Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


The only thing the Little Tramp wanted was a little smile on her face… He smiled at her and so did she… Together they walked hand in hand, down a road at dawn, towards an uncertain future of new hope as the music ‘Smile’ flowed in the background. This is the climax of Charlie Chaplin film ‘Modern Times’. ‘Smile’ is a musical composition by Chaplin himself. My curiosity made me do a bit of research on this violin piece and happen to get a lot of surprises. A simple search to know about the versions of this song put me in an endless loop. My hunt for ‘smile’ made me fill my computer screen with countless ‘smiles’. In an hour I could find almost two hundred plus versions by various singers and I had to end the search… For a moment I saw the ghost of Chaplin smiling at me standing right in front of me. Can’t explain the feeling in the blog. I had to smile back… out of all my tensions. Chaplin was always been a role model whom I truly envy. I wish I could bring such smiles. Sigh! Well…Chaplin is Chaplin…and that is a film and not reality.

Smile, though your heart is aching,
Smile, even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky,
you'll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through
for you.
Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near,
That's the time you must keep on trying,
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile,
If you just smile.

I strongly believe that there was, is and will be only one brand called Charlie Chaplin. Sure, no one can be 100% in anything, but he did prove that there is a rank for being 99.99%. Who is this man? Where does he come from? Where did he go? And why? I have no answers… I am speechless each time I hear something new about him. How could he make people so happy?
The Chaplin’s version of ‘Smile’ was an instrumental piece that came out with ‘Modern Times’, in the year 1936. Later in 1954, John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added the lyrics and it was sung by Nat King Cole. Since then, till date ‘Smile’ has had many versions, I leave you to explore. I had to quit….
‘Smile’ was also said to be Michael Jackson’s favourite… Michael Jackson recorded the song for his 1995 double album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. After his death in June 2009, the song charted due to legal digital download sales.

This is a sample list of others who sang it… well this is just some of the names I could search…… I had to quit…..
Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Natalie Cole, Michael Bolton, Barbra Streisand, Skeeter Davis, Judy Garland, Diana Ross, The Lettermen, Eric Clapton, Betty Everett and Jerry Butler, Timi Yuro, Holly Cole, Elvis Costello, Lyle Lovett, Julia Migenes, Steve Howe & Martin Taylor, Dalida, Michael Jackson, Michael BublĂ©, Maria Friedman, Petula Clark, Djavan, Sun Ra, Robert Downey Jr., Ray Quinn, Tony Bennett, Janelle Monae, Russell Watson, Josh Groban, Jimmy Durante, Barbi Benton, David Whitfield, Westlife, Harry Connick Jr., Charice, Nydia Rojas, Madeleine Peyroux, Harry Connick Jr, The Fureys, Charice Pempengco, Chris Botti, Ingmar Nordstrom, John Barry, Diana Ross, The Savage Rose, Chris Walden, Petula Clark, Hanne Boel, Ray Quinn, Roger Whittaker, Michael Bolton, Timi Yuro, Tony Bennett, Judy Garland, Rickie Lee Jones, Frank Pourcel, Manfred Junker, Lena Maria, Pierre Boussaguet, Palle Mikkelborg, Trijntji Oosterhuis, Jimmy Durante, Nana Mouskouri, Trini Lopez, Cyd Sharice, Chiquita, Ruby Murray, Sun Ra, Elvis Costello, Martin Nievera, Staffan William-Olsson, Tune Robbers,Holy Cole, Steve Brookstein, Sandie Shaw, Pearl Django, Linda Eder, Lucia Micarelli, Russell Watson, Ruth Brown, Joe Longthrone, Jimmy Scott, Sammy Davis Jr, Long John Baldry, Petula Clark, Tony O'Malley, Peggy lee, Spirit, Judy Garland, Amalia Gre', Amy Dickson, Atlantic Five Jazz Band, Johnny Mathis, Lisa Dawn Miller, Grace Kelly, Steve Tyrell, Jerome Jackson, David Whitfield, Danny La Rue, Lita Roza, Jacqueline Francois, All'Amore Ensemble, Simon Schott………..
Let's SMILE :)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Aerial Boundaries

"I try to live my life like I play my guitar" said Hedges, "asking, 'what happens if I press this?' I'm always pushing the boundaries of comfort."

While studying in MCC, in the year 2004, my friend Amit gave a music album called Miracles that was a collection of musical masterpieces by various composers around the world.

The music piece that immediately caught my attention was ‘Aerial Boundaries’ by American composer and acoustic guitarist Michael Hedges from Oklahoma. Since then I don’t think I have had a day in my life without listening to it. Slapping and plucking of strings or percussive slapping on the guitar body gives a totally different feel, which I guess is quite unique of Hedges. Except an ear for music I have no commendable knowledge of music, so I am not talking much on this. But acoustic guitar always remained a love and thus the songs based on it.

‘Aerial Boundaries’ always takes me to many mountain peaks and heights I keep imagining in life and the richness of my solitude. I often have dreams of rich green mountains touching clouds. Listening to it makes me experience the same, the touch of clouds and smell of raw and chill wind. I was reading about Michael Hedges today. Sorry to realize that he passed away at the age of 43 in late 1997, in a car accident. He was driving home from San Francisco after a Thanksgiving visit to his girlfriend in Long Island, New York. His body was found a few days afterward. The very next year 1998, his record Oracle won the Grammy Award for Best New Age Album. Hedges was able to let go of attachments and live the life of a true travelling troubadour, with a little Zen in his pocket says John Beaudin in an essay about him.

Michael Hedges was also a multi-instrumentalist, playing piano, percussion, tin whistle, harmonica, and flute, among others on his albums. Some of the techniques he used include slap harmonics created by slapping the strings over a harmonic node, use of right hand hammer-ons particularly on bass notes, percussive slapping on the guitar body etc. He also made extensive use of string dampening as employed in classical guitar, and was known to insist strongly on the precise duration of sounds and silences in his pieces. He also played guitar-variants like the harp guitar and the Trans-Trem Guitar.

My impatience definitely didn’t let me grab any knowledge of guitar, though I have tried learing it many times. There was always been a guitar in my room for no specific reason but as a showpiece. I remember that silver coloured one I had in mcc that was taken by hall friends for Saarang festival at IIT. I have no clue, where it had gone later, but sure it was there in Heber Chapel for one more year. Yesterday at Skimstone studio, my friend Peter gave me his old guitar, that I am now thinking of getting repaired… Don’t know what is its fate…

Friday, May 07, 2010

My Lost pAges

Introduce you to a new blog page that is short book I have written during my college days in in MCC. I thought I won't wait for publishing it but share it with those who like to read some real crap. :)

‘My Lost pAges’ is about a writer’s lost ages through his pages. It is a postmodern fiction without any conventional form or structure. It has neither a start nor an end. The structure is as of a book that can be read from any page - start to end, reverse or from any pages you wish to start with. Sincerely that is exactly the way that I have read all the books in my life. My favorite writer is Paulo Coelho. To be honest with you, I have not finished reading any of his books except The Alchemist.

I am not a writer in any weird sense, but in this write-up I am imagining myself as a great writer. ‘My Lost Pages’ are the pages this writer, lost from many of his personal notes as well as other works. Hence there are a lot of factual and fictional references.

There is no big thought process or targets while writing it, except the fact that I was writing with a fever of almost a 100 degrees and was unable to go out anywhere else from the room for three days. It was written during those days in the year 2004, in some alien mood that I can’t express now. Till today I’m unsuccessful to get the same mood to frame an extra page to My Lost pAges.

I’m dedicating this work to my family, 18 freaks of M.A Communication, Hexaware friends and that special someone who is my alter ego for past few years in pain and gain, whom I have never met in my life but known only through her voice and support.