I *heart* Bombay (and well..Boston)

I'm urban..in the way other people are mountain-people or tunafish junkies. I love city life...something about dreary concrete blocks and grumpy people totally gets my juices flowing. Ergo, this will be a blog about me, my two favourite cities (Bombay and Boston), my addiction to Vietnamese coffee and my views on Gregorian chant and it's efficacy in curing some types of tympannic membrane rupture. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Tastes vary, don't they?

I was talking to a blog reader (Should I say friend? But I don't really know him well enough for that!) and he was commenting on the fact that he hadn't heard of any of the bands/people on my music list in my profile. Apparently, he even tried looking for them on KaZaa and I-Mesh and couldn't find any (Though he did find lots and lots of porn...I think he's going to be MIA for a while now). Which led me to wonder...does a person who doesn't like the conventional (in music and otherwise) stand a chance of surviving in Bombay unless he's willing to be alone in his tastes and choices (ooh! The sub-text here is killing me!)?

Here's some of the musical genres I enjoy and almost exclusively listen to. I would recommend any (if not all of them) to anyone. Who knows you actually might like them. I know I've gotten a few friends in Boston addicted to Arabic music while I was there and M. loves the Russian folk I got him listening to...

1. Fado: Fado is the language of love, loss and longing. To hear a fadista sing of her love lost on a fishing trip to the Azores and how she's doomed to die longing for his embraces is mindblowing. I just close my eyes, imagine I'm on a beach somewhere on the Algrave, turn on some Amalia and relax. I don't speak Portuguese but the sounds, the pain, the music, the long drawn out sighs just put you in that frame of mind. The best Fado is in the Coimbra dialect of north-central Portugal. Among my favourites are "Povo que lavas no rio" and "Barco negro". As for fadistas? There's only ONE! Amalia Rodrigues...Somente Amalia!

2. Scando-folk: Specifically Finnish folk. Ever since I heard Varttina sing "Pihi Neito" in that rapid-fire stacatto method of Karelian Finno-Ugric folk, I have been addicted to this brand of music. I ended up buying everyone of their CDs (and they have been quite prolific), and ended up having the biggest crush on Sirpa Reiman and Sari Kaasinen when I saw them perform live in NYC (Bjork and Varttina on the same bill, I almost creamed my pants in excitement!). My favourite part about singing all my favourite Finnish songs is not the fact that I can actually sing in Finnish, it's that in translation the words are just super-funny coming out of an Indian mouth. Recommended albums? Vihma and Seleniko.

3. German hiphop: Thank you D. for introducing me to the genre after your trip to Stuttgart. My previous exposure to German music was Nena, Falco and Rammstein. Now I have Fettes Brot, Die Fantastichen Vier and EAV to enjoy and love. German sounds gross when you speak it, sounds worse when you sing it (Wagner's Parsifal is a pain on the ears to listen to). But it IS the language of hiphop. Somehow even those crazy 300 syllable words ("Herzkreislaufwiederbelebung" and "Geschwendigkeitsbegrenzung") have a rhyme when you rap them..and Das Tobi und Das Bo are the best at doing that. Recommended songs? M.F.G and Nordisch bei Nature.

4. Arabic pop: Blogged about previously here.

5. Negro spirituals: I. introduced these to me when we were dating. I remember having heard the songs but I had never ever heard them the way they were meant to be sung. He made me a mix tape of singers from the 1920's onwards singing the most unbelievable beautiful hymns and songs (some were actually more protest songs than hymns). Big Mama Thornton, Mahalia Jackson, Marion Anderson...so many names, so many soaring, hope-filled, devoted voices. I have yet to hear more passion for G-d than in the voices of the ol'time religion singers. My favourite spirituals have got to be any version of "Amazing Grace"(including an unbelievable version by Ani diFranco) and "Lily of the Valley".

6. Polynesian: I first heard some Micronesian singers perform at a street fair in Boston and was blown away at how foot-tapping their music was. I just had to find some of that kind and so headed out to Harvard Square to my favourite used music store where I was sure they'd have some. Sure enough I found the music of Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole along with some awesome Polynesian bands. While Israel "Iz" sings more contemporary songs in English and Hawaiian, the other groups sing in various Polynesian languages. Recommended songs? "Pate Pate" and "Ika Ika". (I can sing Pate Pate LOL! Got the lyrics of a friend of mine from Guam)

7. Russian (Slavic): Blogged about previously here.

8. Eastern Orthodox liturgial: Seeing as I'm almost Slavic with my depression, my love for pierozhki and vodka and my propensity for falling in love with Slavs, the logical thing to do would be to start visiting the Ortho churches in Boston and Watertown. Where I discovered Church Slavonic and the awesome music. To hear and watch the bearded priests (looking very Old Testament like in their finery) sing the "Kyrie Eleison" and watch the congregation perform some very painful looking genuflections during the "Gospodi Pomily" is indeed mindblowing. Recommend the Metropolitian Choir of Kiev for some fine masses.

There are so many more genres I love but haven't written about...Borscht belt Yiddish (The Barry Sisters bei mir bist das schoen!!), Greek pop (Despina Vandi and Anna Vissi), Italian saccharine-sweet pop (Eros Ramazotti, Paolo Conti), Carnatic fusion (The soundtrack to Morning Raga).

My hope is to host a radio show with samples of these genres on Bombay's FM. Have proposed the idea to Magic and Go. Let's see if they think people in Bombay are ready to expand their horizons beyond "Neal and Nikki" and "Kajra Re".

Current Music:

I'm just trying to say this German word out. It means Beef Labelling Oversight Transit Law.


  • At 11:33 PM, Blogger roswitha said…

    ... but, won't someone think of the Simpson sisters?

    (I hope it's not you, anyway. Lovely post. Churrs.)

  • At 11:41 PM, Blogger roswitha said…

    Oh and - since double-commenting is my vice of choice today - if you like Carnatic fusion, have you heard Susheela Raman? She has a lovely voice. I could send you a couple of her songs if you like. Bob sent me your e-mail address. (She asked if I wanted your phone number, but I told her she need not be indelicate.)

  • At 12:16 AM, Blogger Vikster said…

    I love Susheela Raman, Her Shri Ganapati song is so awesome as is her Saraswati Vandana...

    You need not call...we haven't been introduced yet. As Bree van de Kamp would say "Don't be indelicate young lady!"

  • At 12:27 AM, Blogger roswitha said…

    I have made it so that I cannot call.

    Have you heard her album Salt Rain?

  • At 1:18 AM, Blogger kate said…

    *stands back to watch the beautiful moment she has just created*

  • At 1:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    arabian pop is nice
    russian ???
    i strongly suggest some more stuff from the region
    primarily romanian.

    maybe you should also try out japanese rock bands or maybe prog rock....
    not to mention a band called los famuloso caddillacs....


  • At 2:47 AM, Blogger F-cubed said…

    Unless you are with the EU Customs Department why the hell would you even WANT to say that word??

    As far as German music is concerned I tend to be extremly partial towards Xavier Naidoo.
    Great Music, Desi looks, and hot as HELL. In his own words "Du bist nicht von diese welt"


  • At 2:56 AM, Blogger anydamnguy said…

    i like Bree Van de Kamp. And his son too.
    And everybody checkout Robert Pattinson.

  • At 2:58 AM, Blogger anydamnguy said…

    here u go Cedric

  • At 3:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    FINALLY someone realised Bree's a HE!! :)
    Nice post.. would love hearing all that music some day..


  • At 3:40 AM, Blogger shyam said…

    For the unconventional there is always Bittorrent. Of course, you do need to know your way around the trackers and have a nose for the new ones since the quality ones almost always ends up being private before soon. There is such a wealth of rare stuff there, once I ended up burning a CD full of piano sheet music, for a friend who is a great fan, which is either prohibitively expensive or unavailable here.

    I've listened to too much crazy shit in my time to remember most of them and now I hove somewhere in the region of electro breaks, trance, house and hard house, which is thankfully much easier to dig up. I've lost the CD, otherwise you should listen to (very commerical though) the MOS Clubber's Guide to Berlin 2005 CD, typical German electro house/dance/techno - sexy, dark and moody.

  • At 3:55 AM, Blogger Vikster said…

    Ros: Indeed I have heard Salt Rain..I even own the CD...

    KateBob: You evil evil house elf!

    Saty: What's the best Romanian band/singer? I have tons of Hungarian (Marta Sebestyen) and Bulgarian (les mysteres des voix bulgares) but no Romanian..

    F-cubed: I agree about Xavier Naidoo..how hot is he!

    Anydamnguy: Bree is a woman....and Cedric Digory is too chocolate-boy for my tastes..sorta like Jugal Hansraj!

    Rohan: You will someday ;-)

    Codey: I try hard to enjoy techno/electirc house...but since I don't do E or acid, I find it very hard to listen to the Euro trancey stuff..I can't listen to that when I'm drunk. When I drink, I slip on some fado or mando (or some Saozinha..she's from Cabo Verde...listen to the song called O Mal de Amor)

  • At 5:15 AM, Anonymous samu said…

    ....and I like Klingon opera.

  • At 5:23 AM, Blogger karuna said…

    I've always wondered what German music would sound like... now i know :)
    Kinda like i expected but if you have any non rap suggestions i'm interested.

  • At 5:27 AM, Blogger Vikster said…

    Karuna: Try some German techno? It's pretty hard stuff though. German "pop" is prety non-existent. Sabrina Setlur and Xavier Naidoo (both of Indian origin) have some poppy rap stuff..How about Nena and Falco (or EAV) if you like sorta 80's pop sounds?

  • At 6:18 AM, Blogger shyam said…

    I don't do E or acid or abuse any other substance, nicotine and alcohol being the only exceptions for now. There is a great misconception that you need to do dope to enjoy trancey stuff. Euro trance/dance is kind of boring though a well done synth progression is heaven for all the senses at times.

  • At 7:50 AM, Blogger livinghigh said…

    hmmmm. yes, definitely unconventional. and there i like to think I'm the one who lives high! lol. just... drifting along these days. quite sad, really.

  • At 9:19 AM, Blogger a guppie said…

    very condescending ! have read a little u know

  • At 7:18 PM, Anonymous veed said…

    xavier naidoo!?
    hes currently at #2 in the german singles chart .. with madonna at #1 and melanie c at #3
    ... *imagines being sandwiched between madonna and melanie c* .. :o

  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger anydamnguy said…

    i know bree from desp hwives. i like that character. nothing else.

  • At 10:03 PM, Blogger roswitha said…

    Haha, Bob displays her Wildeishness! You'll be asking Vikster if he smokes next, won't you? Because a man needs an occupation.

    Ros 'They-call-me-Gwendolen-at-the-garden-party' witha.

  • At 10:12 AM, Blogger Toni said…

    Wow, what a verbose musical likeness review. I too listen to a broad range of music, but could never categorize it as such. Mostly just listen to songs, and download the ones I like. Email me something. Arabic pop sounds good :)

  • At 11:36 PM, Blogger anydamnguy said…

    toni:try music by outlandish

  • At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    for starter romanians
    try ozone pop but i love em
    for hardcore romena .. try and search for romanian gypsy music..
    sounds very good



  • At 12:01 AM, Blogger Saathiya said…

    Hey, I know what you mean. All my friends have no idea what I am talking about when it comes to music ...mostly because I am into world music and they all listen to primarily American stuff.

    Amr Diab is one of my favourites, although I only recently got onto the Arabic music thing. Other than that I have been getting into all kinds of Indian (though over here it is pretty tough to get your hands on anything but Bollywood), Algerian, African, Ukrainian, and anything else I come across. Lately I have been thinking about looking into the Brazilian music industry.

    Anyway, great blog.

  • At 3:04 AM, Blogger aristera says said…

    too high brow for me!

  • At 10:39 AM, Blogger Geetanjali said…

    My god - are you burning CDs for ppl willing to learn? *smiles sweetly* The only name I recognised was Susheela Raman - and boy is she good! Love her Salt Rain!

  • At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    we dont need no education!!!!!!!!!!


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