Last night, I was privileged to attend another performance by Raghu Dixit at B-Flat. This would be the fifth time I am watching Raghu Dixit live – first was at Opus, second at a Nokia concert, third at foss.in, fourth at a TiE mixer, and fifth at B-flat yesterday.

More than a year ago, I watched Raghu Dixit live for the first time at Opus, and I am still enthralled by his music, and the sound is still fresh.

I had a clever little idea yesterday morning. I remembered I had a photo of myself with Raghu when he was meeting folks who love his music at a CCD to give away free passes to the Nokia concert where he was performing. I got a large print of that photo so that I could get his autograph on it – a simple autograph doesn’t look attractive enough to go on the wall, but photo of me + my favorite artist + his autograph – that will definitely go on my (physical) wall! :)

Raghu Dixit Autograph in Kannada

Due to the odd size of the photograph, I ended up getting two prints, which led to me requesting Raghu to sign one in English and one in Kannada, thankfully he smiled and obliged a fan’s request!

Raghu Dixit Autograph in English

There are a few reasons why I am a fan of Raghu Dixit and The Raghu Dixit Project:

  • His powerful voice. You got to see him perform to experience it. I had pulled along a friend yesterday, by the end of the show, a new fan was born.
  • His amazing ability to bring back old poetry by the likes of Shishunaala Sharifa and Dr Da Ra Bendre, into new life with the use of drums, guitars, violin, and of course, his voice.
  • His great sense of humor. He brings the audience to ease and gets them to participate and experience the music. He was in full flow as usual yesterday night.
  • The talented artistes that comprise The Raghu Dixit Project – Vijay Joseph (guitars), Karthik Iyer (violin), Gaurav Vaz (bass guitar) and Willy? (I could not catch this name yesterday) (drums) have such amazing stage presence that I’ve never seen a crowd not go wild when they do their solo bits.
  • Their universal appeal – Raghu was saying yesterday that they’ve just finished touring UK, Japan, etc. and they’ll be touring Abu Dhabi, Kenya, etc. in the rest of the year!
  • The greatest hack by Raghu Dixit is that he made the Kannada language cool for this generation.

If you haven’t heard them already, I recommend that you hear their music right away. My most favorite songs by Raghu Dixit are “En Ide” and “Ee Tanavu Ninnade” from Psycho soundtrack, the title track and “Yello Jhinugiruva” from Just Math Mathalli soundtrack, and almost all the songs of their first album. I wish Raghu would make it easy to buy these CDs on his website. On that note, I can’t wait for their second album and “Superman” soundtrack to come out.

If I go to watch them perform for the sixth time, I think they might get fed up of me, that’s when I’ll sing “Ninna poojege bande…” ;-)

What is it that I like about IMDB?

  • Shows me what are the movies that are popular in theatres right now
  • Shows what new movies are releasing this week
  • The first item on every movie page is the average user rating
  • It links to every individual artiste involved (actor, director, etc.) so that if I like to follow a particular actor like Russell Crowe, then I just have to visit his page and I have all the details right there in a compact list.
  • Trivia and Quotes from the movie – the amusing/fun aspect.
  • The information is not cluttered with random reviews, that is on a separate page if you are so inclined.

But IMDB is for movies only.

What about an IMDB for music?

Yes, there is last.fm but it concentrates on the actual playing of the existing music content that they have (which it is very good at), but not about the people who make the music or their discographies. For example, I don’t think they list albums/songs that are upcoming or are not part of their playlists.

What about an IMDB for books?

Yes, there is Amazon and there is WeRead.com but I notice the same problems as last.fm.

What I’m looking for is something like the burrp of music and books: showcasing (1) the latest, (2) the best and (3) the right kind of information, nothing else.

Also, are there similar sites for India? For example, I’d love to see the list of the top rated movie soundtracks in 2009 by “Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy” or the top songs ever by Pentagram (I just love “Bad Man”), and so on. Are there such lists and information already out there?

I think IMDB-equivalents for music and for books can be successful online businesses and communities.

Update : “Good Reads” seems to be a good option for books.

Update 2 : Looks like “MovieDB.in” wants to be the IMDB of Indian movies.

Note: This blog post is part of the “Ideas are Cheap. Execution is Everything.” series where I pen down thoughts on what I see is a need in the market or what could be a successful idea/business.

Is it just me or are there really so many “aware” songs out there in
the past few years… And so many good ones at that too.

From self-aware songs:

To world-aware songs:

And saving my newest favorite for last:


There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does
not find relief in music. — T.S. Eliot

My latest “power song” is
the flagship song of the Colourblind
band
.
Who are these guys? I have no idea. From what I read on their website,
they were/are a couple of rockers who got their album recorded with
Sony Music India in 1999. Not sure how many copies they actually sold.
They had got great reviews by
newspapers
but apparently still didn’t get support from their recording company:

We sold 10,000 copies in 2 weeks. Regardless of that Sony didn’t put
out more copies in the market and published only 500 CDs.

Nine years later, we have the ubiquitous www giving opportunities for
everyone to spread their music. For example Kal-Jug by Azad
Zeeshan
to some awesome
fusion flute by Bapu
Padmanabha
on
Muziboo and many more bands featured in the
RadioVerve channels.

Unfortunately, you get to hear these songs only online inside
a browser. Why is this a problem? Because I listen to most of my
music on my iPod
during commute, runs or walks.

This is why I really wish Muziboo/RadioVerve/etc. would consider
producing an Indian “amateur” music album. A while back,
Niara and myself were discussing that
the potential is really big
considering the online virality (do a couple of youtube videos or at
least put some of the mp3s online) all the way to marketing at the
national level in cahoots with a big production house. Imagine how
many college bands would want to be featured.

Oh heck, you could even do a reality show on TV to select the bands
whose songs get to be in the album! (well, okay, maybe this one is
a stretch)

On the other hand, I sorely wish there was an indie iTunes store in
India where I could purchase these songs
. Or perhaps even
a Sell-a-Band
for an Indian audience.

For now, I’m waiting for MusicYogi.com to deliver my copy of The
Raghu Dixit Project’s new album
.
Can’t wait to listen to ‘Mysore Se Aayi Re’ on my iPod.

Shreyas, Gaurav and the gang have
relaunched RadioVeRVe
and it now rocks even more than before!

Look out for the new RadioVeRVe!

Things they haven’t changed:

  • They play music by independent bands from India. That’s right, these
    are all Indian bands.

Things I liked:

  • The new look feels good and is intuitive. How’d he do that? Hats off
    to Ganesh Rao.
  • Amazing list of channels – from Rock, Metal, Easy to Classical
    (carnatic!) and Konkani
  • We can now play the radio from within the browser.
  • Each song is accompanied with info about the band on the right side,
    the importance of this cannot be understated. We get to know more
    about the band like who’s on the vocals, the drums, the bass, as
    well as the history of the band.

Things that I would like to see or improve:

  • Some of the RadioVeRVe audio ads are not very comfortable to listen
    to… sorry guys, but the harsh voices in the metal-style ads are a
    little jarring in the midst of listening to songs.
  • A ‘Buy this song’ option so that I can purchase and download the
    song and play it on my iPod eventually – for example, I want to
    listen to “Shadow of the Sun” by Leminsk8 again, but can’t :( .

So, go ahead and listen to the best of Indi Indie
music
.

Although it started with sports, it turned out to be a musical weekend.

Saturday afternoon : Parikrma Senior Sports Day

Parikrma had a sports meet of the senior children among all its various schools – from Jayanagar to Sahakarnagar, and it was amazing to see all the boisterous children compete against each other, including gritting their teeth in the running races.

Parikrma Senior Sports Day
Parikrma Senior Sports Day
Parikrma Senior Sports Day
Parikrma Senior Sports Day
Parikrma Senior Sports Day
Parikrma Senior Sports Day
Parikrma Senior Sports Day
Parikrma Senior Sports Day

I may or may not have a hand in making the pom-poms for the children to use in one of the exercise-dances ;-)

Saturday evening : Bengalooru Habba Music Show

A call from a friend got me rushing to Palace Grounds for the Bengalooru Habba. I got to see many good bands play – I particularly liked the Amit Heri band (especially “Mahaganapatim” from the Morning Raga movie) and the Ministry of Blues.

Bengalooru Habba Music Show
Bengalooru Habba Music Show
Bengalooru Habba Music Show

Then, came the maestro – Sivamani. It was going to be a percussion evening, and he got traditional “Kutti” drummers to join him in creating fusion music, and it was something that has to be simply experienced to explain. For a person who tried to learn drums, Sivamani is God. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for long, because I had promised to meet a few friends for dinner.

Bengalooru Habba Music Show
Bengalooru Habba Music Show

Sitting in a sofa in the 2nd row in the VVIP section rocks! Thanks to my friend Karthik for that :)

(more…)

I chanced upon this wonderful song by Eliane Elias:

I’m not afraid
All is forgiven
Coz after all
What’s done is done
Move on with grace
Slippin’ to space
And when I’m ready, I’ll sing my song
Follow the silence far from the sadness
Leave all the madness behind
I’ll keep on living
I’ll keep on running
Passing through heart who I’ve become
I’ll keep on driving eternal darkness
I’m scared of falling
Turn my lights on
Coz when I’m frightened, we carry on
And keep on living
And keep on running
Running towards what I’ve been running for
I will not hide
Fatal submission
You are so wrong
Because I’m still here
Drive through the night into the light of the horizon

It reminds me of yesterday. We ran 27 km. Just for fun. I was exhausted much more than usual, and I came home and crashed (and I mean crashed) on the bed. I had the most peaceful sleep for four hours and then woke up and realized that it was 1 pm, that I still had my shoes on, and that my stomach was grumbling because I hadn’t had breakfast.