Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sakhiya Aaj Mujhe Neend Nahi Aayegi

Got Uttar & Dakshina?
(Credit: Alana Lowe)

ABCD's of Cooking x Brooklyn Winery playlist

This past Sunday the good homie ABCD's of Cooking teamed with Brooklyn Winery to present an exclusive supper club pairing North/South Indian cooking with hand-selected wines. Whoa, sensory explosion, right? Got your bearings back? Dig this: ABCD's was gracious enough to let me provide the soundtrack, so a partial playlist is posted above.

I only posted a chunk because the whole set is over 3 hours long (for those interested, the whole list is reprinted below). Instead, I focused on the Hindi film tracks ("filmi") because the Indian influence was what set the evening's set apart from the more familiar (to Western ears, at least) fare.

The featured filmi portions were less familiar, in every sense. Collections like Bombay Connection, the exhaustive Sitar Beat series and Stones Throw's recent Sa-Re-Ga! have turned '70s funk and disco-inspired Indian soundtracks into a thriving, contemporary sub-genre. While that era's excess and melodrama is undoubtedly charming, it often overshadows the broad range of soundtracks from the generations prior.

I won't go into the history and specifics, b/c I'm out of my league. That said, I've come across some lovely soundtracks from the '40s, '50s and '60s, particularly the stately Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (full credit goes to the excellent Parties, Sarees and Melodies blog for sharing the enthusiasm) and the brooding Charulata. Both soundtracks date to the early '60s and show a remarkable range of emotion and instrumentation. The former feels lush and velvety, like an upper crust pillow used for some specific aesthetic purpose -- looks soft, but not meant to be touched. Appropriate, considering the film centers on a "drunken rich house wife." The Old World translations of the song titles also support this idea: "Though released is your hand, do not leave me, love;" or, the post title, "Thou dispenser of wine, tonight sleep will forsake me." Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam also features another playback singer I am now enamored with, Geeta Dutt.

Charulata is a stark contrast, in terms of the film's tone and its accompanying soundtrack. The title was translated to "The Lonely Wife" (when it comes to the subject matter, use your imagination). The music is spare, austere and often tense to match the film's subject matter. Strangely, it is also perfect for personal listening, particularly while at home tending to domestic affairs.

When ABCD's asked me to put together a calm soundscape including this era of filmi music, I jumped at the opportunity. I have been fiending for more Indian film music since the trip, so I had already been looking further back in time. This event was a perfect opportunity to share some of those finds.

Before the dinner, I previewed some of the music with ABCD's and she recognized a few tracks from her family's collection (coincidentally, the aforementioned soundtracks; Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam was an Oscar contender, so I shouldn't be surprised), so I'm happy there was also a personal connection. Otherwise, I'm always happy to find more music to further broaden the palette.
  • Bill Evans Trio: Waltz For Debby (Take 1)
  • Art Tatum: All The Things You Are
  • Wes Montgomery & Winton Kelly Trio: Misty
  • The Beatnuts: Hass (a.k.a. We Came Here)
  • Air: Casanova 70
  • Serge Gainsbourg: Ballade de Melody Nelson
  • Archie Shepp: In A Sentimental Mood
  • Chet Baker: These Foolish Things
  • Bernard Herrmann: Twisted Nerve [Jazz Version]
  • Satyajit Ray: Montage (Charulata)
  • Suraiya & Umadevi: Betab Hai Dil (Dard)
  • Satyajit Ray: Jalsagar excerpt
  • Satyajit Ray: Charu's Theme (Charulata)
  • Satyajit Ray: Bhupatis Grief (Charulata)
  • Satyajit Ray: Bhupati and Amal (Charulata)
  • Satyajit Ray: Jalsagar excerpt
  • Asha Bhosle: Teer Yeh Chup Ke (Phagun)
  • Umadevi: Yeh Kaun Chala (Dard)
  • Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh: Dam Bhar Jo Udhar Munh Phere (Awara)
  • Asha Bhosle & Mohd. Rafi: Tum Rooth Ke Mat Jana (Phagun)
  • Satyajit Ray: Jalsagar excerpt
  • Asha Bhosle & Mohd. Rafi: Main Soya Aankhiyan Meeche (Phagun)
  • Geeta Dutt: Na Jao Saiyan Chhod Ke Baiyan (Though released is your hand, do not leave me, love) (Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam)
  • Asha Bhosle: Bhanwara Bada Nadan (Oh! How ignorant is the wasp!) (Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam)
  • Talat Mahmood: Meri Yaad Men Tum Na Aansoo Bahana (Adhosh)
  • Asha Bhosle and Chorus: Sakhiya Aaj Mujhe Neend Nahi Aayegi (Thou dispenser of wine, tonight sleep will forsake me) (Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam)
  • Satyajit Ray: Title Music (Teen Kanya)
  • Shankar Jaikishan: More Incidental Music (Instrumental) (Bombay Talkie)
  • Thelonious Monk: Black and Tan Fantasy
  • Miles Davis: Bye Bye Blackbird
  • Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane: Stars Fell On Alabama
  • Bill Withers: I Don't Know
  • Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery: OGD (Road Song)
  • Amy Winehouse: (There Is) No Greater Love
  • Oscar Peterson: Love For Sale
  • Billie Holiday: Comes Love
  • The Horace Silver Quintet: Que Pasa
  • Milt Buckner: The Beast
  • Angelo Badalamenti: Freshly Squeezed
  • Sven Libaek: Inner Space Theme
  • Common Sense: In My Own World (Check the Method)
  • Air: J'ai Dormi Sous L'eau
  • Aphex Twin: Avril 14th
  • Aphex Twin: Nanou 2
  • The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Thank You (Dziekuje)
  • The Roots: Donuts (Outro)
In addition to ABCD's and BK Winery, big hands to Alana, Paul and Ben for all their help. Alana and Paul also documented the evening, so more visual pron (like the above flick) to come [UPDATE: ABCD's of Cooking's post has more details on the dinner, as well as Alana's photos -- check it out here]. And a special shout-out to the internet and follow-up protocol for allowing me to return the visual element of these compositions -- you can't just hear these tunes, you need to see 'em.

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Friday, March 04, 2011

I'm Active

Feelin' SWAG

March 2011: Side A

I love pawdcasting. Spin tracks. Chat onna mic. Spin more tracks. Praise. I love it. A much-needed break from studying.

Still a few technical glitches. Unfortunately, my mixer can't push the mic volume higher. And I recorded this while Thee B was sleeping (or at least trying to), so I couldn't go Fisticuffs up in the crib. That probably resulted in some self-consciousness and sounding scattered, but no matter. This is too much fun!

Drop a few lines, let me know what you think. And, as promised, a link dump!

* 1972 Kinks documentary (via Dangerous Minds)

* Uh, that Ponytail jawn was "Easy Peasy."

* Thee Mike B's Heaven 17 post.