As I write this piece, my chronological years and many years of listening to music come to me as a refrain that could best be sung as the “day the music died”. The precious video I share here is by a hugely subscribed website called Ithacaaudio and one which posts some really interesting tidbits and opinion on music history and soundscapes in general.
Since I am a die hard subscriber, my consumption of a lot of their material is equivalent to breathing , and as a fellow in music – here is what I think about influences :-
1. While growing up in the 70s and 80s and being in love with bands and artists like The Beatles, Eagles, Eric Clapton, Jim Reeves, JJ Cale, Anne Murray, Cliff Richard, Rod Stewart & Roger Waters, The Who, Peter Gabriel and the unmistakable Tom Petty – my personal influences were quite overshadowed by the ‘convent’ British English education led western music that I got subjected to as a kid.
2. My home turf exposure to the Indian traditional form of ghazal and khayal comes from listening incessantly to Iqbal Bano, Farida Khanum, Malika Pukhraj, Begum Akhtar, Mehdi Hasan, Jagjit Singh, Bade Ghulam Ali, Rajan & Sajan Misra, and Dagar Brothers. This certainly helped my music appreciation skill as an Indian from a Urdu adab & tehzeeb environment.
3. Add to this mix, a healthy serving of socially relevant Bollywood music from the stable of directors and composers like Hrishikesh Mukerji, Manmohan Desai, Naushad, Nasir Hussain, Basu Chatterji, and the unforgettable Laxmikant Pyarelal and Madan Mohan. With Lata, Rafi, Kishore, Manna Dey, Talat Mahmood, Suraiya, Noor Jehan, Geeta Dutt, Asha Bhonsle, Preeti Sagar, and Vani Jayram belting priceless gems that continue to play on repeat even today. I have been fortunate to be blessed by a music sensibility which can best be called ‘world friendly’.
4. And if I were to say that my under grad years at University of Delhi further opened my ears to a new range of sound altogether, it will not be anything but the honest truth. Its been quite a wave, for I have had the pleasure of hosting at College and attending to artists like Pandit Bhimsent Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Shivkumar Sharma, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Gangubai Hangal, Kishori Amonkar, Balmuralikrishnan, MS Subalaxmi, Shubha Mudgal – to list only vocalists. All this via a beautiful phenomenon called Spicmacay (Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth), and its inimitable head Kiran Seth – who had the passion and panache of a sixteen year old when it came to delivering an amazing concert at colleges and auditoriums that would allow the young in.
With so many influences affecting my impressionable mind then, I now sit with an advantage when I listen to really young and not so young bands and artists perform at a local community and concert level. I can fortunately tell the difference between excellent and mediocre. Am yet to discover really horrible sound and vocalists – so God help me never meet them!!