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Music - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

Music [Oct. 6th, 2006|02:49 pm]
Arvind Narayanan
[Current Mood |hungryhungry]

Various music-related tidbits.

Qawwali is quickly becoming my second favorite music genre. This means that my top two favorite music genres are both religious music. This is not funny anymore :(

As a gadget nut, I usually keep up with the new-releases news. I've been out of the loop for all of two months, and I'm floored by how much has changed since then. Flash technology has been the most impressive. 8GB flash mp3 players! Laptops with no hard drives, just tons of flash! Next-gen super-efficient batteries! (Right on time too, considering that all the current ones are exploding :-) Of course, OLPC is still vaporware. No need to worry about that.

Now that FairUse4WM exists, I'm paying for music again. [Insert standard gripe about retarded music industry making paying customers jump through hoops.]

From: (Anonymous)
2006-10-08 01:17 pm (UTC)
A most probably tangential remark : The little I have heard of Qawwali lyrics, they seem to have some literary merit ( totally unlike Carnatic Music ).
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2006-10-08 10:37 pm (UTC)
Actually I've been thinking about the lyrics issue a little bit today -- consider this couplet from mADumEikkum kaNNE (the speaker is krshNa, to yashOda):

kATTu mrghangaLellAm ennaikkaNDAl Odi varum
kUTTam kUTTamAga vandAl vETTayADi jEittiDuvEn

Note the absurd contradiction between the two lines -- the fantasy of young krshNa as fundamentally innocent and benign superimposed on the reality that yAdava kula krshNa, to the extent that he was a historical character, probably hunted for sport.

The writers of the brindAvana canon go to some lengths to present a coherent story -- IIRC, the jAlas of baby krshna are considered accidental from his point of view; he just goes about demolising all manner demons in the course of his daily playful activities, unaware of his own power in some sense.

Adult krshna, of course, addresses the issue explicitly, coming up with some kind of moral or logical explanation for why it is ok to be a good guy and still kill everyone within a ten mile radius, as long as they initiated the hostilities (and takes up most of the bhagavatgIta to say it, as I understand it.)

Anyway my point is that I don't like Carnatic lyrics *at all*, because I don't agree with the sentiments or the history or something. Someday I will probably be able to understand Qawwali lyrics, but I think most of it is about either bhakti or sharAb, and so I don't anticipate having too many problems with it :)
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2006-10-09 02:05 pm (UTC)
"I thought sharAb was more ghazal-ish"

Probably true, although I have heard one or two Qawwali pieces talking about it.

"Disagree, but I am not sure you might want to get into a discussion regarding that."

Yeah, that's a good idea. Anyway, I was probably wrong, and not sure of myself in the first place, which is why I peppered it with "as I understand it" etc. If you have a link that talks about the Gita and is not written from the hindu point of view (which I realize is unlikely) then please send it my way.

"Be that as it may, I think you would hardly find objectionable lyrics in the works of tyAgarAja or dIkShitar or shyAmashAstri ( mostly ) - these guys actually seem very benign and compassionate characters."

Daie, my objection to the lyrics I quoted was that it was historically crap. It's the benign part that I objected to. The composers being compassionate doesn't help in anyway.

"The song you quoted, googling says, was a kAvaDi-cintu"

I see. Very surprising. I would have expected a kAvaDi cindu to be about muruga or shiva or not about a god at all.

BTW, is your username pronounced kupamaNDUka or kupamANDUka? I think it's the first, but not completely sure.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2006-10-10 03:36 am (UTC)
Do you have a romanization table you can throw my way? I have no clue how R is different from r for instance.

Dalit/communist interpretations of the gIta! the very thought brings a smile to my lips. Dalit writers have a theory that nandanar was burnt to death by the corrupt brahmins of tillai. I really want to believe this theory, because it confirms my own anti-Hindu and anti-Brahmin prejudices, and did so until Dilip came along and presented the inconvenient fact that the whole caste tension thing in the Nandanar story was a 19th century invention of Gopalakrishna Bharathi, and is not part of the sEkkizhar periyapurANam. That's one of the things on my list of things to do before i die BTW-- read the periyapurANam and figure out whether there is anything in there to substantiate the ambedkar.org version.
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