Thursday, December 31, 2015


2015 is drawing to a close... and what an eventful year it has been... 

While the newspapers and a host of websites are looking back at events of the year gone by, I did a quick look back at my year and realized how truly amazing it has been for me. 

This has been an absolutely Mumbai year for me... with Pune being the farthest I got away.

Been back to school... as a student (updating skills and getting certified)... as a teacher/lecturer (teaching Digital Marketing and CRM to students in premier MBA institutes)... and as a parent volunteer (having coached the school choir to sing for the school feast).
OLPS School Choir at School Feast (27 June 2015)

Changes in the workplace... worked on new and interesting projects as a strategist and consultant... and back to the full time schedule with a leading global media agency.

And through all this music and entertainment has had a integral role to play. I started the year playing music at the midnight Mass at OLPS Church Chembur... and the last weekend of the year entertaining the best of audiences in the adjacent grounds.

At the end of this crucial year... I take this opportunity to thank all the people who have had any role to play in my life over the past year... the family, relatives, friends, students, teachers, colleagues... and those I know and those I don't that consciously or unconsciously have contributed to making this year so special.

As as the end is near to this year, I leave you with wishes for a blessed year ahead. 

Look forward to the opportunity to help entertain you in 2016, either in person or in the virtual digital world.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

They're Playing Our Song

Earlier this year, I attended the wedding of a friend at the St. Anthony's Club Grounds (OLPS), Chembur. As the evening progressed, it was time for the first dance. And my wife got super-excited when they played Our Song.

On our fourteenth anniversary today, I thought I'd share the same song with you all - in fact I have the same track that was played for our very first dance together as man and wife. 

The Wedding Special is among the most important song of the wedding reception. The song that we first danced too tends to be the anthem of our marriage. Since we're on the topic, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite songs that I've heard and sung as wedding special over the years. 

An eternal favorite and possibly the earliest one I've heard is definitely "Pledging My Love"  by none other than Elvis Presley. 

Pledging My Love - Elvis Presley

Though sung by the legendary Lobo, I remember hearing this song only in the mid to late nineties as a First Dance song. 

Faithful - Lobo

During my band days in the early nineties, a favorite of mine was "I Swear" by the chocolate boy band, 'All 4 One'.

I Swear - All 4 One

Shania Twain dominated the Wedding charts in the late nineties, with not one, but two songs that qualified for the spot.

From This Moment On - Shania Twain

You're Still The One - Shania Twain

In the more recent times, there have not been enough of these committed love songs. One of the few songs I can think of is 'All Of Me' - by John Legend. 

All Of Me - John Legend

And the bridal special at the most recent weddings I conducted were 'Original Sin'  by Elton John and 'Beautiful In White' by Westlife. 

Original Sin - Elton John

Beautiful In White - Elton John

If you getting married soon and looking for a song, I hope this helped...

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Nineties...this week

The Christmas weekend was truly lovely. Besides the Christmas lunch and celebrations with the family, it was also a weekend for some great parties.

St. Anthony's Homes Co-op Society celebrate their 90th Jubilee Year. I was called upon to emcee their annual Member's nite last Saturday. The get-together was absolutely brilliant with live music by the legendary (as Barney would say in 'How I Met Your Mother') .... Walter's Duo. 

As part of the celebrations,  a commemorative gift was handed out to all the known nonagenerian members of the society, including one gentleman who will be a centenarian in just 17 days time.

Still in the nineties, today is the 93rd birthday for a legendary author, writer, editor, publisher, producer, actor, television host. And what's more, a lot of this in the 'comic' world. Any guesses?


Happy Birthday to Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber), former President and Chairman of Marvel Comics, and co-creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, X-Men, and the Fantastic Four.

Besides all his fantastic work, I must say that I observed something truly remarkable in his personal life. In this world of complicated relationships, he is the first personality that I have come across who has been married only once in his lifetime. His wedding anniversary was earlier this month - 5th December (the day I compered the wedding of a young advertising couple - Eldon and Pooja). He married Joan Clayton Boocock in 1947 - 68 years ago, and they have a lovely daughter J.C and grandchildren as well. 

Happy Birthday Stan Lee. Enjoy the year ahead and this parody - 'When I'm 94'.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Farms, Roots, Vegetables - and Music as well.

Christmas is round the corner. And a friend of mine just posted a Christmas song she wrote and composed, spoofing Mumbai's beef ban - titled 'A Vegetarian Christmas'

Today, 23rd December is celebrated as 'National Farmers' Day' in India. Marking the birthday of a departed farmer leader, Chaudary Charan Singh, we celebrate our farmers today who grow our grain, fruits, vegetables, etc. In today's challenging times of global warming and climate change, we salute all India's farmers with this memorable dedication from Bollywood.

It's ironical though that in the US today is observed as Roots Day - not for the plant 'roots' but more about tracking your family 'roots'. While doing an internet search recently, I landed on a site that traced my family roots back to 1770. Interestingly compiled. How much do you know your Roots? Go ahead, find out... 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Favorite Pastimes - Crossword or Story?

Living in Mumbai requires a lot of travel. Even after a year in the city, I'm still too nervous to drive on the crowded city roads. The best mode of public transport in Mumbai and extending further than ever before is the suburban rail network. 

Travelling by train today, the only way people seem to pass their time is on the internet - (I'm as guilty as about anyone). Most of us are interacting online on social media - Facebook and WhatsApp being the most popular. 

I did a quick retake to the days of yore - not too long ago - when people spent their travel time on a more intelligent pursuit - KNOWLEDGE.

The morning hours would see most people poring over their newspapers or the Readers' Digest and sometimes novels in English, Hindi and Marathi - checking out news or reading the classics or popular stories. In the evenings, the paper would more likely be the smaller tabloid when there would be less reading and more racking of brains to solve the word jumble - while the more articulate would try to crack the crossword - mostly the simple but sometimes the cryptic. 

Today the 21st of December celebrates these two intelligent travel pastimes. 

21st December is

In keeping with the theme of the day, I thought I'd share with you exactly that. With Christmas later this week, just stay with the theme. 

First the story about the "Real Meaning of Christmas" - The True Meaning of Christmas

And to help you celebrate Crossword Puzzle Day - here's a Christmas Music crossword puzzle just for you... Christmas Crossword Puzzle.

So read it and solve it...and if you like it, share it as well.

Monday, December 14, 2015

World Choral Day - Music Makes the World Go Round

I started this blog to celebrate the universal language of mankind. And how appropriate can it be, that I compile this Golden post to celebrate a special day in music. 

The Second Sunday of December is earmarked as World Choral Day. And with Christmas  less than two weeks away, choirs are busy practicing or performing Christmas Carols at various venues ranging from homes, churches, malls and even concert halls.

For more than 30 years, Mumbai has been celebrating the "Festival of Festive Music" organised by the Stop Gaps Cultural Academy (under the guidance of Alfred J D'Souza) at the National Centre of Performing Arts with Christmas performances from the best choirs in Mumbai and beyond. This year, was no different. In fact the wonderful festival coincided with the World Choral Day celebrations.
Over the last year, I have received umpteen invitations to join this top choir of Mumbai. Also I have been fortunate to attend their performances  with the Hohenlohe Brass Ensemble in August 2014 and again the opportunity to introduce them as they performed the best of Festive Music at the Sevadaan Entertainment Extravaganza in Chembur on this very weekend last year. And they did sound absolutely out of this world. 

As part of the World Choral Day celebration, I had my own part to play at a much smaller but nevertheless important event that got together young musicians from various parishes of our Deanery for a choir festival of our own. The children from Sunday School put up some wonderful Christmas Carols, Christmas skits and more to share in the joy of the season. We even had a violin performance by a young girl, Sharon Joseph from OLPS Parish playing "O Come All Ye Faithful" to celebrate World Violin Day (celebrated on 13th December every year). Beautiful, truly beautiful... (More pictures of the event here

If you enjoy Choral Music, I'm sure you would have heard and enjoyed one of my favorite Christmas Carol albums (also possibly among the first I ever heard) - The Gunter Kallman Choir. Enjoy the Medley.

A Big Thank You to all of you who read and listen to this blog. I'm happy writing it for you. Do feel free to share your comments and feedback with me. Or even suggest a topic I should cover or music I should post here. Do go out this Christmas and do something special. I'll be with you from time to time with more musical thoughts in the next few days and into the New Year.

Friday, December 11, 2015

O Play Me Some Mountain Music


Towering, majestic, and beautiful... Mountains stand tall for all to see and admire. They there for us to conquer. 

With this blog dedicated to music, I just could not resist thinking of all the songs I knew about mountains. And we get started with 'Mountain Music'

Singing of mountains can be about the specific ranges and what they've meant to the singer. 

John Denver - Rocky Mountain High

John Denver sang about the "Rocky Mountain High". The other American range, the Appalachians include the Blue Ridge Mountains. I've heard some great Gospel Music from the 'Blue Ridge Mountain Gospel'. and also like the 'Blue Ridge Mountain Blues' by John Fogerty.

John Fogerty - Blue Ridge Mountain Blues

While those singers have sung about the mountains, others have related it to life and love. 

Tina Turner - River Deep, Mountain High

While Tina Turner is all about love, B.J. Thomas is sentimental in "You Call That A Mountain" (could not find a video). And Elvis says "You Gave Me A Mountain".

 Tina Turner - River Deep, Mountain High

My favorite 'mountain' song is the inspirational message given by Sr. Superior to Maria in "The Sound of Music".

Climb Ev'ry Mountain - from "The Sound of Music"

And being in the Christmas seasons, we'll end this mountain of a post with a Christmas Carol.

Go Tell It On The Mountain - Sara Evans

And as Christmas draws near, it promises to be a truly Musical Christmas for me. Our Deanery has organised a Christmas Carol Fest this weekend and I have been called in to help train them.

Go ahead, scale new heights...and keep singing...

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

World AIDS Day - A Tribute to Musical Greats

Yesterday (December 1) was World AIDS Day. And there were events organised across the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Charlie Sheen made the shock announcement that he was HIV-positive. On this post, I thought I'd pay tribute to a couple of great musicians that we lost to the disease...

Liberace (1919 - 1987)

The flamboyant pianist was among the highest paid performers in the world in the 50s and 60s. Michael Douglas played Liberace in the 2013 movie, "Behind the Candelabra". I heard "The Love Album" in the 80s and fell in love with the piano.

Freddie Mercury (1946- 1991)

Among the most versatile and engaging performers of the Rock world, he was the front-man of Queen. We've rocked on his "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", screamed to "I Want To Break Free" and been absolutely awed by the mock-operatic masterpiece, "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Getting to zero; End AIDS by 2030 was the theme of World Aids Day this year. What will you do to help?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Hello to December - always my favorite month of year.... and yours???

DECEMBER has always been a fairy-tale month.

Once Upon A December

DECEMBER is a winter month for us in the Northern Hemisphere. Though we do not have smow, the nights are still colder than most of the rest of the year. And as we get ready for Christmas, possibly go around the neighbourhood singing carols, or doing late shopping pre-Christmas and parties post-Christmas.

Cold December Night - Michael Buble

The nights may be cold, but they still may be special. I've had very special nights in December - but the most special night in December was the one I got married - not in 1963 (I wasn't born then). 

O What A Night (December '63)

What do you like about DECEMBER....Come on tell us, don't be shy... And go ahead enjoy DECEMBER...cause "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year".

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams

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