Of Stories and Songs

September 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

I love stories. Reading them, listening to somebody narrate them, imagining how the characters, locales and events play out. I used to write them too. Stories. A long time back.

I like songs. Songs sung well. Songs with meaning. Songs which are not songs just for the sake of being songs. You know what I mean? Maybe you don’t. But I do. I always know what I mean.

But stories which are songs? Or songs which are stories? What brilliance they are!!

Songs actually started out as a way to tell stories. In the olden times, people would sing of stuff that happened around them or of stuff that happened to/around their ancestors (also known as ‘folk’ songs). They still do. But not as much.

Coming to Bollywood and Hindi music in general, there isn’t much of a storytelling tradition there. But there are a few songs that come to mind. In no particular order:

The story of India’s most famous tragic romantic figures, as explained in Aaja Nachle

I love stories. Reading them, listening to somebody narrate them, imagining how the characters, locales and events play out. I used to write them too. Stories. A long time back.

I like songs. Songs sung well. Songs with meaning. Songs which are not songs just for the sake of being songs. You know what I mean? Maybe you don’t. But I do. I always know what I mean.

But stories which are songs? Or songs which are stories? What brilliance they are!!

Songs actually started out as a way to tell stories. In the olden times, people would sing of stuff that happened around them or of stuff that happened to/around their ancestors (also known as ‘folk’ songs). They still do. But not as much.

Coming to Bollywood and Hindi music in general, there isn’t much of a storytelling tradition there. But there are a few songs that come to mind. In no particular order:

The story of India’s most famous tragic romantic figures, as explained in Aaja Nachle

The story of Deception in Louw from Karz(the original movie)

And also as later explained by Himace in Karzzzzz. He’s done a decent job with the song, regardless of what he did with the so-bad-its-good other song in the same movie Tandoori Nights

And a recent number from Bollywood…from the proponent of the Drunken Monkey Style of singing, Mohit Chauhan. Not exactly telling a full story as such (just a middle section which tells a story), but in an age where such songs are rare, a welcome tune.

That’s pretty much what I remember from Bollywood.

There’s one Rajasthani folk song, Beero Binjaaro from Coke Studio Pakistan which narrates a story. A lilting tune.

Also, my favourite angrezi song of all time, American Pie by Don McLean. A story spanning a generation.

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The Drunken Monkey Style of Singing

April 29, 2011 § 1 Comment

…is what Mohit Chauhan specializes in. If one notices, he sings with a slightly destabilized view of the lyrics. Like there’s a chance that he will forget what the next line of lyric is supposed to be. Or if he will fall down drunk at any moment in the song.

Somehow, girls find this sort of singing cute or sweet or whatever it is that girls nowadays say for things they like. I guess its because they find it alluring to be sung to by a drunk amnesiac. I like his songs though. Not for the singing. Anybody can do that. For the lyrics, very few get the songs like he does. Most of them are well written (Most, coz I just heard the title track of “Isi Life Mein” [Don’t stop yourself, come on and reach out, now this is your chance, come on and reach out], perfect alcohol addiction reform song).

Also, the following.

I believe, he sings like that on purpose. To sound more romantic I guess.

Also I had also thought that I had it figured out on how to sing like him. A step by step of how would be the following.

1) Get drunk. 3-4 pegs of fine scotch works well.

2) Think you can sing.

3) Believe you can sing.

4) Actually sing.

——–

Just as when the party was getting going, everybody asked him to sing a song. He was 4 pegs down, the fifth in his grasp. Then he sang. He sang what he thought was a song in the Mohit Chauhan tradition. The Drunken Monkey Style of Singing. He sang. As words came, unbidden to his slurring lips. He sang. As everyone (including three Project manager level personages)  sat listening, spellbound. Or shocked, he couldn’t tell which. Managers don’t show their emotions (or don’t have them). Then he heard the lyrics coming out of his mouth. Shocked it was than. Shocked was what their expressions were. Yet, he sang. He sang till the last stanza. Then, he quickly drained the 5th peg down his throat. The song he had sung in front of his superiors was this:

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