Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rewind 2016

We're on the last day of the year... And possibly the best time to look back at the year that's been... 2016.

The year started with the wish - Happy New Year - and a truly happy one it has been.... on the family front, on the professional one and even with the hobbies. 

On the family front first - completed 15 years of marriage just yesterday - celebrating Crystal Anniv with Kristel.... 10 more to Silver. My son is a teenager this year and making the most of every opportunity that he gets - at school, in sport and with music - Into The Teens. My younger son as well at 7 is stepping into a new phase of confidence and taking the lead in stepping forward with initiative. Annual Days and Fun Fairs - Keeping the Music Alive.

On the professional front I settled into a new role at the restructured Publicis Media in the current role as part of the Digital Ad Operations and the Trading Desk at the agency. Made further forays into education having delivered courses and industry interaction sessions to Full-time, Part-time and Executive MBA students at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) and Vivekanand Education Society's Institute of Management and Research (VESIM) in CRM and Digital Marketing. My role as a educator was helped to a large extent by the Forum for Marketing Education that saw the light of day this year and conducted four workshops to help Marketing Educators like myself grow in the role.
Thanks to this Forum, I got the opportunity to reconnect with one of my first bosses in the world of communication - Dr. Ambi Parameswaran - and enjoyed reading his book, Nawabs, Nudes and Noodles, that reignited wonderful advertising memories from childhood to recent times.

I've had a good run through the year entertaining as Sunil Pinto Entertains having compered a host of Weddings and Silver Weddings this year... Also did a couple of Dance Concerts and some interesting events showcasing the talent of children and youth even down to our parish. 

My Facebook Page - Sunil Pinto Entertains - has hosted videos, pics and comments from the various events I've been part of. The page has also been a single point to share my love of music with wonderful readers from around the world. Also a great digital tool has been this blog - A Musical Twist To Life - that's near to 13000 pageviews with this being the 185th post (130th for the year - with more than 2 posts a week).

Thanks to your support, the following posts on as diverse topics as Dance styles, Animals and Travel topped the views this year...


Woof, Meoow, Neigh.... Talk To The Animals

Around The World In 14 Songs

A couple of days ago, I was having a conversation with my seven-year old son, who asked me... "Dad, you wrote posts on your blog to count down to Christmas...5 days, 4 days, 3 days and 2 days... but no post on one day and on Christmas day itself... Why? The two boys were sitting at the PC earlier today and bookmarked this video to share on this post.

In a couple of hours from now, we as a family head to Church to thank the Lord for the blessings of 2016 and to seek continued favour into the New Year... Yes, I need the grace of the Almighty to Light It Up in 2017... And wish each of my relatives, friends and acquaintances, LOTS AND LOTS OF LOVE in the NEW YEAR. 


P.S. This post would be incomplete without this...

Crystal Anniv with Kristel.... 10 more to Silver

Completed 15 years of married life with my lovely wife Kristel... Did you know that the 15th Anniv is called Crystal...

As we attended Mass with the family this evening, it was a wonderful feeling to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family... a target that we need to try to emulate...

Also a reminder of that special tribute... and how true the first song holds even after these fifteen years...

And while it's been Crystal for us... we see Silver all around... The entire past week has been full of Silver Weddings... including some of them to compere... Hosted the celebrations of a Kennedy namesake couple (John and Jacqui) earlier this week... While another couple - close friends as well - celebrated their Silver Wedding at another hall at the same venue. 

Recalled another day from this week (27th December actually), 25 years ago... when I had to skip playing music with the family choir for a wedding in the extended family to play at and attend the wedding of my choir leads - Roney and Mylene (they're quite active on the Mumbai duo circuits).

Facebook reminded me of a whole host of other friends from the parish also celebrating their Silver Weddings over the past couple of days. Possibly why the Silver Weddings are on top of mind possibly has to do with my own eldest sister celebrating her Silver Wedding in a few days from now right in the New Year...

(Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams was the first dance at my sister's wedding... and many many other weddings of that year... In fact the song was by far the best performing single of the year and even won a Grammy for the Best Song written specifically for a Motion Picture or Television category. Another hit song from 1991 that made it to Bridal Specials was the Percy Sledge cover by Michael Bolton - When A Man Loves A Woman.

Another song that I loved from the year 1991 was this one that I worked out accompaniment and harmony on a duet with my brother, More Than Words - Extreme.

Not really a year of ballads, the year saw a couple of big hits on the dancefloor - C+C Music Factory's  Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) features on most dance anthem collections.

While on 1991 Dance music... this one too makes a mark... Londonbeat - I've Been Thinking About You...

I could go on and on with music of the year 1991... the main reason being that this was a big year for music broadcasting especially in India. 1991 was the year that satellite TV started beaming into the country with CNN covering the Gulf War, STAR TV introducing us to soaps like The Bold and The Beautiful and Santa Barbara. Music found its way to our frontrooms via MTV and Channel V. And as the year drew to a close, another big hit rocked the world into the new year... with the King of Pop... Michael Jackson of course... Black or White... 

Also the year 1991 will be remembered for the demise of another great showman... Apro Freddie Mercury bidding farewell to the world with The Show Must Go On...

Well, its past midnight in Mumbai... and less than 24 hours left in this year 2016... What will this year be remembered for in 25 years from now?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Food For Thought...

Was Christmas Party time in most offices today being a Friday, and besides Secret Santa and singing of Christmas Songs, there would have been some goodies passing around including cakes and other savouries. As colleagues greeted each other for Christmas there was an expectation from the Christians to carry cakes and sweets to the office on Monday or whenever they chose to come next - maybe some chesnuts as well. The Christmas Song

My blogpost on This Day in Facebook reminded me that it is Indian Farmers Day and that the US observes Roots Day today. So I'd thought I'll cover this post on the flowers, plants, and fruits that are included in Christmas songs. Can you think of any?

After Chesnuts, the plants I can think of are the ones that we use for decorations - though we don't get much of the real ones in India - The Holly and The Ivy.

Also going with the holly are mistletoe - Mistletoe and Holly.

More mistletoe around the trees and the houses - or wherever you can steal a kiss...

Back in Mumbai, the Victory Chorus Line under the baton of Karen D'Lima Vaswani worked out this Christmas Song last year as a spoof on the beef ban that was applicable in Mumbai -  A Vegetarian Christmas...

Christmas is really close. At this time tomorrow, we'll be at Midnight Mass (Midnight Mass at my parish is at 10.30pm). All the best with the last minute preparations. Have a wonderful Christmas.  

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Are You Home Yet?

Christmas is very near... and there are so many things to get done... Sweets to be made... Clothes to be bought... gifts to be got... colleagues in office have been baking cakes late into the night... so much more to get done....

Many people who are possibly travelling back to their families have a song playing in their head... I'll Be Home For Christmas.

When that song started, you were possibly wondering why you haven't heard it before. It's a song from just two years ago... and the singer was honored with the Chart Topper Award earlier this month at the 2016 Billboard Women in Music Awards... 

Surprise...surprise... Her biggest #1 has been All About the Bass... and top tracks for this year have been Me Too and No... She's MEGHAN TRAINOR  and it's her birthday today... And like most others in the Americas and Canada (who've already got the snow) she's dreaming of a White Christmas.

Another singer in her 20's with a #MusicalBirthday today is American Idol 2007 - one of the seasons that I watched closely - Jordin Sparks. Found this Christmas tune on the soundtrack of the 2013 motion picture 'The Best Man Holiday' - Christmas Time To Me.

Jordin seems to be quite a religious type - just yesterday she invited her fans to her church for Christmas Eve services. She's also got an acting role in a faith based film titled 'The Grace of Jake' scheduled for a February release. I really liked this song that carries forward the true spirit of Christmas - This Is My Wish.

As we come a day closer to Christmas, let's keep that thought close to our heart and pray for Peace... Let There Be Peace On Earth.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Noel... Noelle...

Have you come across the name Noel? If you have a friend named Noel (or Noelle), go on check out their birthday. In 9 times out of 10, it probably December, very close to Christmas Day. That's because Noel is French for Christmas. How do I know? Thanks to The First Noel...

I have a whole lot of friends called Noel and at least two with birthdays today. And coincidently they both have the same surname - D'Souza.

I'm still in contact with the classmate from school who we were fortunate to celebrate Christmas with a few years ago in Sharjah.

I've lost contact with the lead guitarist Noel - a senior of mine from Podar college, who used to be part of the same choir (I'd like to call it a Pop Choir - since we used to sing hymns and songs in Popular formats, mainly for weddings. Christmas time was a favorite since it would have us singing at interesting venues including Bandra Gym and the Oberoi Hotel to bring in the Christmas cheer and help people remember the Silent Night.

Another Noel I know whom I met during my trip to Canada used to live in the building across me. His birthday is on 24th December. He possibly had to sacrifice his birthday parties to attend the Midnight Mass on that O Holy Night.

There's this other Noel I met at the radio station - All India Radio Mumbai. A fellow RJ one of his favorite shows was the Country and Western show on AIR FM now AIR FM Rainbow. among his very versatile ventures, Noel Keymer conducts a course for wannabe RJs. While his birthday is in the month before Christmas, he's definitely played this song on his show closer to Christmas... sung by Country legend - Kenny Rogers - When A Child Is Born.

I know many other Noel's and I'm sure I'll meet many many more during my life... A good friend of mine has a son born on the 25th December. She thought Noel was too common, so decided to flip it around... and called him LEON. Now is that where Mumbai's (and Chembur's) famous pianist and music producer/director - Leon deSouza - got his name... I'll have to ask him the next time I meet him. 

Just 4 days more for Christmas. 

Wishing you all in advance..


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ring My Bell

Only 5 more days to go for Christmas... 

and there's an absolute buzz of Christmas in the air...

The Carollers covered our zone last week... There was the Christmas Carol Festival on Saturday in the parish... Also a Christmas Carnival organised by Zeus Entertainment at Chembur's St. Anthony's Co-op. Soc.... Was in Bandra on Saturday and the shop windows were full of decorations... The buzz has even caught up in offices, with Christmas Trees and decorations everywhere... People checking out their wardrobes for outfils in red and green... And the most popular song of the season is on everyone's lips as well as on every loud speaker... Jingle Bells

Yes, there's a hustle and the bustle everywhere in town. Even the demonetization cannot dampen the spirits out here... All getting set to celebrate Christmas... and ring out the Silver Bells.

The Festival of Festive Music presented by the Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy was held over the last weekend. The last few weeks have had many more Christmas gatherings at various venues.. I'm sure many of the choirs would have performed the Carol Of The Bells.

While the sound of bells ringing are strongly associated with Christmas... this post was inspired by a non-Christmas bell-song... or rather by a #MusicalBirthday - the 59 year old
singer Anita Ward with the 1979 hit - Ring My Bell.

The bells I'm waiting for though are the Christmas bells announcing the Mass on Christmas Eve... As they announce the birth of a child who would change all things... the most important change is the one that makes us a better person... 

Friday, December 16, 2016

9 Days To Christmas

Was at Mass as usual this morning... and got a reminder that there are only 9 days left for Christmas.

16th December has been a day of special significance to my family. It was a day earmarked for the annual get-together with my dad's siblings and their families - to celebrate my grandma's birthday (Nana - as we affectionately called her). And two (maybe three) generations of Pinto's got together for a thoroughly musical evening. Besides the traditional birthday and popular songs, we'd have a first round of the family Christmas Carols including all four voices with impromptu variations... moving into medleys. And talking about Christmas medleys... remember, the Gunter Kallman choir...

As we move into the last weekend before Christmas, there seem to be events in every nook and corner of town. My parish is hosting the Deanery Sunday School - Christmas Carol Festival where young children will be presenting some interesting skits and carols. And on a far more professional scale is The Festival of Festive Music hosted every year by the Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy. Covered both these events in the blogpost last year: World Choral Day - Music Makes the World Go Round

Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy

Another event happening on home turf in Chembur, is the Christmas Carnival 2016... and includes a live performance by the Vindaloos (now I'm getting hungry).

Planning to be there at the Christmas Carnival 2016 with the family on Saturday evening... maybe we can meet there...

What Christmas activity will you indulge in this weekend... Share more details with us...

Whatever activity you may be planning and whatever your events may be, just remember the reason for the season is Mary's Boy Child.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Violin Day

The violins ringing like lovely singing.
The violins ringing like lovely song.

The Instrument Song (also called the Orchestra Song) starts with the violins ringing and singing. Enough to say how important the violin is as part of the orchestra. 

Concertos from Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Paganini - enjoyed listening to them sitting in the studios of All India Radio. Often needed to refer to the Classical Music Encyclopedia to get the correct pronounciation of names and performances. Do check out some of the best ever Classical violin performances.

From Classical Music to New Age music, we hear the amazing sound of the violin. Check out this sample from Yanni...

One of my favorite guitar pieces ever is the Brazilian Tico-Tico, but found this interesting version on the Stradivarius.

From Latino to Country Music with the Charlie Daniels Band on the Orange Blossom Special

Taking the Orange Blossom Special, The Devil Went Down To Georgia -  another interesting song from the Charlie Daniel's Band with his fantastic fiddle (that's another name for the violin). 

I recall the violin from my childhood days, we had a couple of talented violinists in the locality, who would play the violin at church occasionally. Some of them continue to play at special services and reminds me of old times. During my own stint of training the Children's Choir in Sharjah, there was this enthusiastic young girl who played at all the special occasions in the parish... I discovered one in my current parish as well and used her talent at Carol Singing last year... 

Talking of kids with the violin, here's a 6-year old with Let It Go from Disney's Frozen.

After that fantastic rendition by this prodigy, I'll leave you with a delightful video with some creative music production and a fair bit of humour.

What's the most creative violin that you've encountered? Share it with us - #AMusicalTwistToLife.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Annual Days and Fun Fairs - Keeping the Music Alive

Been a week since my last post... What happening?... Been either BUSY or lazy... 

I prefer BUSY...

The last two weekends have been absolutely jam-packed (why do they call it so) - the usual work schedules, workshops to attend, lectures to deliver, social visits, shopping and lots of entertainment... only this time at the receiving end...

My alma-mater (and now that of my sons) - OLPS High School had a weekend entertainment festival - #SPARK. The Annual Day was spread over over two evenings for logistics and audience management reasons. Was an absolute riot of colour, travel and music - all rolled up in one (no, two)

The first-half of Saturday featured the tiny-tots of the pre-primary section who sang and danced with outfits in the colour of the rainbow... each colour representing a different state of India...

The Secondary section under the guidance of #StopGaps conductor, Mr. Alfred D'Souza and a talented pianist and instructor, Dionne Moraes, put up songs from over the years from oldies to the contemporary... they even sang Hindi classics. Got a sample out here featuring my #YoungRockstar son (Kaniel) on a solo...

Sunday was a journey 'Around the World' in 150 minutes... The highlight of the evening was two kiddo MCs - Grade 4 students who had really long lines to say and said them really well. The most innocent moment of the evening was when one of these little boys came upto the chief guest, Mr. Terrence Lewis...while on stage and said..."Hold on Sir, we need to say something about you first." Well done boys... Towards the absolute end of the show came my magic moment - 'Daddytime'. My younger #Rockstar (Kendall) was one of the soloist singing individual lines in the song my siblings and I sang 30 years ago - The biggest (and longest) hit of that year - We Are The World... and he sang possibly the most difficult part... well, well, well...

The boys followed it up with a repeat over the the following week - this time together. With full enthusiasm, Kendall took the stage at #AFairToRemember - our parish #FunFair to participate in the entertainment capsule put together by the Sunday School children. Kaniel took up the accompaniment role for him as well as the group song sung by the Grade 2 kids. Unfortunately did not get hold of a video... but got the pic below from some of the catechists...

Sunday evening had lot more music with #Groove including my own guitar tutor #WilburnDCosta and the local drummer boy #FrancisFernandes, Rock n Roll from classmate #DarrenDas and a surprise Bollywood crooner in fellow emcee #RohanSequeira who kept the fair a-rocking - giving the #YoungRockstars a generous dose of inspiration. Here's a little sample though of the boys together doing #Riptide on my #Soundcloud Channel.

Will sure be lots more opportunities for family music together. I'm glad we've made the right start.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Fisherman's Feast

Have you played this game? I have with the kids... and had quite an enjoyable time fishing. I also enjoy fish on the plate... I've enjoyed lunching and even dining at the Gomantak's and Malvani restaurants in and around town - Mahesh and Apurva (Fort), Sindhudurg (Dadar) and Gajalee - being among my favorites. 

Today being the Feast of St. Andrew - the patron saint of fisherman, I tried recounting the songs with fish in them. Almost immediately I was transported to the world of fish... right Under The Sea (from the Little Mermaid).

My son sang this song at singing contest a couple of years ago and did us proud. In fact, I'm incredibly proud of the performance both my sons put up at their School Annual Day celebrations last weekend. Both had solos to sing in their respective performances... something I will share with you in due course. 

For now though I've got 'fish on my mind' and got to go grab some lunch. Goodbye, I'm Gone Fishing (Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong).

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving


It's that time of year again. The time for give Thanks.

Today is Thanksgiving in the US. And here's wishing all my friends and followers in the US a Very Happy Thanksgiving. 

As I was reflecting on the theme of Thankgiving, a host of songs came to mind saying 'Thank You'. Thought I'd share some of them with you. Even for those of us not in the US, it possibly makes good sense to reflect on what we have to be thankful for.

The first thing on my list (and most probably yours too) is FAMILY. I've been blessed with a wonderful family and am ever grateful for my wife and kids, parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, and beyond. Also the many friends as well who are like family. Speaking of family, there has been this one song that has been a signature tune in my family. I sang it as a kid as did most of my siblings... and we all taught our kids to sing it as well. I'd compiled this video in 2009 for Mothers' Day featuring a tribute from my musical son to my loving wife. I Thank The Lord - I don't  quite know the origin of the songs but would be really happy if someone would let me know.

Besides all the wonderful people around us who make our lives worth living, I am grateful to God for the wonderful talent of music that he's so abundantly showered on me and the members of my family. Thank You For the Music.

ABBA is apparently planning a 2017 reunion... we'll have to wait and see. That song is special to me since one of my sisters used to sing it really well... 

Earlier this week we celebrated the feast of St. Cecilia the patron saint of Musicians. Was invited to a Thanksgiving service at St. Peters' Church Bandra where some of Mumbai's very best talent was present to thank the Lord for music. Could not be there myself, but got a few pics posted on Facebook by Sunita Noronha (one of the people behind this annual gathering). Recognize anybody?

Family and music are there to be enjoyed, thanks to time. Yes, I need to thank the Lord for every new day He gives me... and all His wonderful creation. Have sung this song in church occasionally: We Thank Thee - Jim Reeves

Yes so much to be thankful for. Saw this anecdote in the Readers' Digest and it got a smile to me - thought I'll share it with you too.

Recent years have seen Christian Music rising in popularity with the likes of Don Moen and Paul Baloche making major contributions in Praise and Worship. I particularly like this track for Thanksgiving - (I Just Want To) Thank You Lord.

So as you get together at the table today... Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart.

If you liked the last few songs... and if you're in Mumbai or near about... you should block your schedule for this Sunday evening for the best Christian Rock show this side of the world: Rocklamation 2016

Which Thank You songs or hymns do you know or love? I'd love to know... Let's have you responses in the comments below. 

Thank You

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hymns For The Week

Saturday night that just went by... was a memorable one for Mumbai... thanks to the Global Citizen Concert in Mumbai that featured Coldplay (headlining Chris Martin). And they surely performed this song out there... Hymn For The Weekend.

More hymns coming up on this blog post... that's because today we celebrate the Feast of St. Cecilia - the Patron Saint of Musicians.
St. Cecilia
She has become a symbol of the Church’s conviction that good music is an integral part of the liturgy, of greater value to the Church than any other art. You probably have heard this quote by St. Augustine - "He who sings prays twice."

St. Augustine.
For all the musicians who play or sing in church or otherwise... it is a O Happy Day.

Indeed a happy day for choirs and musicians... especially those who follow the maxim to Let It Shine.

I am thankful to God the Almighty for the talent of music that he has showered on me... and to all the people who have helped me nurture this talent for the praise and glory of His Wonderful Marvellous Name - Somebody Bigger Than You And I.

Also grateful for the opportunity to share and nurture the talent in children and youth during my stint in Sharjah and the couple of opportunities that I got even after my return to Mumbai... I'd posted about these in my posts earlier. 

OLPS School Choir

OLPS Youth Choir @DYC Christmas Choir Fest

We're just around a month away from the season of Christmas, a time to take the music to spread the love and joy of the birth of Jesus. So let's share His love with one and all in the coming season. Right now, lets join with over 2000 singers from around the world in a virtual Hallelujah Chorus.

Hallelujah to all of you. Keep singing.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hello Everybody

Hello Everybody....

November 21st is WORLD HELLO DAY.

How many times have you said the word HELLO today? 
At least as many times as you answered the phone. 

Last year at this time, HELLO by Adele was on top of the Hot 100 charts. In fact, it spend the first 3 weeks of 2016 at the top of the charts. With that kind of coverage, you definitely would have heard the song... I even shared it on the post Hello...Hello... last year on WORLD HELLO DAY... along with many other #HelloSongs.

Being a Monday to get the week started, thought it would be nice to get the week started with a smile... this video is sure to make that happen...

Did you enjoy that?

Enjoy #AMusicalTwistToLife regularly... just click the FOLLOW button on the right.

Enjoy the day ahead... HELLO...
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