Wednesday September 19, 2018

Remembering Pancham Da: The man, the musician, the legend

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By Ankit Sinha

His death in 1994 left a void in the Indian film music industry, but even over two decades later, R.D. Burman’s lilting melodies and soulful tunes continue to inspire and influence musicians and music aficionados alike, members of the fraternity say.

Among the several veteran music directors who have graced the Indian film industry over the years, Burman, fondly called Pancham Da, would have turned 76 on Saturday. But he passed away when he was just 54.

Filmmaker Brahmanand S. Siingh, who has released his latest work “Knowing Pancham” – an extensive collection of anecdotes, insights and observations on Burman – says the interest around the seminal music director’s life and legacy continues to grow.

“Everybody is wanting to know more about R.D. Burman, the hunger never dies,” Siingh told IANS.

Talking about his new body of work on the legendary composer’s legacy, Siingh said: “People who are interested in knowing about R.D. Burman’s early life, or his first marriage, would like this collection.”

Burman’s youthful exuberance, his diverse interests and his personality, too, have been spoken of in great detail in “Knowing Pancham”, he said.

Siingh, who shares a “personal connect” with Burman’s timeless music, also said that he used his “own understanding of Pancham Da’s music” to create “Knowing Pancham”.

Having earlier directed a documentary film titled “Pancham Unmixed” on the famed music director’s life and music, Siingh said youngsters need to understand why Pancham Da is regarded as a musical genius.

“We often talk about Pancham Da’s genius, but we don’t exactly know why he was a genius. Youngsters need to understand music little better; have more time and patience and certain emotional intelligence to connect with his music,” he added.

Siingh’s insights about R.D.Burman’s vast body of work, which includes timeless classics like “Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko“, “Ek main aur ek tu“, “Tere bina jiya jaaye na“, are shared by musicians Tochi Raina and Benny Dayal, who will be singing unplugged versions of the legend’s famous tracks on 92.7 BIG FM’s tribute show “Yadon Mein Pancham” on Saturday.

Benny Dayal, a recipient of R.D. Burman Award for New Music Talent, says he “grew up listening to Pancham Da’s music”.

He will be performing hit songs like “Sagar kinare dil ye pukare” and “O mere dil ke chain” at the radio station’s “Yadon Mein Pancham” tribute and says he has given his own “twist” to these numbers.

“I have given my twist to it, but the structure remains the same. Pancham Da’s music is very rooted to a lot of people’s lives and if you change it, people may not appreciate it. Nobody will deny, you can take a guitar or a piano and re-arrange Pancham Da’s music and people will like it,” he told IANS.

An attempt was made in the Bollywood film “Dil Vil Pyar Vyar”, which had an album full of re-arranged versions of Burman’s hit tracks. While it was musically appreciated, the movie didn’t fare too well at the box office.

Singer Tochi Raina, who has lent his voice for popular songs like “Iktara” and “Saibo”, says that there was a sense of “poetry” in all of Burman’s compositions.

“Pancham Da’s compositions, his poetry was amazing. We can’t have the same thinking as him, but we can take inspiration from him,” he told IANS.

During his heydays, Burman pioneered in bringing western music to an unprecedented level in the Indian film industry and Tochi believes that he was able to do that with his analytical style of composing.

“Pancham Da was a tabla player and then he learned western classical. He analysed the music and got inspired by poetry. And the lyrics had power. When I listen to his music, I analyse the kind of sounds he utilised,” he added.

Known for his knack for experimentation with sounds, the legendary composer, who is known for evergreen songs like “Yaadon ki baraat“, “Tum bin jaaun kahan“, gave legendary singers Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar some of the best tunes to lend their voices to.

-IANS

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A Music Genre To Fit All Your Mood- Jazz

Music, as they say, cannot be contained within walls. It's definition too is broad and different for different people.

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Jazz
From dance music to a vehicle of happiness, different ways to look at jazz . Flickr

Jazz  a genre with the ability to embrace varied cultures — has evolved exponentially in the past century-and-a-half and is today a major form of musical expression. But what is it that exactly gives a “jazzy characteristic” to a musical note?

Some of its foremost practitioners, who assembled at this scenic beach town recently, have different ways of defining it. if it’s “dance music” for one, “broad in its scope” for another, and a “vehicle to make people happy” for yet another, the search for what the musical form means to its practitioners remains elusive — and yet it is so dear to them all.

At the “Koktebel Jazz Party”, organised here last month, jazzy instruments such as the saxophone, trombone, trumpet, and piano were played to the beats of different music styles to create different kinds of fusions as musicians from over 20 countries participated in the annual extravaganza.

Jazz
Goa International Jazz Live Festival 2016. Facebook

Jean-Paul Maunick, 61, a founding member of British acid jazz band “Incognito”, quipped that jazz originated from the blues.

“Blues is the music that people played to express their sadness, to tell stories about dire lives. Then it came along, which was more instrumental, more free, the music created for dancing.

“Jazz is like the first dance music for me. Free dancing, where you show free expression. You throw your body but nobody is doing the same two steps. There is choreography if you want it, but most jazz music is about free dancing. The music, dancing and conversation between musicians is like that,” he shared.

Jazz
Jools Holland performing at the second Gibraltar International Jazz Festival held at the Queen’s Cinema in October 2013. Wikimedia

For Maunick, jazz is not just “an intellectual thing” — while it may be true that jazz is a “thinking man’s thing”, it is also a way “to just express yourselves”.

But is jazz all about dancing? It certainly is not, or at least that is how Rajeev Raja, the founder of Indo-Jazz music band from Mumbai, “Rajeev Raja Combine”, perceives it.

“It is not necessarily about moving. I wish to go back to the era when we used to listen to an entire album and keep listening to it. The genre is very broad in its scope and execution. There certainly are elements like swing, but there is much more to it,” he told IANS.

At the festival, there were a group of American musicians who came together for the second time after performing first in Moscow. They performed under the label, New York All Stars.

Jazz
Jazz is like the first dance music. Free dancing, where you show free expression. You throw your body but nobody is doing the same two steps. Flickr

The drummer of New York All-Stars, Carl Allen, grew up playing all kinds of styles but settled at jazz.

Also Read: Kuala Lumpur To Host The Premiere of ‘Mughal-e-Azam: The Musical’

“That’s the kind of music that excites me. That’s the kind of music that makes me happy. I try to use it as a vehicle to make other people happy. Everything is cyclical. A lot of things we hear now, people call it new but it is not really new It has been done before. It’s just a process. It’s always a cyclical process where people are putting together R&B, soul and jazz. That happened in the 1960s, 70s too,” he told IANS.

Music, as they say, cannot be contained within walls. It’s definition too is broad and different for different people, or so it seemed at the three-day festival that aimed to celebrate all things jazzy. (IANS)