Friday, December 18, 2009

Indian Karaoke Music

Indian Karaoke music is quite popular among Indian people. And why only Indian people? It has also got a massive fan following in many other parts of the world. Hindi karaoke songs have been in existence since long and they form an important part of Indian music history. Indian karaoke songs came to the limelight during the decade of the eighties. It was no less than a revolution that completely changed the musical landscape of the country. Earlier, it was more of classical songs based culture that took a definite turn with advent of karaoke music. One distinct element of Hindi karaoke songs is clear influence of Indian folk music. Indian music thrives on different folk traditions and most of them have been used in the mainstream music. This has proved beneficial to both the popularity of folk music as well as karaoke.

Hindi karaoke songs have also been extensively used in Hindi films. The Indian beats have been greatly used with western genres like Hip-Hop and Rap and the output of music comes simply great. Punjabi sounds in particular have been extensively used in music. True fan of Hindi karaoke music must be aware of historical equipment widely used in these songs. The common instruments being used are, Rabab, Kartal, Naggada, Nal, Daf, Dholak, Ektar, Saringda, Santur, Bansuri, Chimpta, Pung, Magadi Vina, and Shankh. These are the traditional instruments and yet they have gained massive recognition in the advanced musical tradition. All in all, the growing popularity of Hindi karaoke music proves that it is here to stay and flourish.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Famous Songs by Mukesh

Indian music industry has produced several jewels. One of shining names in the glorious list of Hindi playback singers is Mukesh. His unique voice was enough to make an entire generation tune to his songs. He was the leading voice of many top class bollywood actors; foremost among them was showman Raj Kapoor. We are going to give you some of memorable songs sung by Mukesh in his heydays.

  • Itna Husn Pe Guroor
  • Pyar Ka Ye Mahurat
  • Dekh Sakte Nahi
  • Hindustan Hamara
  • Chaand Si Mehbooba Ho Meri
  • Bina Badra Ke Bijuria
  • Baharo Ne Kiya
  • Ek Hasrat Thi Ke
  • Ek Din Bik Jaayega
  • E-Dil-E Awara Chal
  • Jinhe Hum Bhulana Chahe
  • Main Aashique Hu Baharon Ka
  • Kisi Ki Muskarahato Pe
  • Dost Dost Na Raha
  • Jo Pyar Tumne
  • Chand Si Mehbooba
  • Meri Tamannaoki Taqdir
  • Taro Main Sajke
  • Kabhi Kabhi
  • Chand Ko Kya Maloom
  • Zuban Pe Dard Bhari
  • Jane Kahan Gaye Woh
  • Tauba Ye Matwali
  • Koi Jab Tumhara
  • Jane Chale Jaate
  • Laut Ke Aaja Mere Meet
  • Barkha Rani
  • Jo Tumko Ho Pasand
  • Chal Akela
  • Sajnwa Bairi Ho Gaye
  • Deewano Se Mat Poocho
  • Chand Ki Deewar
  • Do Phool Khile
  • Dheere Chalo
  • Aansoo Bhari Hain
  • Aawara Hoon
  • Baharoein Ne Mera Chaman Lootkar
  • Bhooli Hui Yaadoein
  • Bol Radha Bol Sangam Hoga Ke Nahi
  • Chod Gaye Baalam
  • Duniya Banane Wale
  • Haan Deewana Hoon Main
  • Hum Us Des Ke Vasi Hain
  • Hum Tumse Mohabbat Karke Sanam
  • Humne Apna Sab Kuch Khoya
  • Jaoon Kahan Bataye Dil
  • Jeena Yahan Marna Yahan
  • Jhoom Jhoom Ke Nacho Aaj
  • Jo Pyar Tune
  • Kisi Ki Muskurahaton Pe
  • Aa Laut Ke Aaja Mere Meet
  • Main Aashiq Hoon
  • Mujhko Yaro Maaf Karna
  • Mere Toote Hue Dil Se
  • Mujhe Tumse Kuch Bhi Na Chahiye
  • Mujhko Is Raat Ki Tanhayee Main
  • Sajan Re Jhoot Mat Bolo
  • Saranga Teri Yaad Mein
  • Teri Yaad Dil Se
  • Zindagi Khwaab Ha

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bhojpuri Songs

All the regions in India thrive on their songs in the native languages. India is a country with numerous languages and even more dialects. That explains why in India the culture of folk and tribal music has kept on thriving since centuries. One of the popular regional dialects is Bhojpuri which is basically a regional dialect of Hindi. Bhojpuri is spoken in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the Hindi heartlands of India. From the days of obscurity, Bhojpuri has traveled a long way. It has kept enhancing its popularity in recent times. Bhojpuri songs and movies have found their way into Bollywood as well. Little known Bhojpuri stars are getting good opportunities in Hindi movies as well.

Bhojpuri is a dialect of Hindi and is based on Devnagri script. The growing popularity of Bhojpuri songs has greatly encouraged the young talented folks from Hindi heartland to try their luck in Indian music industry. Bhojpuri songs are becoming popular across few countries as well. Nations like Fiji and Mauritius have large numbers of Bhojpuri speaking population and that explains why these songs are so popular across the boundaries.

Some of the notable singers of Bhojpuri songs are Manoj Tiwari, Sharda Sinha etc. The former one has reigned supreme in Bhojpuri music as well as film industry. He has also churned out several blockbuster albums. Sharda Sinha is a veteran in Bhojpuri music industry. She is hugely popular and has also sung for Hindi movies. One of the recent emergences is Guddu Rangila who has done some great works apart from making funny videos.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Anu Malik

Born on 2nd November, 1960, Anu Malik is the son of veteran music composer Sardar Malik. He is known for belting one hit after another in bollywood films. He has given long list of hit music in numerous Hindi movies. He is one of the few music directors from india who has worked in crossover films and his song has also been included in foreign movies. He has worked in Bride and Prejudice and his song ‘Chamma Chamma’ from the movie ‘China Gate’ was included in the famous English movie Moulin Rouge. Anu Malik Debuted in 1981 with a movie named Poonam. That was followed by some hit movies like ‘Sohni Mahiwal’, Mard, Jaal, Mujrim and Ganga Jamuna Saraswati. Yet he had to wait for some time before he could make it to big league.

Anu Malik’s moment of truth came in 1993 with the movie Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Ayee. That brought him huge success and recognition. This hit movie was further followed by several hits including Jaanam, Sir, and Baazigar. He had made it to the top league. He also experimented with different kind of music in movies like Border, Aks, Fiza, and Mujhe Kuch Kehena hai. He has also launched few private albums.

To his credit, Anu Malik has won several awards including The National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the film Refugee in 2001. He has also won Filmfare Best Music Director two times for Baazigar (1993) and Main Hoon Na (2004) and Baazigar (1993). He further got the Special Jury Award (Filmfare) for his outstanding contribution in music.

Some of his recent releases were Kambakkht ishq, Ugly Aur Pagli, Toonpur Ka Superhero, Victory, 7 Days in Slow Motion and Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ananda Shankar

Born on 11th December 1942 in the Almora, Uttar Pradesh, Ananda Shankar is renowned in the amazing world of Indian music. Music ran in his blood as can be made out from his relationship with legendary sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar. He was nephew of the great musician and his parents were Amala and Uday Shankar, famous classical dancers. What brought him fame was his expertise at mixing eastern music styles with western music. His popularity can be gauged from the fact that he worked with several great music personalities including Jimi Hendrix.

He learned instrument from Dr Lalmani Misra of Varanasi. He brought fame to country and himself when he started to travel to western countries in late 1960s. His first album was released in 1970. The album was success because of its unique mixture of Indian classical compositions and sitar based popular western hit songs. His return to India after the huge success of his first album saw him experimenting with music even more vigorously. His next album was ‘Ananda Shankar And His Music’ that again proved to be runaway hit both critically and commercially. The USP of his album was mixing the sounds of an array of instruments including guitar, table, drums, sitar, mridangam and moog synthesizers.

1990s witnessed a complete new avatar of Sharma’s music. His music became a big hit in nightclubs of London. He kept reinventing and experimenting with music and made tours to different countries. Ananda Sharma died on 26 March 1999 but his contribution will always be remembered.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Alka Yagnik

Indian music industry is blessed with several amazing musical talents. Different eras have given us numerous gems that have made public cry and laugh with them. The old generation still can’t think of any other singers than the likes of Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar or Mukesh etc. current generation has its own choices. But one singer who has continued to hold sway with her extremely melodious voice is Alka Yagnik. She is present in the industry for more than two decades and continues to enchant us with her wonderful voice.

Who can forget songs like Saanwariya Saanwariya, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Tumhi Dekho Na, Kuch to Hua Hai, Salaam, Pooch Rahe Hain, Mere Mehboob Mera Sanam, Ek Do Teen, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Hum Tum, Laal Dupatta, Oodhni, Tauba, Kitni Bechain Hoke, Jaana Kyon, Badi Mushkil, Dil Ne Yeh Kaha Dil Se, Mehndi Hai Rachnewali, Chand Chupa and Taal Se etc.

Alka Yagnik belongs to a family of musicians. She showed her talents at an early age and even sang Bhajans for the Calcutta Radio at a tender age of six years. She got her first break in the movie Payal Ki Jhankaar in 1979. But her real moment of truth came with blockbuster song ‘Ek Do Teen’ from the film Tezaab 1988. Since then she never looked back and kept giving one hit after another. She has also sung in several other languages like Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and Punjabi. Alka Yagnik has won several Filmfare Awards, National Film Awards, Zee Cine Awards, Star Screen Awards, International Indian Film Academy and MTV Asia Viewers Choice Award.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan

Born on April 14, 1922, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan is known as the one of the most accomplished Indian classical musicians. His fame was not restricted to India. He was a famous personality in western music world as well who helped in popularizing Indian classical music in the region. A Sarode wizard, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan had a knack of producing brilliant compositions. Many people termed him the "Indian Johann Sebastian Bach."

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was bron in East Bengal, the modern day Bangladesh. He belonged to a family of great musicians. His father was a legend in North Indian music he learnt basics of music from his father and uncle. Usatd learned several instruments but finally decided to focus on sarode and vocal. At the age of thirteen, he gave his first public performance. Ustad also worked as a court musician to the Maharaja of Jodhpur. Ustad has several performances to his credit in USA and UK. He also started Ali Akbar College of Music In Marin County, California.

Not many people know but Ustad Ali Akbar Khan also produced music in several films like Aandhiyan, Devi, House Holder, Little Buddha and Khudita Pashan. These movies were acclaimed on international level and made by legends like Satyajit Ray and Bernardo Bertolucci. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan also won Asian Paints Shiromani Award. After a prolonged illness, Ustad finally left us on June 19, 2009, in San Francisco (USA). He is survived by his wife Mary and eleven children.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reiki Music

Music decides our mood. We humans often love to be lost in the magic of music. Sometimes, we associate songs with different parts of our life and revel in nostalgia. Music is a source of memories, time and places. Even the worst of moods can be perked up with help of music. Reiki has become very popular in recent times. Many people have openly accepted the benefits of the art of Reiki. In that context, it is natural that Music is used in reiki. When you practice reiki, you are taught to concentrate on flowing energy. Music is used in reiki to bring your focus on healing therapy. One starts reflecting inward in reiki and music just sets the tone for inner reflection. It makes you feel relaxed and together they work magic.

While you practice reiki, try music that has natural sounds. It could be cascading of waters or chirping of birds. Other preferred source of music is flute music, quiet electronic music, or even chants of Sanskrit verses or sacred chants of Buddha. These chants and mantras help you in concentrating better. Reiki music is used for healing that also leads to calming down of your body and mind. The background music helps you in concentrating and enhances the meditation skill. Music is always optional in reiki; however music goes well the meditation. The music also helps in augmenting whole brain synchronization. Try it, it is sure to work wonders.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Indian Wedding Songs

Indians love to celebrate weddings. Go to nay part of India and you will find wedding function to be a major community occasion. So when wedding is such a huge occasion in our lives then how could be we leave behind beat of dhol, foot tapping songs, and string of the Tumba. These things are most essential in any wedding function. According to Hindu rituals and culture, music is a very important part in marriage ceremonies. The thing about music is it makes things lively and adds to the overall festive mood. However, types of music differ from region to region and place to place. Music could be added to all sort of wedding ceremonies like sangeet, mehndi, main day wedding and vidaai ceremony.

We will talk about some popular wedding songs that are regularly performed at all the marriage functions. Ek pardesi mera dil le gaya, Dulhan chali, Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge, Bhootni Ke, Saajan Ji Ghar Aaye, Soni de nakhre, Desi Girl, Pyara Bhaiya Mera, Aisa Pehli Baar Hua Hai, Ghoonghat Mein Chaand, Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna, Babul Ki Duaayein Leti Jaa, Ek Kuwara, Yeh Galiyan Yeh Chobara, Mera Piya Ghar Aaya, Mujh Se Shaadi Karogi, Dulhan Bhi Lajawaab, Maa da ladla, Mujhse Shadi Karogi, Tujhe Dekh Ke Dil Mera, Main Joru Ka Ghulam, Chote Chote Bhayon, Cham se wo aajaye, Aaj hai sagai, Maahi ve, Banno ki saheli, and Kala sha kala etc.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Indian Pop Music

Pop music in india has ushered in big fashion. The entire Indian landscape seems smitten by pop euphoria. Over one billion Indian population has got a strong liking over the last 1-2 decades. Hindi pop music is on constant path of evolution. Pop music can be found in all the regions of India even in local languages. Talking about arrival of indi-pop, it was first witnessed in earl 1980s when Pakistani singer Nazia Hassan had whole india on its feet with ‘Aap jaisa koi meri zindagi mein aaye’. The music composer was Biddu who later gave us Alisha Chinai also known as indi-pop queen.

Indian was always inclined towards classical music but song by Nazia Hassan completely changed the Indian music spectrum. That song gave way to several pop-ish style songs in upcoming movies. Films like Disco Dancer, Dance Dance etc were gladly embraced by Indian youths. Since then every movie contains at least one pop song. 90s further accentuated the pop trend. Many new singers emerged on Indian pop scene including Baba Sehgal, Alisha Chinai, Colonial Cousins, Mehnaaz, Shweta Shetty, Lucky Ali, Sharon prabhakar etc.

Other singers and groups emerged later on. The likes of Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Bombay Vikings, Indian Ocean, Strings, Juggy D, Sanober etc kept giving us one hit after another. Other Indians with foreign roots also incorporated Indian pop music with other forms of music. Names like Rishi Rich and Jay Z gave new voice to Indi-pop on world stage by collaborating with foreign singers. With the increasing popularity of Indi-pop, Indian pop industry seems to be on a high.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Historical Bollywood Songs

We don’t need to emphasize the role of music in popularizing Indian movies. Music is perhaps the soul of a movie. Its presence in films lends a divine charm to the overall feel. Since the inception of movie culture in India, all the movies strive to have soulful tunes in the film. Not only it ensures better opening of movie but also plays a great part in easing the narration of the plot. It helps in uninterrupted flow of emotions through wonderful lyrics. During earlier times, songs relied more on lyrics instead of instruments. Heavy usage of instruments robs music of its soul. That probably explains why old songs are still popular and music lovers of all generations still prefer them.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest hit songs of Hindi movies. Indian film industry is several decades old and compiling a list of chartbuster songs is no mean task. We have hundred and thousands of hit songs that we keep humming. Talking about some old songs, these songs have become immortal and have continued to stay in our minds.

Main Ban Ke Pancchi, Aayega, Aayega Aanewala, Jaane kyaa tuune kahii, Awara Hoon, Chandan saa badan, chanchal chitavan, Din dhal jaaye, hai raat na jaaye, Ai mere pyaare vatan, Man re, tu kaahe na dheer dhare, Pyar Kia Toh Darna Kya, Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hain, Bol Radha Bol sangam hoga ki nahi, Dost dost na raha, Nain lad jaihein and many more. These songs are like few drops in the great ocean of Hindi songs. We will continue exploring such gems.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Music exists in many forms. As has been said umpteen times, music knows no barriers, no boundaries and no distinction between humans. We all like music in the same way. Music heals one and all and there are very few exceptions to that. Though, we all love music, we tend to have different choices. Some may like classical and some may prefer to hum Ghazal. However there is one form of music that is based on rhyming poetry or better known as Shayari.

Many Hindi songs are based on shers and shayari. Sher is basically a couplet and a rhyming poetry is made of those couplets. Sher O Shayari is a beautiful form of poetry. If you are a fan of old Hindi songs, ghazals and Qawalis you will know what I mean to talk about. Urdu is the mother language of shayari. Infact most of the shers and shayari are in Urdu language only. Urdu is always believed to be a sophisticated language quite apt for romantic poetry. These shers manage to tug at your heartstrings. Such is the beauty of Sher O shayari. One can also found shers in other languages like Punjabi, Hindi etc.

Sher O shayari has always been an integral part of Hindustan. It is embedded in our culture. Not only is it the most prominent part of poetry but also beautifully depicted in Hindi songs. Such songs tend to be immortal. Usually very emotional in nature, Sher O shayari has definitely enriched the tradition of poetry and music.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

History of Bhangra

Think of bhangra music and you will find your hands up in the air and your feet aching to move. That’s the charm and effect of this great musical style. It’s basically a Punjabi folk dance the popularity of which has spilled across the borders. Not only India but several parts of the world have accepted the magical effects of bhangra. The origin place of bhangra is Punjab, situated in the heart of northern India. If we try to trace its origin then, bhangra basically comes as a folk dance. The celebrated Baisakhi festival of Punjab is also considered as the peaking of harvest season. People celebrated the bumper harvest with dance and songs.

With the passage of time, bhangra evolved and later on it became a part of lifestyle. Bhangra is performed in all sort happy occasions. To incorporate different styles of music and the original dance, bhangra also expanded itself. Bhangra has a happy and gay feeling about it. Probably that’s why it spread to all parts of India and subsequently world. It would not be an exaggeration to say that bhangra has turned out o be a globally renowned style of song and dance.

Evolution of music has made bhangra even more interesting. Now is the era of fusion and thus bhangra can be seen playing with elements of hip-hop, rap and other form of dance and music. The best part about bhangra is emphasis on expression. It is one of the most expressive forms of music. With lyrical nature and happy undertone, bhangra has become a subculture in itself.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Instrumental Hip-Hop music

World has witnessed many new forms of music in last few decades. One music genre that has literally made world dance on its tunes is hip hop music. Since 1990s, hip hop has taken many places by storm. The most interesting part about hip hop music is it is less focused on music and more oriented towards delivery of the message in form of lyrics. It redefined the way music was played and understood. Its influence was such that it became a genre in itself. Definitely an experimental form of music, hip hop has also started making its presence felt in India.

Instrumental hip hop music comprises of two categories of instrumental ad hip hop. Indian instrumental music comes from great Indian classical music whereas hip hop traces its roots to Afro-American culture. Together these two form a lethal combination. The best part about such mixing up is taking one or two local languages and mixing it with wonderful instruments. For example, one or two Indian languages are combined with percussion or instruments like sitar or veena and the resulting music is no less than mesmerizing.

Indian hip hop music is evolving. Many Indian artists have created a niche for themselves in this genre. Asoka is one of most famous hip hop artist and he is credited to perform several international shows in collaboration with renowned rappers. Several other Indian artists like, Sagar, Outlawz, PRX, OBB and Srik etc gaining popularity in this form of music.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Folk Songs Instruments

There are number of instruments used in folk songs. It differs from region to region. However few instruments are quite common. For example, drum is one instrument frequently used by folk song musicians in many regions. These drums are far from refined and yet they produce the desired effect. Other common music instruments are, Ghungharu, Vina, Naggada, Rabab, Dholak, Saringda, Santur, Nal, Kartal, Daf, Bansuri, Ektar, Magadi, Dotar, Pung, Chimpta, and Shankh to name a few. Not every style of folk songs uses all these instruments. The primary focus is upon lyrics and atmosphere. Instruments are simply used to enhance the feel. These instruments are not refined to say so, but interestingly enough made by musician themselves. Often made up of ordinary substances, instruments used in folk songs provide that earthy charm and traditional feel.

As mentioned in previous article, folk musicians don’t receive any formal training. They just learn it from their surrounding. It’s a wonderful medium of celebrating life. Go to any part of the country and you will find people playing folk music to celebrate all types of occasions. Events like marriage, birth, festivals, arrival of monsoon etc are perfect occasions for celebrating by playing folk songs. Most of the rural parts in India celebrate harvesting with folk songs. This way they thank god and wish for better agricultural results. In tune with the culture, Indian movies have also incorporated several scenes of folk songs that have found huge popularity.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Indian Folk Songs

Apart from classical and filmy songs, Indian music has several other beautiful facets. One of them is Indian folk songs. Immensely rich in history, folk songs are in existence since the inception of civilization. Folk songs are popular all across the country. Al the regions in India have different folk songs culture that are so dissimilar from each other and yet enchanting enough to sooth one’s soul. Very few things match the contribution made by folk songs in terms of representing cultural diversity of India. Indian folk songs possess variety and charisma. Folk songs have also been termed as rustic representation of Indian civilization.

Almost all the regions in India boast of unique folk song a style that is entirely different from other regions. Similarity is quite restricted to usage of few instruments and nothing more. Many people confuse folk songs with tribal songs but one must note that both are completely different things. Folk songs represent celebration and fun. Mostly performed and used in particular occasions, many regions celebrate smaller things of life by indulging in folk song. Folk songs are not taught and no one has ever heard of folk songs training school. There is nothing formal about this form of enjoyment. India has produced many quality folk singers who have learned this art on their own and mastered it. Many Indian folk singers have also performed aboard and managed to enchant foreigners.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Music Therapy

Music is an eternally beautiful gift. Music does wonders to humans. Its effects are mesmerizing to say the least. No wonder, we tend to lose ourselves in different types of music. We all have our favorite songs than we can relate to varying emotions occurring inside us. We can find several instances where music has managed to transform peoples’ lives in a positive way. Many of you must have heard of the term ‘music therapy’. This term has been credited to cure numerous diseases and to provide healing touch to the troubled souls.

Definition wise, Music Therapy is the sum total of music and related activities to cure problematic things like, fruitless learning patterns and developing non-musical goals. It is also used for promoting mental and physical growth along with motional and social development. Music is a type of medicine that manages to cure many diseases. We all go through several types of emotional, mental and physical stresses every day. Blame it on lack of time or deadlines faced by us in different walks of life, stress has become an integral part of our lives. Music has provided that much needed stress-relief factor to many of us. Ailments like backaches, piles, asthma, intestinal gas, hypertension, headache, cough, constipation, and many more diseases have been cured by music therapy.

Many Indian ragas have found to be wonderful in tackling diseases like blood pressure and speed of brain waves. Ragas like Hindol, Sohani, Malkauns, Bhairavi and Madhuvanti are very effective in curing common ailments. Try listening to music and stay relaxed. It will do wonders for you and your life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Item Songs

What is the common element between ‘Chamma Chamma’ and ‘Khallas’? No prizes for guessing the answer! Yes, they both are very popular songs that also helped in the movie earning great revenues. But more than anything else, both songs are known as ‘Item Songs’ in popular bollywood potboilers. Item songs did not exist in old age. But need of creativity and popularity of such songs gave rise to this phenomenon. Most of the movies released during last one decade have one or two item songs. These songs not only help in popularizing the movies but also help in pulling the crowds to the theater.

‘Chamma Chamma’ got so popular that the director of famous English movie, Moulin Rouge came over to Mumbai to acquire the rights of the song. This song gave a tremendous boost to the concept of items songs. Majority of the run of the mill stuff movies give us colorful items songs picturized in glamorous locations. Item songs opened a new revenue stream for movie industry.
When talking about item songs, many such songs come to our mind. Songs like ‘babuji jara dheere chalo’, ‘One love’, ‘Chaiyan Chaiyan’, ‘Hello’ etc remind us of talented actors dancing on groovy tunes. Many non-stream actors have found their niche in item songs category. It has also given a new lease of life to upcoming singers from far flung places. Item songs are there to stay in bollywood movies.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Changing Musical Trend

Songs play a major role in pulling people to the theatres. Needless to say, songs are extremely important element in the context of Hindi movies. In fact, all the regional movies also contain certain number of songs. Sometimes, songs sequence pop out of nowhere while you are watching a movie but aren’t songs supposed to be fun? Songs are a way of life for Indian public. It gives vent to our innermost emotions. Since long, we have thrived on melodious and heart warming songs of yesteryears. Modern songs have continued to make their presence felt in every sphere of our lives. The only change has occurred in the time frame of songs in our subconscious. We still find ourselves humming songs of golden era. Songs sung by Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar etc continue to rule the roost but modern day songs don’t last long in our memory.

Now our songs focus on popularity and best use of latest musical techniques. Lyrics are not the most important thing anymore. Rhythm and mixing has taken precedence over quality of lyrics. The latest trend is that a song is released, becomes the chart booster and soon it fades away from our memory. Also the fact that, genres of songs have increased tremendously, plays a major role in sustainability of a song. Now film music is not the only source of music for us. Now we have choices like filmy, pop, rock, remixes, hip-hop, trance and several other forms of music. In that sense, music in India is still evolving. It is also attracting people from diverse cultures.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Famous Film Pairs

In some way Lata Mangeshkar changed the Indian music industry. She not only opened avenues for bright female singers but also helped in making film music more popular. Combing with other great male singers of that era, few decades from 1950s produced great music. Music composers were also ibstrumental in bringing out best music from these talented singers. S D Burman, Kalyanji-Anandji, Laxmikanth-Pyarelal, O P Naiyaar, Naushad etc produced melodious tunes. One interesting incidence was pairing of a particular singer with one actor. For example, Mukesh was always summoned for singing songs for Raj Kapoor. This combination gave us numerous hits that are still hummed today.

Who can forget, Dost dost na raha, Sajan re jhooth mat bolo, Jaane kaha gaye wo din, Mera joota hai japani and other such songs that sent public repeating those songs for many years. Mohammad Rafi sang numerous hit songs for Dev Anand and Rajendra Kumar (also known as Jubilee kumar). Baharo Phool mat barsao, Kim era prem patra padh ke and several other songs became a part of legend. One of the most famous combinations was Rajesh Khanna and Kishore kumar. This pair ruled the roost for almost 1-2 decades. They gave us songs like, Ye jo mohabbat hai, Roop tera mastana, Pyar deewana hota hai, Kabhi bekasai ne maara etc. Kishore kuamr also sang several hit songs for Dev Anand and Amitabh bachchan.

R D Burman completely changed the way Hindi music was played. He brought elements of pop, rock, cabaret and usage of new instruments. His music and innovative tunes was a turning point in Hindi music industry. We will know more about him in coming articles.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Arrival of Female Playback Singers

As we know India is primarily a male dominated society. This factor was so evident in Indian music industry as well. The initial burst of acting was already handled by Devika Rani who mesmerized the whole of India with her performance in ‘Achhot Kanya’. In female singers, Begum Akhtar and Shamshaad Begum had started to make waves. These two were classically trained singers. Along with them, Noorjahan also made public go gaga over her divine voice. Late 30s and whole of 1940s were dominated by these singers. The mix of classical element and typically different mellowed down film music was getting quite popular. Another facet was distinctly low usage of instruments.
That period was devoided of any great techno and gadgets instruments. Songs were primarily driven by lyrics. These lyrics used to be very meaningful. Soon, the concept of females not working in bollywood was breaking down. During the process, one did not witness silent arrival of a singer who was later known as ‘Nightingale of India’. Lata Mangeshkar came at a very early age. She did not become an instant superstar however she did not have to struggle that hard. Her talent was distinctly recognized by music composers and when she got a chance to sing for movie ‘Mahal’, all the records were rewritten. The song ‘Aayega aayega, aayega aanewala’ was a huge hit and she rose to stardom. Her melodious voice later became the voice of India. It was also a beginning of new dawn for Indian music.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Emergence of Playback Singers

The history of songs and music in Indian culture can be defined in just one word, glorious! We have already read and seen the rich traditions and the beauty of carnatic and Hindustani classical music. But if we look at popularity index then film songs rule the roost. These film songs are integral part of Indian movies. Indian movies thrive on film songs. It’s actually unimaginable to think of any movie without having dance and songs sequence in it. During the initial days the songs were sung by lead actors themselves. Playback singing was not known and technology for such was not available. But sooner than later, playback singing emerged and thus began a new era in the history of cinema and music. Both of them go hand in hand.

Amongs the initial legends, K L Sehgal can be said to be the singing and acting superstar. The previous generations used to feel nostalgic whenever they listened to the immortal song ‘Jab dil hi toot gaya toh’. This song was so deeply ingrained in the psyche of Indian public. Mr Sehgal was a great actor and also a singer of repute. He held sway with his brand of nostalgic songs. He also sang number of romantic songs but mostly he was phenomenal in tragic songs. His emergence paved new way for upcoming singers. His success and popularity among masses gave this belief that playback singing is an emerging and viable option for those who want to become singers.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hindi Film Music

Indian cinema is composed of numerous languages and popular film music. Normally, people associate film music with famed Hindi music but that’s not true. Numerous other languages are also an integral part of this fascinating aspect. But I general, Hindi film music is seen as the essence of commercial Indian cinema. During the initial era, Hindi films were made without any songs. That was also the era of silent movies. But once dialogues became integral part of Hindi movies, music also came in its own. Since the days Alam Ara, very few Hindi movies have been made without having delightful assimilation of songs. Most of the films that have been made without any songs come in the league of Art cinema that was started by movie Ankur (by Shyam Benegal).

The best feature of Hindi film music is assimilation of all forms and all genres of music in it. It’s a hugely compelling form of music that thrives on amalgamation of diverse culture and different types of songs. The concept of copyright has not managed to cater of film music as evident by adaptation of all forms of music. Whether it is classical music or devotional or folk music, Hindi film music has always taken inspiration from different sources. Film music has also been quietly influenced by foreign music like opera, Persian or Japanese music. Western style orchestras have been repeatedly used in Hindi movies since the time immemorial. Film industry has given us many quality playback singers that give their voice to the onscreen actors.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Great Names in Instrumental Music

There are numerous musical instruments that are played by greatest of artists. But few artists make themselves immortal on the sheer basis of their talents. Few of the musical instruments are solely attributed to one in a generation artist whereas some instruments got popularity because one single artist took the craft of playing the instrument to an altogether new height. Let’s talk about few such artists.

Whenever you think of Shehnai, the only name that comes to the mind is Bismillah Khan. He has become a synonym for Shehnai. His popularity in India as well as abroad can be gauged from the fact that an Islamic country Iran has named one of its principal concert halls after the name of Shehnai maestro. Similarly, Tabla is associated with Ustaad Zakir Hussain whereas Sarangi is associated almost solely with Ram Narayan. This does not show that there haven’t been any other notable performers with the particular instruments but just the fact that one single artist has commanded utmost respect and love from people all over the world. Zakir Hussain is also associated with fusion music recordings. Notable fact is Tabla is an accompanying instrument yet he has the capability of commanding a performance by himself and that is no mean feat. Another such name that comes to the mind is Shiv Kumar Sharma, who is credited to bring Santoor in the drawing room of every Indian household. This is basically a folk instrument with more than 100 strings yet Pandit Shiv has managed to popularize it and made it a mainstream musical instrument.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Carnatic Musical Instruments

Our previous article talked about several musical instruments used in Hindustani music. Instruments play a major role in the final effect of musical performance. The charm will music will not remain the same without the usage of instruments. Talking about instruments used in carnatic music, there are quite a good numbers of instruments who are regularly used in the musical performance. Carnatic or South Indian music is a very rich traditional music of India. It has continued to exist since centuries and no wonder, it is popular across the many parts of the world. Many concerts of carnatic classical music have been organized in foreign territories. The most common and ubiquitous musical instrument used in carnatic music is Vina. This wonderful instrument has a long neck with seven strings. This fretted plucked lute is the most common instrument used in carnatic music concerts.

The Vina provides the effects of bansuri whereas Shehnai is replaced by a instrument named nagaswaram. The nagaswaram is a double red instrument with oboe-like looks and it also has finger holes. This is the primary instrument whereas Violin takes place as second instrument. In recent years violin has acquired a new fame thanks to some wonderful practitioners of this instrument. Apart from these several percussion instruments are used for providing rhythmic feel. One of them is Mridangam which is basically a two headed drum. It also has a double conical shape.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hindustani Musical Instruments

Instrumental music is a crucial element in overall scheme of music culture. It is not only a crucial part is any kind of music but also works independently on its own. The success of several instrumental music CDs and cassettes bear testimony to the popularity of this form of music. Musical instruments have always been an integral element of Hindustani as well as Carnatic music. Hindustani or North Indian music places a great emphasis on right use and combination of instruments. The most popular musical instruments in Hindustani music are; either the sitar or sarod. Sitar is basically a long-necked fretted lute whereas sarod is a plucked lute without the frets. Sarod also has a shorter neck compared to sitar. There are several other stringed instruments the likes of which include surbahar and sarangi. Surbahar is quite similar to sitar except the size element whereas sarangi is a short-necked bowed lute.

There are other types of instruments as well and none of them more impressive and appealing that wind instruments. Shehnai and Bansuri are the major wind instruments. Shehnai is without keys whereas Bansuri is played from the side and it is basically a bamboo flute. Bansuri has almost six to seven holes used for playing different music. Whenever a Hindustani music concert is played, few other musical instruments are also played apart from the above mentioned ones. Tabla is known for providing rhythmic complement whereas Tanpura gives drone. Tabla is basically a pair of small drums and is played using both hands.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Indian Fusion Music

Fusion music is an interesting concept which is quite popular in many parts of the world. Fusion as the name suggests, refers to mixing up of two different music. It is not only an innovative way to present class music but it also commands a world wide fan following. Fusion music in Indian context is not a very old concept. The first known fusion performance by an Indian musician was way back in 1955 when Ustad Ali Akbar khan performed in USA. That can be said as the beginning trend in fusion music by Indian musicians. Slowly the concept picked up and with opening up of numerous cultural collaborations, more and more fusion music performance started taking place. They say, music has no religion and no language. Fusion music proves this statement.

Indian music witnessed more fusion in 1960s and 70s when rock and roll was making waves. Renowned sitar player Pandit Ravi Shankar was the chief protagonist of emerging Indian fusion music. Several stage shows were performed in places as far as Europe and North America. He also collaborated with famous music band Beatles. Other Indian musicians to perform fusion music were, Bihari Sharma, Khalil Bal Krishna, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Badal Roy. In popular category, Asha Bhosle and Shaan also performed with other western artists. In recent days, several filmy music and bhangra songs have been fused to create amazing music. With introduction of several new technologies in music equipments, this trend of fusion music is bound to be even more popular.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Carnatic Musical Performance

Carnatic music is full of quality and history. Despite western music getting increasing popularity in India, this form of music has managed to hold on its own. Carnatic music represents Indian culture and heritage. Many south Indian families still dream of having their kids mastering nuances of carnatic music. Music legends like Muthuswami Dikshitar completely changes the way the music was played. Here are several other prominent contributors who enriched the carnatic music traditions with their valuable contributions. Some of them are; Narayan Tirtha, Annamacharya, Papanasam Shivan, Swati Tirunal, Arunagiri Nathar, Gopala Krishna Bharati, Bysore Vasudevachar, Uttukadu Venkatasubbair, to name a few.
Carnatic musical performance has many sections, all performed according to rules. When the recital begins, Varanam that is basically a composition is played. The word refers to description and this consists of two parts of Purvanga (first half) and Uttaranga (second half). Ragam is another crucial section where artists get the freedom to indule in creative aspects. Ragam is also a free melodic composition that allows singer to improvise using his/her creativity. In similar mould is tanam, which is free rhythm. Rag has some fixed compositions that are called kritis. When ragam is introduced to audiences, a certain way is followed and that is known as alapana. Carnatic music theme uses amazingly developed theoretical system. The main ingredients are Ragam and Thalam also known as raga and Tala. Raga is the scale and classified into different modes.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Carnatic Music

Carnatic music is also known as the south Indian classical music. Carnatic sangeet or carnatic music developed in the southern states of India. Carnatic music along with Hindustani classical music make up for the two basic forms of classical music in India. Indian states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are known as the originators of this form of music. Carnatic music boasts of rich culture and glorious history. It has not only managed to survive the onslaught of time but also flourished with the passage of time. It is renowned all over the world and several carnatic music concerts have taken place in major cities of India. The origin of carnatic music is credited to Purandardas who is also known as father of carnatic music. During his life time (1480-1564), he completely changed the way this form of music will ever be played by the future generations. He created thousand of music gems. He solved the method of playing carnatic music.

Another famous name associated with carnatic music is Venkat Mukhil Swami. He was a great exponent of carnatic music. If south Indian ragas are found to be classified in different categories and names then the credit goes to Venkat. He gave it a new form and made it much easier. The present form of carnatic music can be ascribed to developments in 18th century. The holy trinity of carnatic music Thyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shamashastri came up with their invaluable compositions. Since then, the form of carnatic music took a drastic turn and it became even more popular.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hindustani Music - Ragas

To continue with elements of Hindustani classical music lets talk about different vocal forms. Khayal is considered as one of the most important elements of classical music. It has also managed to replace the traditional style of singing Dhrupad. Compared to dhrupad, khayal is more of a free form style and it is also more flexible. Dhrupad is associated by pakhawaj and tanpura and performed by men. It is very traditional in nature and the lyrics used in dhrupad often consist of gallant themes. Medieval form of hindi is used in dhrupad lyrics and if you listen to it you will find these lyrics are dedicated to deity.

Tarana style of singing is very enjoyable and coveys feelings of happiness. Often perfomed at the end of a concert, tarana is a sheer delight. Dhamar is quite decorative in nature and one of the basic styles of singing. Khayal originated during the rule of Sharqui dynasty in 15th century. Hussain Shah Sharqui is credited to give shape and form to this classical singing style. The further popularity of khayal is ascribed to Mohammed Shah who ruled in 18th century. Usually, 4-8 lines of lyrics are used in khayal. These lines are set up with tunes. Khayal encourages improvisation and that’s why the performer uses few base lines for the purpose of improvisation. A more adorned form is called dhamar. The place of dhrupad has been taken by somewhat less austere and more free-form khayal. Nawab Wajid Ali Shah also known as the Nawab of Oudh is credited to encourage thumri which is basically an informal vocal form. There are several great vocalists in hindutani classical music the likes of which include, Bhimsen Joshi, Ajoy Chakraborty, Nagraj Havaldar, Mashkoor Ali Khan, Kishori Amonkar, Ulhas Kashalkar, Pandit Jasraj, Prabakar Karekar, Rashid Khan, Aslam Khan, Shruti Sadolikar, and Chandrasekhar Swami etc.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hindustani Music - Origin

Hindustani classical music is a wonderful facet of Indian classical music tradition. Hindustani music belongs to North India. Originated during the period of 13th and 14th, this form of classical music is a fascinating combination of ancient Hindu musical traditions and Persian music. It is most popular Indian classical music. Vedic philosophy has also played a great role in shaping Hindustani music. South Indian classical music or also known as Carnatic music is truly Indian in sense of origin. But Hindustani music allowed other forms of music to influence and integrate in the main stream.

Hindustani classical music is based upon vocals. Raga system plays the primary role in this form of music. Music terms like dhrupad, tarana, khayal, dhammar, ghazal, thumri etc belong to Hindustani music. Ghazal is definitely the one with Persian influence. Ghazal also symbolizes the beautiful amalgamation of Hindustani and Persian music. In classical Hindustani music, raga is also referred to melodic scale. It has seven basic notes. Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni are the major notes. These notes play a crucial part in assigning characters to different ragas. Other crucial factor is ascent and descent of the notes that is very crucial in determining the form of the raga. It is not necessary for the notes to be in linear form. All the vocal forms of Hindustani music have different characters and singing style. They are unique in terms of notes, performance and singing styles.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Famous Music Gharanas

Benaras Gharana – Pandit Gopal Mishra initiated this gharana which has given us impressive names like Girija Devi, famous duo of Rajan and Sajan Mishra and many more who have kept the tradition high and fly. Wonderful Khayal singing is particularly associated with this gharana. The historical culture of Benaras has also influenced the rich tradition of this gharana.

Jaipur - Atrauli Gharana: - Ustad Alladiya Khan founded this gharana and produced magnificent singers like Kesarbhai Kerkar, Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, Alladiya Khan, Shruti Sadolikar, Padma Talwalkar, Kishori Amonkar, and Mallikarjun Mansur. Jaipur gharana distinguishes itself on the basis of its practice of compound and tuneful form of notes.

Patiala Gharana - Founded by Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Ali Baksh, Patiala gharana is known for giving us world class classical singers. Names like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Parveen Sultana, Begum Akhtar, Raza Ali Khan, Nirmala Deni, Ajoy Chakravarti, Naina Devi inspire awe and respect. This gharana focuses on usage of Bols. Bol-tans and Layakari aling with emphasis on rhythm are special attributes of this gharana.

Rampur Sahaswan Gharana- singers like Ustad Rashid Khan, Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Brihaspati, Sulochana and Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan have been major exponents of this form of tradition. The founder was Ustad Inayat Khan and he tried to focus upon clarity of swara. Progression is very important in this gharana.

Bhendi Bazaar Gharana - Ustad Chajju Khan initiated this rich traditional gharana and gave us singers like Shashikala Koratkar, Anjanibai Malpekar and Ustad Aman Ali Khan etc. The emphasis is on presentation of Khayal.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Introducing Music Gharanas

Kirana Gharana – the founders of this gharana were Abdul Wahid Khan and Abdul Karim Khan. Glitterati of music personalities belong to this prod gharana. The names include, Bhimsen Joshi, Prabha Atre, Hirabhai Barodekar, Begum Akhtar and Gangubai Hangal to name a few. The origin of this gharana can be traced to birthplace of its founder, Abdul Kharim Khan who was born in a place called Kirana in Kurukshetra. The main element of this Gharanas is the way notes are sung. Emotional elemnt is focused upon by interesting usage of swara through elongation and use of Kana-s.

Gwalior Gharana uses Khayal Gayaki styles. One of the oldest gharanas, the style of singing focuses more on simplicity of the art. Ustad Nathu Khan, Ustad Hassu Khan, and Ustad Haddu Khan were founders of this famous gharana. Famous artists belonging to this gharanas are, Bal Krishna BaIchal Karanjikar, Malini Rajurkar, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, and Veena Sahasrabuddhe etc.

Delhi Gharana - Ustad Mamman Khan created this gharana and proudly represented by classical names like Shabbu khan and Tanras Khan. Names like Krishna Bisht, Nasir Ahmed Khan, Iqbal Ahmed Khan, Chand Khan and Usman Khan etc have represented this gharana. The singing style of this tradition is known because of delicate symphony and gratifying vistaar.

Agra Gharana- Founded by Ustad Ghagghe Khuda Baksh and Haji Sujan Khan, this gharana has given us exponents like Latafat Hussein Khan, Dinkar Kakini and Faiyyaz Khan. The specialty about the singing style of the gharana was emphasis on potent and reverberating notes and deepness in the voice.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hindustani Music Gharanas

Music knows no boundaries, no religions and no lands. As mentioned earlier, this blog will try to discover as many musical gems as possible from various parts of the world. Let’s know a bit about Indian music. One term many music lovers keep coming across is Hindustani music Gharanas. The term reflects rich tradition of Indian music. These Gharanas denote style and culture embossed in rich Indian heritage. There are several Gharanas in India and each one of them has their base in the long-established mode of musical education and learning. No gharana is similar to other one. They all are distinct and hold on their own when it comes to features, attributes and specialties. The concept of Gharanas has taken forward on the basis of Guru- Shishya culture. Every new generation of musicians have taken the mantle of carrying forward rich legacy left by their Gurus.

Talking about difference in Gharanas, the basic difference is the method in which the notes are sung. The rise of Gharanas can be attributed to ingenious approach of a genius or the guru, who gives presented composition an entirely new approach, structure and elucidation. These new structures and approach expands to every element related to music including tone, intonations, voice, pitch and other nuances. That way, a distinctly new approach is generated and which also helps in distinguishing different gharanas from one another. We will have a look at few of the Hindustani music gharans in coming articles.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Magic of Music

Music! The word itself creates a kind of rhythm and beautiful sensation felt by our sensory nerves. Often wondered, why it’s so difficult to find a person who has no interest in music? I have yet to come across a person with such inclinations. Music moves all. No one can escape the charm and magic generated by music. Go to any part of the world and one will find everyone has his favorite music list. Music has such charm, such beauty!

It’s hard to imagine about the origin of music. But music is a permanent fixture in all the religions and cultures. Music is one common element among all the cultures. Even if we look through Roman culture or ancient Greek civilization, Hinduism and other native cultures, music is everywhere. Music is said to be originated from sounds of nature. The sound of animals, the sound of peacock, sound of raindrops, etc have been found to be the original inspiration. Music is the food of the soul that can help us express our innermost feelings.

This blog will strive to find various songs scattered all across the globe. From Indian point of view, this land is culturally rich and that includes music. Whether it’s our classical music (Hindustani or south Indian), or folks songs of different states or religious songs or tribal songs, one can find almost all forms of music in Indian Territory. We will continue to unearth and discover such forms of music through this blog. Needless to say, it will be a musical journey!