Music: My Music

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Music is a strange thing, and it is hard to say what it means for me. I have a reasonably wide range, or collection, of music and often choose my music depending on my mood. But, I have been planning to write about ‘Driving Music’ for a very long time, so maybe this is a good time to do it.

 

Sometimes, in the morning, or particularly when I am stuck in the traffic, I will listen to calming music. Something like ‘The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra’, or ‘Wahe Guru’, or ‘Aum Man Padme Hum’.

 

There are times when I will listen to some Indian maestros, like Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia on the flute, or Pandit Shivkumar Sharma on the santoor. They don’t find their way into Western lists of the world’s greatest this, or that. However, their music is divine.

At others, I will listen to the Tuvan throat singing of Huun-Huur-Tu, or the music of Mamer, the singer from West China. I love the singing of Tenger, or Mongolian pop music.

 

If I listen to ‘Bollywood’ music, it is normally the music of the 1960’s and 1970’s. What is produced these days (with a few exceptions like ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’) is really awful What you see below, are two absolute classics from Bollywood’s earlier years.

The first is about Bombay, and the second is a magnificent dance number called “Eeena Meena Deeka”. I remember dancing to it in Shanghai. Yep. I danced!

 

The other thing I like a lot, is shaman drumming, or some traditional Japanse drum groups like Tao, or the Kato drummers.

When I am in a more rocky mood, I will listen to good old rock music. Pink Floyd, the early music of Jethro Tull, the early music of Deep Purple, Dire Straits, Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead, Grand Funk, ELP, Donovan, The Byrds, Long John Baldry. The list can go on and on.

 

What I have discovered recently, is goth metal, and groups like Leaves Eyes come to mind. Or, Epica.

And, what I also really like is pagan music. I have discovered some more European groups like Omnia or Faun, who are brilliant in this form of music.

I must say that some of these North European groups are really interesting.

 

Music is a mood thing. It needs  to match the mood you are in. It can uplift you, or depress you. I generally listen to a lot of music when I am at the computer, especially when I am editing my photographs, or writing.

Other ones I like, from a more instrumental perspective, are Tangerine Dream, Hevia or Mike Oldfield.

Hevia, as you will see from this video, plays the bagpipes, and his sister is on percussion.

The waveforms of music have an intimate relationship with us, as human beings.

 

Death Metal, on the one hand, rouses the beast in us. It hammers at our consciousness, and can take you into an entirely different dimension.  It is violent. It speaks a different language.

 

Much pop music of today is empty. It is, as Bowie is once said to have remarked (and, I don’t know if it is true) plastic pop that reflects today’s plastic soul.

 

 

On the one hand, like shaman drumming – they bring us back to our roots.  When you listen to Shiv Kumar Sharma’s music of the mountains / Hari Prasad’s music of the rivers / Huun-Huur-Tu, you are transported back into the bowels of the earth, and you can feel the spirit of the natural world flow through you.

 

This then, is pure music.

 

Our choice of music reflects our stage in life, our growth as individuals, our society, our culture, and the state of our soul.

When I was sixteen, the Woodstock film came to India. All of us were awestruck. There was such a sense of liberation that we all experienced when we saw that movie. Did it influence my choice of career? Subconsciously? Maybe? I then went into the groovy world of beads around my neck, torn clothes and shoulder length hair. Out went the Army.

Then, my first Holi during my engineering college. After consuming copious amounts of bhaang, which is quite psychedelic, I then listened to Pink Floyd’s ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’. I still remember the inner world that was being played out. It was a moving canvas, painted in the style of the Renaissance painters, with God dragging a screaming girl by her hair through the heavens and, at the end of the song, flinging her at the feet of The Devil with the words – “Here, one more of your fans”, being the only thing he said. Soon after, I started to study the occult, and life was never the same.

 

We each choose our own path, and music accompanies us on the highway of life.

36 Comments

  1. I’m not familiar with most of your music but I found the bagpipes interesting! I also like the Beatles version of With a little help from my friends better than Cocker. And Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan made me smile!

  2. Thanks Rajiv, I really enjoyed this post! LOVE all types of music as long as they make me feel and dance I go with the flow. For me,Tenger-Mongol hun is most interesting. I’m a Hungarian by birth and it’s been said that the Hun’s or Hungarians might be originated from around Mongolia. Some stories tell about the famous King Attila the King of Huns (my brothers name is Attila 🙂 )
    No picking for me, music is powerful in any shape or form!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Thanks!! Glad you like it… Hungarian, you say?

      I have two albums by a Hungarian folk group called Muziskas. In one they are with a singer called Sebestyen Marta ( I think I spelled her name incorrectly). Very nice music indeed.

      Dancing? Unless I am tipsy, I don’t dance. The earth rumbles if I do

      1. You spelled it correctly Rajiv!
        You can google and listen to her singing “The English Patient”, soundtrack, Marta Sebestyen and Gabriel Yared.
        Also she has ( my favorite) Deep Forest-Marta’s song.
        And lastly she also sings with the group Muzsikas, the song is titled Istenem, Istenem ( which means Oh Lord, oh Lord). All these songs are on You Tube. These are all based on old and traditional Hungarian folk music.
        Glad that you like such music, so you might just enjoy these if you wish to listen and you don’t need to dance 🙂 these are more for listening. Enjoy!
        Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. What I find so interesting is that music seems to be an important part of almost every culture. Even the musical instruments are similar. Drums are found all over the world, so are the woodwind instruments and the stringed instruments. When we were living in Paris, many years ago, there were a group of African drummers who would assemble in the Metro. You could feel the beat in your chest and you were drawn into the sound like a magnet. People abandon their destination and walk over to where the drummers were playing. We just stood there listening to those drums like they were talking to us. It was magical.
    Leslie

    1. Yes, I can believe that. Drumming is – I will use the word – the most primitive form of music. Yet, it speaks to us. When I listen to the shaman drumming, I find it can be almost hypnotic.

      Also, the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra sung 108 times is hypnotic.

      Music reflects the times as well. Today’s music reflects today’s materialistic culture.

      I am reading a book about Ghalib. Until the mid 1800’s, the court favoured great poets. In the 1800’s, there were Ghalib, Momin, Zauq etc. Then, after the Mutiny, the British obliterated the old order, and replaced it with a joyless new order.

      It was said of Ghalib that, if he had written in English, he would have been considered the world’s greatest poet. While it may be true, I detest such statements, because they reflect an innate lack of appreciation for languages other than English

  4. I love your selections. I saved most of them. I have collections of music from all over the world. Are you familiar with the Royal Drummers of Burundi (love to listen to it when we are in a car)? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvXtoVZrv4o . Have you heard Baaba Maal? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FBFmWXHPB4 . Another one he did was an Afro/Celtic song “I will Follow you” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5jLLR03WHE . Hope you enjoy these.

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