Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chak De India...Rashtriya Khel Divas

The Olympics just ended last week and the Indian contingent including the medal winners - Sakshi Malik and P.V. Sindhu - have come back to a warm welcome. Also gaining accolades are the 'Produnova' girl Dipa Karmakar and shooter Abhinav Bindra who came so close.

Over the last month, the social networks have been hyperactive with discussion regarding sports in the country - from congratulations to criticisms of sports personnel, officials, administrators and even socialites and general public. 

Today India celebrates sport in a special way as we observe the birth anniversary of one of the country's leading hockey players who led India to Gold medals in three consecutive Olympic Games - in 1928, 1932 and 1936. 

Growing up we've played cricket, hockey, football, kabaddi, kho-kho, badminton, table tennis in the neighbourhood and at the summer camp.  We even participated in tournaments organised in our society and sometimes were part of the winning teams. I've played baseball a couple of time at the Family camp we used to attend at Khandala. I've tried tennis during one of my vacation job stints staying at Matheran. I've studied at a school (OLPS) that has produced sportspersons like Austin Coutinho and his protege Aditya Tare. My college (R.A. Podar) has been famous for successful cricketers it produced including Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar. But one sportsperson I've known personally was this girl who stayed just a block down my road who has been captain of the Indian Womens Hockey team - Sybil D'mello (now Miranda). And the mention of Indian hockey, especially womens, reminds me of 'Chak De India'

Nowadays, I have a renewed interest in sport thanks to the interest of my son in Football and the weekly training schedules he attends in School under the guidance of the coaching team led by Mr. Phil D'Cruz. I also get a daily dose of sport from Austin Coutinho's Cartoon Page.

Austin who studied in the same school as me is among the most knowledgeable sports journalist that I may ever have in my circle... He's been a regular on FirstPost where he covers a wide range of sports. However, having been a fast bowler of repute in the Mumbai club circuits in his time he has a special flavour for cricket. They are lots and lots of cricket movies in India, but no one would ever forget Lagaan.

Following the success of the Indian Premier League, another League has been gaining in popularity over the past three years - the Indian Super League. Managed to get passes from a friend for an ISL game between Mumbai and Pune last year... and was a thorough enjoyment to take my kids and their friends for the game. I also enjoyed watching two particular football movies - one from Bollywood - Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal , and the other from Gurinder Chadha - Bend It Like Beckham.

While team sports are what we all enjoy participating in, there are more challenges in individual performances. And an athlete who has made India proud by a Olympian who recently had a film honouring him - Milkha Singh - Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

Another athlete who has got recognition from Bollywood has been the steeplechaser Paan Singh Tomar.  

To end this post on a lighter note, there was this joke going around when Sindhu won the silver medal in the recent Olympics. It said that this man (or rather movie) should be given the credit for India's performance in badminton for attracting people to the sport. The movie is Humjoli and the man - Jeetu.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Stream of Birthdays... Family and Friends

How many friends telephone numbers can you recall at the top of your head?

Remember the days when our brains used to store large volumes of data in it - telephone numbers and birthdays... Now you don't need to remember all these things - thanks to the SmartPhone....

Yes... Every morning I get a reminder on the list of friends who celebrate their birthdays today... and today the list had way more names than usual... including some that I would not need a reminder on.. including one that I dare not forget!!!

Last year on the wife's birthday, this blog included a post - Who is He...or She? of a couple of singers that share the same birthday... you'll have to read it to know who...

My wife is a singer as well... and over the last year has been nurturing the talent with active involvement in the parish Konkani choir. A couple of months ago, she got together a group of neighbours to put up an event at the Parish Feast... a series of Konkani songs. 


While on Konkani songs and birthdays, I remember an elder cousin - Deena - who lived with us  for a few years back in the '70s. In those days before TV programming, there were occasions when we would be entrusted to her care... and entertainment. This is one of the songs that she used to sing... Mujhi Mummy (Kaun Bha Thi).


Emceed the Silver Wedding of a Goan couple recently, and the second song for the evening was a favorite from one of the greatest Konkani films ever made - Amchi Noxib... The song Moubailo Duo.

In attendance at that party was the husband-wife duo that's been giving most Mumbai live performers - solos, duos or full bands - a run for their money. Heard their name mentioned on many occasions as a major competitor in the Mumbai music circles. All those who know them would agree... and if you look at their Facebook page, you can't miss some of their extremely loyal fans from around the world - #MichaelnSunita

Birthday boy Michael is an extremely talented singer having sung with Mumbai's hottest venues - including the Taj and Oberoi for many years. He's got a fantastic sense of humour and has the audience thoroughly entertained with the great vocals interspersed with anecdotes. He knows how to get the crowd on the dance floor and keep them just there. Providing the music and harmony is Sunita playing the keyboards and crooning along all the female tracks of the day. I've known her for years having sung in the same Wedding Mass choir in the late 80s, and competed with her and her sis (Sharmila) in the solo and group events at inter-college competitions including Malhar and Bombay University YouthFest.
Happy Birthday Michael... Let The Music Flow...


More Konkani Music reviews on future posts coming up.... Stay tuned... Better still, get the post directly into your inbox... just subscribe to the feed here.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bhai Behen Ka Pyar

Enjoyed a bonus holiday today - in celebration of Raksha Bandhan - a festival of filial love and protection. Remembered and reread my post from this day last year - Hey Sister.

Spent last evening with the only sibling we have in Mumbai - my wife's brother and his family. We recalled our growing years and remembered special moments in growing up. 

Being a holiday, I woke up a little later than usual and decided to put together a homemade breakfast. The menu - plain parathas, or what we call 'breakfast chapatis'. The dough was perfectly kneaded and the end result was exactly as I have remembered as a child and in more recent times - when Mum and Dad put their hands together to serve us this traditional meal.

Though the day, and especially at Mass this evening, I was connected in a strange way to my brother and sisters in Auckland and Ontario. It was a day of special meaning for all of us - a day that will always connect us as a family, no matter how far we are. As we observed the Second Death Anniversary of my Dad, there was a host of memories of him that were shared over Facebook - some of the most touching ones being from his sisters. 

So as I wind up on this day, there is just one song that comes to my mind... an old song by The Hollies - that connects the festival today to the one person I owe my music to - Dad to me... but a Brother to many... Good night.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Independence... In The Movies

Yesterday India celebrated its 70th Independence Day. While it was a special occasion deserving a post on this blog, I opted for family time instead. So we stepped out of home on a day into town... and were overwhelmed with the crowd at the 

But Independence and Patriotism is not just for a day... While I and most of you would have been born post-Independence, it is important that we understand the challenges that our freedom fighters faced to make India independent. Most of us who have lived abroad have been lured by the call of the West or Down Under, but how well do we remember our roots. 

We have seen movies and movies with the theme of Indian Independence... I remember going with the family to watch Gandhi in the cinema hall as a pre-teen. Also Mother India on TV many many years back. On the first normal day of this 70th year of independence, I just thought I'd share some of the great patriotic movie moments that I can recall. Ironically most of these moments seem to be outside of India...

Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham

Last year in Happy Independence Day, I shared an international rendition of the Indian National Anthem. This version is an Indian rendition in an international setting.

Chak De! India

On the backdrop of the Olympics and the fantastic effort of the Indian contingent in the sport campaign, I recall this scene from one of the greatest Indian team sport movies ever - Chak De! India.


I haven't watched Airlift, but the setting of the movie on the Kuwait crisis is close to my heart, having had close relatives who were stranded in the crisis and needing to be evacuated.

The Indian in us is special and needs to be kept alive...ALWAYS.



Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Birthday Tribute... to the One and Only...

Started the Independence Day weekend like any other day... woke up early and headed to Church to the celebration of the Mass. Stepped up to lead the singing at church, again like any other day. But today was not just any other day.... TODAY was special. 

There was a memory of the person whose shoes I stepped into. My first ever music teacher... the inspiration on which this particular blog began... the one person who has received the most mentions on the post here... especially initial ones. Yes today is the Birth Anniversary of my Dad.

It's all about memories... and the memories are right here in this blog in my earliest posts. Today on what would have been Dad's 76th, I'm sharing my post from this day last year.

Laugh Aloud - 75 times over 

This post recounts some of the funny songs that were part of his repertoire over the years. I recall a song in Konkani which has a similar theme to Female Wrestler. If anyone has the lyrics of this songs, please share it with me. 

Green Songs from the Past 

Written on World Environment Day last year, I had recalled some of the songs on the theme of Green that we learnt as kids - including one that has come down from generations. 

God Will Make A Way 

'In His Time - He makes all things beautiful' - A reflection on some of his favorite religious tunes...

Many of the posts with my personal experience have references to Dad... Below are some more posts with Daddy in them.

Music and Math 

I'm always looking for feedback and comments on what you think about posts on this blog and your own experiences with the music out here.... Do feel free to use the comments section below and share your inputs at anytime. 

Also do connect with me if you'd like to add the Musical Twist to your real life at parties or get-togethers - whether it be a Wedding or Anniversary, Christening or Communion, a Special Birthday or just any other social or professional gathering. Ciao.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Money For Nothing

Just wrote a blogpost joining in the celebrations of #InternationalYouthDay today. Also got the reminder on the #MusicalBirthday for today - being among the popular artists whose songs I loved to play during my teens. 

Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler - Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler was popular in the late 70s and 80s as the leader of the Dire Straits - the band he co-founded with his brother David Knopfler. Among the top songs that I heard and loved at the time, also were very popular on the request show I handled on radio including:

Money For Nothing

Money For Nothing was the first video to be played on MTV Europe and starts with the line "I Want My MTV" featuring the voice of Sting who is credited as a co-writer. 

Walk Of Life

A standard on the jive list of most Mumbai bands in the 1980s, Walk Of Life was also the first keyboard solo I learnt to play.

Sultans Of Swing

A song for every guitarist, Sultans of Swing has a unique sound quality produced on the Fender Strat. My 13-year old guitarist son is working on this song nowadays.

Romeo and Juliet

A song about romance naming the most famous ever couple-in-love from Shakespearean times.


After disbanding Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler launched solo with Golden Heart. I particularly like this song which has a father-son conversation. 

There'll Be Some Changes Made

Among the many collaborations of Mark Knopfler is a beautiful one in the Country genre with Chet Atkins. I own the CD and cherish it. 

Dire Straits in Mumbai

There is a Dire Straits Tribute show in the Mumbai circuits by One Night Stand - a band comprising a batchmate from Podar College - Sarosh Izedyar - a leading lead guitarist who tours with the likes of Farhan Akhtar and Shaan. They played at the #BlueFrog in July and my sources indicate that they have another performance lined up next month... so stay tuned.


A couple of weeks ago, Catholic Youth from around the world got together at Krakow to celebrate World Youth Day. Last Sunday the youth from our Deanery celebrated Deanery Youth Day.

If you are young, no matter your belief, TODAY IS YOUR DAY... It's 


Wishing all the Young Ones...

Over the past few years, I have had the great opportunity of working with Youth - whether it has been at Catechism or working with choirs. The year began for me A Musical Sunday with Mumbai Youth. And my post has more details...

The Italian actress, Sophia Loren started acting at 15. Her words are an expression of her attitude. She's 81 but for those who have seen her perform... she will always be Forever Young.

This year, International Youth Day focuses on the role that Youth can play in eradicating poverty and achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production. Today's youth indeed have many choices... What the youth need is the right guidance and support to make those choices.

So let's all move ahead with each day with inspiration from the song by One DirectionLive While We're Young.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Whitney - A #MusicalBirthday Remembrance

When do you start having your own choice of music?

We grew up with a lot of music. Most of the music at home tended to be Daddy's choice. But that changed when we got into our teens. Each of us started to have our own preferences in music. My brother became a die-hard Beatles fan along with a good friend. I tended towards easy-to-play songs. But one sister of mine found her maturing voice singing the songs of Whitney Houston. Every competition she participated in from 1985 to 1990 (and there was quite a few of them), it had to be a Whitney song. And she carried it off really well with the right level of emotion. 

Her biography on Billboard.com reads: 
Whitney Houston was inarguably one of the biggest female pop stars of all time. Her accomplishments as a hitmaker were extraordinary; just to scratch the surface, she became the first artist ever to have seven consecutive singles hit number one, and her 1993 Dolly Parton cover "I Will Always Love You" became nothing less than the biggest hit single in rock history. Houston was able to handle big adult contemporary ballads, effervescent, stylish dance-pop, and slick urban contemporary soul with equal dexterity; the result was an across-the-board appeal that was matched by scant few artists of her era, and helped her become one of the first black artists to find success on MTV in Michael Jackson's wake.

Today on what would have been her 53rd birthday, I've lined up ten of her songs that I (and the world as well) liked best. Have a listen and share your favorite Whitney Houston song. 

Saving All My Love For You (1985)

Whitney's first Number One hit and first Grammy award as Best Pop Vocal Performance (Female) in 1986.

Greatest Love Of All (1986)

The song was a hit for George Benson ten years earlier in 1977.

Didn't We Almost Have It All (1987)

I Want To Dance With Somebody (1987)

Possibly the most upbeat song from Whitney won her her second Grammy Award.

Where Do Broken Heart Go (1988)

Back to the heart-breaks and the ballads

One Moment In Time (1988)

The song for the Seoul Olympics - an absolute winner.

I'm Your Baby (1990)

Funky Pop

I Will Always Love You (1992)

From The Bodyguard with Whitney in the main role, 5 million copies in sales and 14 weeks in Number one. Would make anyone cry.

I'm Every Woman (1992)

Another revival - this time Chaka Khan's 1978 hit - recorded for 'The Bodyguard'

Exhale (1995)

From 'Waiting To Exhale' - a Shoop Shoop song. I thought only Cher does Shoop Shoop

Monday, August 8, 2016

Keeping Olympic Time

The world is back in Brazil - this time for the Olympics that kicked off over the weekend. Was reading an interesting article on Olympic Humour this morning written by a sports-writer and cartoonist friend, Austin Coutinho

Over the years the Olympics have inspired a good lot of motivational songs encouraging effort to maximize one's potential and give it your best. The first Olympics Opening Ceremony I remember watching on TV was the 1984 Los Angeles Games when we woke up at 4.30 am. And the song I remember from that elaborate Opening Ceremony is "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand) which I believe was performed by Olivia Newton-John. I can't seem to get a hold on this one, but have the link to the Diana Ross version instead. 

Four years later (1988) in Seoul, the whole world was Hand in Hand with Koreana.

Part of the 1988 Olympic music was Whitney Houston's award winning single One Moment In Time. I've played accompaniment for this song on the keyboard as well as the guitar on many many occasions for my sister and others as well for various performances and competitions.

Atlanta in 1996 carried forward the same theme with Gloria Estefan's Reach 

Keeping with aspirational theme, Olivia Newton-John performed with John Farnham at the 2000 Sydney Olympics urging us on to Dare To Dream.

Back to the present time, the songs for 2016 Rio Olympics is a samba-rap fusion by Thiaguinho and Projota titled Alma e Coração" (Soul and Heart).

And the English song on that list is Rise from Katy Perry

So let's rise to every opportunity that comes our way and support the spirit of Sport. Enjoy the Olympics. Despite all the controversies that may surround this one, I trust there will be some exceptional performances and records to make this one memorable.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Best Is Yet to Come

I've been assigned to organize a party this weekend - an 80th birthday party. And my Musical Calendar notified me that today is a special day for the music world - a living legend in the world of music has reached a personal milestone - celebrating 90 years today. 

Tony Bennett singing - 90 years
Tony  Bennett (90)
Tony Bennett started singing for money at age 13 as a singing waiter but really started professionally in the late 1940's after serving in the Army during World War 2. In his career spanning nearly 70 years, he's released over 70 albums. His biggest single of all time and his first Grammy award in 1963 was for I Left My Heart In San Francisco.

A king of collaborations, most of the songs I've featured here are recorded in his Duet collections and you will see the spectrum of the songs he's sung - from Jazz Standards to Pop Hits - songs written by him and songs composed by others. And Tony's 90th birthday is going to be celebrated singing with his dear friends some of whom are featured below - 9 songs for his 90 years. I'm happy to say that I myself have sung many of these songs at competitions as well as performances at birthdays and celebrations where I have entertained. Some great music is available right here for your entertainment. Just plug in your speakers and ENJOY...

1. Rags to Riches: This song was originally recorded by Tony Bennett with Percy Faith and his orchestra in 1953. He's here with Elton John

2. New York State of Mind: Tony Bennett has lived most of his life in New York. Just listening to him and Billy Joel took me back to August of 2008 when I visited The Big Apple with the family. 

3. The Lady Is A Tramp: The New York song that has had a special place for me was by Frank Sinatra (New York New York), who is also attributed with a great version of this song performed by Tony Bennett with Lady Gaga.

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga were on tour just last year did an entire series of duet together in the Cheek to Cheek album. If you've been following this blog, their duets have been included on two other posts - American Standard 101 and Their Playing His (Cole Porter) Songs.

4. La Vie En Rose: This song is a repeat on this blog as well, performed earlier by Louis Armstrong in La Fête Nationale on French National Day. This duet is with Canadian singer K D Lang.

5. Don't Get Around Much Anymore: Another Canadian collaboration with the popular Michael Bublé. It's not about Tony Bennett. Even at 90, he gets around quite a bit, possibly likely to even tour this year. 

6. On The Sunny Side Of The Street: Going from Canada to the American Country. Tony Bennett has paired up with another legend - Willie Nelson (7 years his junior) on this fantastic rendition. I love this song and is part of my Jazz set in a medley with Pennies from Heaven. 

8. For Once In My Life: 90 years is a long journey, and Tony Bennett has reached out to two (or maybe three generations) with his genre of Traditional Pop Music. He's not just a great singer but a known artist too. He'll be looking back at his whole life and cherish his wonderful years of music. Singing the Stevie Wonder classic alongwith Marc Anthony.

9. The Best Is Yet To Come: He maybe 90 years old, but he promises us that there is lots more. Singing this song with Diana Krall - another great Canadian performer. 

Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come - That's what the 90th Birthday collection featuring  Lady Gaga, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel and others. The show is to be aired on December 20th on NBC is titled. 

“This is a day I’ll never forget as long as I live. To be treated this way at 90 years old, I feel like I’m 19 years old. It’s a wonderful treat. It’s one of the very special things in my whole life,”  

Happy Birthday Tony Bennett

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