Tag Archives: Bangalore

Coke Studio at MTV – Songs For Sale and Minicert Review

If you hadn’t already heard, the songs from the Coke Studio India are up for sale.

iTunes US     iTunes UK     iTune Canada     Flipkart

If you want to check out reviews before buying, your best bet is probably Music Aloud. After my (ahem, hugely popular) post supporting by Coke Studio, I have been a passive, disengaged spectator. I still support the program but I think it needs to produce at least one truly magical song for it to deliver on its promise. I am still waiting for that song.

On a separate note, I went for the Coke Studio Minicert gig at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore. The lineup was interesting – Tochi Raina, Mathangi Rajashekhar, Sanjeev Thomas and Papon – and the music was good for the most part. Leslie Lewis made a surprise appearance for the last song.

Tochi Raina sang a couple of songs and disappeared for the rest of the show. Mathangi sang really well, but as a friend commented, her Carnatic parts did not register. May have been the acoustics of the place. Sanjeev Thomas was mercurial. He got the only encore for the night but also missed his cue and had to be rescued by Mathangi. Papon, for me, was the find of the evening. He is young, lights up the stage and a brilliant singer. He was equally good singing Assamese folk and backing up Mathangi with semi-classical vocals.

A good show overall, BUT, before you buy the ticket for the minicert in your city, I recommend you find out what it will buy you. In this particular gig, the main space for the audience was off-limits for us. It looked like this space was reserved for the event sponsors. It would have been nice if HRC has told us about this beforehand. Instead they took our money, and made us feel like we were gate-crashing the party – not cool.

And before I forget – Did you know that the songs from the Pakistani edition of Coke Studio (Season 2 and 3) were available on iTunes? I found out only recently.

Season 2 – iTunes US     iTunes UK     iTunes Canada
Season 3 – iTunes US     iTunes UK     iTunes Canada

[Correction, Aug 23: It’s Sanjeev Thomas, not Sanjay Thomas.]


Of A.R. Rahman Concerts And Concert Venues

I attended my third A.R. Rahman concert yesterday at the Palace Grounds in Bangalore. Two things were very different this time – two things that made this show the most unremarkable of the three.

The Concert

My best Rahman concert was back in the winter of 2004-2005 in Cow Palace, Oakland. The warm and fuzzy feeling I have about this concert may be because it was my first Rahman concert but leaving that bias aside, the evening was magical for me because the who’s who of Indian music was on the stage – Shankar Mahadevan, Sukhwinder Singh, Sonu Nigam, Hariharan, SP Balasubramaniam, Sadhna Sargam and of course, A.R Rahman.  ARR sang maybe a couple of songs but his rendition of “Vellai Pookal” that night remains etched in my memory. Even my second concert – at Sears Center, Chicago – was pretty enjoyable. Rahman’s reportoire was larger, he looked more self-assured on the stage and performed more songs but he was again accompanied a bunch of awesome singers – Sukhwinder Singh, Hariharan, Naresh Iyer, Chitra, Blaaze, Madhushree and Sadhna Sargam.

Unfortunately, the concert yesterday had a little too much of ARR (there, I said it!) and a little too less of really good, accomplished singers (and ARR is not that). Except for Javed Ali and Vijay Prakash, the other singers disappointed.

The Venue

This post is already sounding like a rant so let me just list a few things that made Palace Grounds’ logistics less than optimal:

  1. Parking charge of Rs 100/- on a Rs 5000/- ticket? They might as well include the cost of parking in the ticket and make it easier for people to get into the venue.
  2. Parking the car was pretty easy but getting out was chaotic. There was no one around to guide people out, no lanes were marked and I witnessed a few cross-country races as people found weird exit routes across open fields, around trees and on road shoulders.
  3. Depending on the ticket cost, some of us had food coupons. “Food” consisted of a can of drink, a bag of chips and the entrée (drum roll) a crumbled-up sandwich thrown in a plastic bag. Thankfully we had packed curd rice for the kids. My wife sustained herself on chips and popcorn. I dined on a guava after I got back home. Note to organizers – I know its tough organizing food for so many people. Why bother? Just let people know so they can pack their food.

My rants aside, I know I will attend any ARR concert that comes to town. He got it right two times out of three. Pretty good odds.

PS: Here is the list of songs. The ones in bold were ones that I really enjoyed. I may have missed a song or two when I went to get the food bag.

Tere Bina (Guru) ARR

Dil Se (Dil Se) ARR

Tanha Tanha (Rangeela)

Daud (Daud) Remo

Ni Mai Samajh Gayi (Taal)

Rang De Basanti (Rang De Basanti)

Masakali (Delhi-6) Vijay Prakash

Gurus of Peace/Chanda Suraj Lakhon Taare (Vande Mataram) ARR

Yeh Jo Desh Hai Tera (Swades) ARR

Chhodo More Baiyyan (Zubeida)

Genda Phool (Delhi-6)

Hosanna (Vinnathandi Varuvaya) Vijay Prakash

Jaane Tu Meri Kya Hai (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na) Javed Ali

Luka Chuppi (Rang De Basanti) ARR (And recorded Lata!)

Tu Muskura (Yuvvraj) Shweta Pandit, Vijay Prakash

Anjaana Anjaani (Yuva) ARR

Medley – Meherbaan (ADA) – Rehna Tu (Delhi-6)- Jage Hain (Guru) – Ishq Bina (Taal) ARR

Violin instrumental – Mary Anne

Medley – Chikku Bukku (Gentleman) – Petta Rap (Kathalan)

Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire) ARR

Medley – Arziyaan (Delhi-6) – Khwaaja Mere Khwaja (Jodha Akbar) ARR / Javed Ali

Kahin To Hogi (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na)

Mukabala (Kathalan)

Thok De Khilli (Guru)

Humma Humma (Bombay) Remo

Irumbile Oru Idhayam (Enthiran) ARR

Roobaroo (Rang De Basanti) ARR

Vande Mataram (Vande Mataram) ARR

[Update May 31 – The violinist was Mary Anne according to TOI. Not Vanessa Mae – my Google guess.]

Music Wants To Be Free

Pirates (distributors and consumers) often invoke Stewart Brands’ iconic phrase “Information wants to be free” to justify piracy. In a recent discussion with a friend, I argued that Brand used this powerful phrase to suggest that information should be easily available to everybody, not that it should be available free of cost. My friend’s counter-argument was that in India’s context, availability was truly an issue. He told me about how he ended up buying a pirated DVD because the original was not available. He did buy the official DVD when it was eventually released but it was evident that he didn’t really feel obliged to.

While I advocate purchase of legal music, I am unable to find fault with people who are driven to pirated goods in cases like this. I can totally relate with them.

  1. Some time ago I wrote about being unable to get hold of Raghu Dixit’s album. I haven’t listened to his music since then – poor quality internet streams are not my cup of tea.
  2. I ended up buying the music for the Tamil movie, Vinnathaandi Varuvaya, on the iTunes US store, because it was neither available in any physical store in Bangalore (I tried three different ones), nor in any internet store (I tried about a dozen). What was even more shocking? The music label that has the rights, Sony Music, does not even have an India site. Really Sony?! Is that how important the India market is to you? Because of your supply issues, I ended up paying for this album double of what it should have cost me in India. This for an album that had to be one of your bestsellers in 2010.

I know there are other people (like this) who jump through hoops to get legal music.

Music companies – get your act together. Stop whining about piracy and start making your content easily available to paying customers:

  1. Improve your supply of CDs as well as digital music. Even the pirates are doing better than you.
  2. Leverage the long tail. Stop focusing on only the ‘big hits’. The cost of digitizing and distributing music is incremental. Make everything available for download, even, scratch that, specially, the non-hits.
  3. Do a Hulu. Join together and make it easier for people to buy digital music. Google India has done a great job of aggregating streamed music. You can do the same for downloadable music. Don’t make us hop through all your websites to find music.
  4. Develop an India-specific distribution strategy with variable pricing. Don’t forget the bottom of the pyramid. Flood the market with the music equivalent of shampoo sachets – low bit-rate music on pen drives or phone chips. Peg it at a price point that makes downloading/distributing pirated music not worth the hassle.

Make “Music wants to be free” your motto. Or, watch musicians and movie producers bypass you and start self-publishing as you become irrelevant. Worse, watch pirates destroy your industry.

Bangalore’s Live Music Scene Making A Comeback

Bengaluru will not let go of the Rock Capital tag easily! Despite all that transpired in the city potentially spelling doom for music lovers, it appears that there is enough and more support going around.

Here ‘s a link to a blogpost  belonging to a local rising artist, Fidel Dsouza, who he talks about the new kids on the block pitching in to recreate the city’s magic.

Good thing he also works for Mavrix!