and the price I had to pay was life-threatening for, as a ten-year-old kid, I was asked to watch Pather Panchali with my dad repeatedly lecturing that the masterpiece was not about poverty, but human bonds. I could not relate to what he was saying; the film had no fights, no dhishoom-dhishoom, no songs and tough to interpret for a juvenile brain.

    I cursed my dad that day for making me sit through the movie and despite being told that it was not about a bunch of hapless souls, all I could fathom was black and white images of hunger and suffering. This experience of

    Read More »from A ‘Ray’ of light in post colonial darkness
  • Visitors to Van Wilks' home in deep South Austin, Texas, are arrested by the sign "Welcome to Guitarland." In a state teeming with A-list guitarists, that sign packs quite a statement. And Wilks' claim to that heavyweight list is more than justified. None less than another distinguished Texan, ZZTop's acclaimed guitarist Billy Gibbons, tipped his hat to Wilks' electrifying talent. In Texas, where Wilks is reputed as a player of uncommon depth, he has been voted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. He also took home two Austin Music Awards at SXSW 2009 and was voted Best Electric Guitarist and Best Acoustic Guitarist, a rare double win, in The Austin Chronicle's annual Music Poll.

    Van Wilks has performed with Willie Nelson on the Geezinslaw Brothers' The Eclectic Horseman and with Eric Johnson on the Texas Christmas Collection. "I don't have any choice, playing guitar is a natural extension of my soul," muses Wilks ahead of his first-ever concert in India.

    Van Wilks Band is one of the

    Read More »from Van Wilks welcomes you to Guitarland!
  • I did once make a promise not to write on music greats but sometimes trawling the net can make you do things that you promised not to do. So looking up Kurt Cobain on his death anniversary threw up some strange results that ranged from his statue being unveiled to a video of some kid singing the famed 'Rape me' song but none on the genius or his life. Appalling, sometimes I feel libraries with racks of magazines and books are better than the infinite repository of information called the Internet.

    This piece comes a bit too late as April 5 marked the 18th anniversary of the death of the enigmatic Kurt Cobain.

    I can vividly picture the day I was introduced to Nirvana by a friend of mine. After school, we had a habit of exchanging comics, books and even music  - when this friend of mine came up to me and said 'Man,you got to listen to this, this will blow your mind' and handed me a copy of Nirvana's Nevermind.

    I headed home, excited, not knowing what to expect and checked if my parents

    Read More »from In memoriam: Kurt Cobain
  • Bobby Whitlock with CoCo CarmelMusic aficionados who trace Eric Clapton's career before he shone as a solo star argue that there has never been a better Clapton than the maverick of Derek and the Dominos. Those are the very loyalists who will raise a glass of whatever they are swilling at the mention of Bobby Whitlock. Yet, despite his monumental contribution to the making of "Layla", the singular hit that looped the lives of Clapton and that late great Beatle George Harrison around common love interest Pattie Boyd, Whitlock himself did not become much of a household name. On the turntables of the faithful, however, he played on. He continued to anchor Clapton, assisting with writing memorable songs such as "Tell the Truth", "Keep on Growing", " I Looked Away", "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad" and "Roll It Over".

    Whitlock joined Clapton after parting ways with Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. Their profuse talents coalesced in Derek and the Dominos, a band where Eric was Derek and everyone else answered to nutty

    Read More »from Drugs and alcohol never did any good for anyone’s music: Bobby Whitlock
  • The Great Indian Jailhouse Rock

    On 21st December 2011, a Delhi based rock band performed a co-concert with the in-house talent at Tihar Jail in Delhi for over two hours. This was the result of a workshop at Tihar with members of the band, Menwhopause and the musical talent of the inmates. This was a first for both Tihar and rock bands in India.Yahoo in an email conversation with members of the band on what has been a life-affirming experience. Here's a look.

    Transcript of email Q & A with Menwhopause

    Q: So what's is the  music room in Tihar like?

    MWP : There are instruments. And there's a curtain to hide the bars.

    Q: Tell us a bit about the in-house talent you found in Tihar?

    MWP: They are people like us. People with ideas and songs. People with nothing left to lose.

    Q: So we take it, you'd gone in to perform there and out came the idea to work with the inmates? How did that happen?

    MWP: Tihar officials have been super supportive. They let us go about it however we wanted it to. Singing our songs would have been

    Read More »from The Great Indian Jailhouse Rock
  • I am terribly old-fashioned when it comes to Christmas. I tend to listen to a lot of new age stuff, but essentially Christmas music for me spells Dean, Bing and Frank.

    You can never, ever go wrong with Frank Sinatra's album A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra or the Rat Pack Christmas album or Bing Crosby's White Christmas — what can I say? It's timeless and was always a holiday staple in my house. Dean Martin's 'A Winter Romance'. I know these are cliché but it's truly charming and wonderful, and they choke me up every time.

    My Christmas go-tos also include Harry Connick, The Muppet's "The Christmas Wish", Nat King Cole, The Christmas Song, John Lennon, Billy Squier, WHAM also make their traditional presence known.

    Acapella with Straight No Chaser is brilliant as much as acapella can be brilliant. And of course, you can't have Christmas without the Charlie Brown Album or An Elvis Christmas.

    There's a little frame during which you can relish Christmas music, at least without people

    Read More »from ‘Tis the Season to Play It Out

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