Music


Simply put Sanjaya Malakar is to American Idol what Shilpa Shetty was to Big Brother. A lucky 17 year old who found instant stardom after participating in the American Idol season 6. More known for his on & off stage charm and much less for his singing talent.

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So what’s the fuss about now, one may ask?
He is not much of a singer. But so are many others who participate in American Idol you might say.
He has funny hairdos. So what? You exclaim!
Well, he is half-Indian. Aah! Now I get it you say. J
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Here is a little snapshot on Sanjaya  

    • Sanjaya & Shyamali both auditioned for Americal Idol season 6 and both got selected for the Hollywood round. But only Sanjaya made it till Top 8.  
    • His father is a Bengali Indian while his mother is an Italian American.  
    • He has J Lo for a “fanjaya” for she said, “I like this kid. I love Sanjaya!” after hearing him sing in Spanish in rehearsal, the only one of the remaining 8 contestants to do so 
    • The real controvery started when Howard Stern, veteran radio and television personality, announced that he was launching a campaign with his listeners to vote for Malakar to win the competition.
    • Simon Cowell told Extra, an entertainment news television program, that if Sanjaya Malakar wins, he wouldn’t return as a judge to the show, even though he is contractually obligated to return

What I get to understand is – The world of entertaiment has hit on this new age formula for instant revival of dying television shows & it is quite simple – 1. Start a new season or series, 2. Get an Indian to participate (whackier the better), 3. Throw in few hundred supporters and a few thousand opposers. Sit back and watch your fortune turaround.

For now we got to wait and watch what magic Sanjaya spins for American Idol.

[Image Source: Wikipedia & Bodog Beat]

Cross Posted Here

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 Here’s what happened in Mutiny this week.

Jo started off the week with the tragic news of Laurie Baker’s death. He also blogged about how Google played an April Fool prank and the ABCs of audio/music blogging
 
Nita wrote about some students who have moderate views on reservations. She is concerned that couples can no longer enjoy sunsets on sea fronts without looking over their shoulders and is worried about wild Life in India which is under grave threat
 
Swetha takes a sneak peek at Sivaji – Rajnikant’s Next Blockbuster
 
Jerry blogged prolifically about Eragon, Mid-Night Hot and The New Detectives  CPM. He rants about why the M6A1 is being deployed overseas.
 
Guru tells us about Network Computers and provided some very informative links in HowTo: Startups
 
Chacko writes about  a league for cricket and  gives his opinion on the BJP. He also shows us a very  interesting piece of Indian art in a restaurant in Smash Menu.
 
Cakerfare informs us about ATM Access in Bihar
 
Maltesh writes about Logan and opines that we should not give a reservation to folks who don’t want to stay in India
 
Gentledude writes about the ubiquitous hand pump
 
Sridhar ended the week informing us that Musharraf is deliberately letting Talibanization creep into main cities
 
 Keep coming back for more at the Mutiny !
 
 

There are some readers/listeners of my personal blog asking me about how to start audio blogging (or music blogging) and podcasting. Like a reader suggested, I am putting it as a blog post here.

Starting an audio blog/music blog is fairly simple. All you need is a mic, a good recording software and a blog (assuming that you have a regular blog already).

Buy a good mic:

I use Shure PG 58 microphone (costs about Rs. 2000) and its a basic one, but pretty good. I heard Shure SM 58 is a very good microphone and I suggested it to some people. All of them gave me good reports on that mic. There is a common misconception that a good microphone would help you make sound good even if you have an average quality voice. Good microphones wouldn’t do that trick. When you use a good mic, it will clearly capture all the problems with your voice. If you breathe heavily, or have slightest roughness in your voice, or if you go very slightly off-pitch, it will capture it all. A good mic will give you crystal clear sound output and the advantage of having such a quality mic is that it will help you find the errors in your voice or singing so that you can correct it over time.

Now you need a recording software:

The software which I am using is Cool Edit Pro. I’m using an an older version of CEP. Later Adobe Corporation bought it and released it in the name of Adobe Audition. Adobe Audition 2.0 has so many professional studio features and it is available for a price of $349.00 from the Adobe website (Very expensive though).

There is another software, which is a freeware called Audacity and you can download it for free from here. but it does not support multi-track recordings. According to the people who have used it, Audacity does not allow you to play one track while recording in the other. But Cool Edit Pro (or Adobe Audition) lets you do that. But Audacity can be a good tool for podcasters to record their podcast in an inexpensive way.

In CEP (or AA) you can play a minus track (Karaoke track) or a background music in one track and can record your vocals in another track. If you want to add another instrument, you can add it in a separate track as well. There are multiple tracks available, so that you can add so many tracks with instruments, vocals, backing vocals etc.

For example, take the song ‘Padiyiranguvaan’ which I posted in my personal blog a few days back. I first imported the MP3 of Tampura sound in the first track, recorded the main vocals in the second and added the backing vocals (low-pitch and high-pitch) in 3rd and fourth tracks. So there are 4 tracks in total for this one song. Then I added some echo and reverb to the vocals and then saved the mixed down track as MP3 (you can also save it in WAV format).

Other recording softwares are:

  • Sony ACID XMC – From Sony
  • Flexi Music – There is a comparatively cheap-in-price software built by a company in Coimbatore, India.
  • Nuendo – Many of the professionals in the music industry use this one.

Checkout the hardware requirements of these softwares (RAM, HDD requirements) before you install and run these.

For those who do not have their own web space:When you are done with recording and mixing, it is time to upload the music file (in MP3 format) to your blog. Since Blogger doesn’t allow me to upload audio files, I use a third-party tool to do it. I have an account in Hipcast and it has the following features:

  • Compression options: Hipcast provides 3 compression options. 1) Dial-up users, 2) Slow broadband users and 3) Fast broadband users.
  • You can publish the audio you uploaded to your blog as a blog post.
  • You can choose to display a download link for each song. (not the original file, but a new one created on the basis of compression level you choose).

But Hipcast comes at an annual fee of $49.97 Per Year. (They have other plans at the cost of $4.95/mo and $9.95/mo etc). They support most major blog softwares, including MovableType, Blogware, Typepad, WordPress, Blogger, pMachine, LiveJournal etc.

PodbazaarIf you are a podcaster, I suggest that you use Podbazaar. It is a wonderful platform to showcase your podcast before the world. Signing up for an account in Podbazaar is absolutely FREE. I have two of my podcasts hosted there and Podbazaar is providing a wonderful service.

Major features of Podbazaar are:

  • Audio podcasting service
  • Video casting
  • You can embed the audiocast or videocast in your blog or website with a set of code that is available with each episode for copy/paste
  • Download link for each episode
  • It is FREE!

Musicians can start podcasting to interact with their listeners. You can give a brief introduction to each song (Say why you like it, talk about the memories/incidents that connects you with that particular song, information of the song like composer, lyricist, singer etc. You can go on and on and your listeners would enjoy it more).

Another free podcasting service is Odeo.

For those who do not have webspace of their own:
If you have uploaded your MP3 files in your own web space and want just a player to stream the audio, you can use Podcast Pickle. Instructions are there in their website.

To create a playlist of your songs:

Flash MP3 player from YukeBox – I prefer this one since they have better ways of arranging the files online.

Flash MP3 player from Jeroenwijering – This will need you to be a little techno savy since you have to edit their XML files and add the code for each song. The first one (Yukebox) is what I prefer.

I guess that is all we need. Go ahead and create your own audio/music blog and reach a world-wide audience!!!

Audio India – See a list of audio/music bloggers from India here.

Disclaimer I am not promoting any specific products or companies for monetary benefits. The references to the services in this post are totally based on my personal experiences.

Cross posted here

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Its been some time since ‘Sivaji – The Boss’ the next film of the southern superstar Rajni has been announced and everyday the hoopla around it seems to increase exponentially. Here are some mindboggling information surrounding this movie:

1. Out of all director Shankar’s movies this is being touted as the most expensive one. And here is the breakup – 68% was spent in location, not surprisingly 12% in graphics, 8% as salaries (no doubt excluding dat of Rajni’s) 8% for costumes, 2% for music maestro A.R.Rahman and other techincians, and the remaining 2% on miscellaneous.

2. Amitabh Big B Bachchan is supposedly making his first guest appearance with Rajni in a Tamil movie. And dat is something to watch out for. Rumours say the Big B shot for the movie in 2 days at Pune.

3. Not to stop at Big B..Shankar has allegedly also roped in Malayam Superstar Mamooty for a special scene n the movie. 4. Here are some numbers for you to digest – The distribution rights for Sivaji has been sold to kerala for 6 crores,(an alltime high)- and actor Vineet seems to have bagged the exclusive rights. The movie has found a distrubutor for Karnataka in Ravichandran who sources claim paid a whopping 9 crores and not to be outdone Andhra Pradesh bagged the movie rights for – hold your breath! – 17 crores!5. Here are some more titbits for the expectant: Sun TV and Reliance are fighting tooth & nail for satelite, dvd, and audio rights. 80 crores seem to be the stake amount for the same with additional 100 mil USD for International rights.

6. International DVD release rights for 9 countries worldwide is being competed by
‘Ayngaran International’ of Canada and ‘Pyramid’ of india. Wikipedia has listed Ayngaran as the distributors worldwide, so now we know who bagged the deal.

7. AVM Productions has magnanimously announced that they will give 25% profit to the charity (Sivaji Foundation) if the movie hits silver jubliee, which I am sure his fans will ensure.

8. And as per the cover story of the No:1 Japanese magazine called “Tosho” this movie has crossed the expectation of even hollywood Bond flick “Casino Royale” and this also supposedly makes Rajinkanth the highest paid actor in the world.

9. Tosho magazine also reveals that the total revenue for AVM Productions (if the movie successfully runs for 50 days only in southern India)will be around 430 crores

10. And last but not the least in a series of firsts: This movie is going to be the first to be dubbed in the local languages of Turkey, Hausa, Gonga(South Africa) and kshinola (Argentina).

Scandals not to be withstood Sivaji faced the music when its soundtrack was allegedly leaked in the internet 2 weeks before its actual launch. And a miffed Shankar who swears by the secrecy of his films has decided to re-shoot the songs.

I just hope albeit all the hype the movie manages to entertain the audience like Rajni’s past movies did.

Tailender: Much has also been said and written about Rajnikant’s popularity in Japan. Here are two pictures of Rajni’s popular film Arunachalam hoarding in Japan which should silence the skeptics –

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[Image source: Mid-day Bangalore & Rajninews]

Cross posted here

Sreyashi Dastidar, in a piece in The Telegraph wonders if the new love in music necessarily replaces old favourites. You must take a look at the piece for the listing of some of her favourite music–so that you can explore them, in case you haven’t already. I also agree with her complaint that the Indian FM stations pay (if any) scant attention to our classical music. In that respect, there is nothing that beats AIR.

Having said that, I think she over-reacts about the encounter she had with a young girl about her i-pod:

And then, one day, encouraged by the sight of an i-pod-wielding teenager, I self-consciously switched on mine in the Metro. A little too self-consciously, perhaps, because I was soon asked by my fellow i-pod-holder — a sweet girl of about sixteen — what was in my box. I gave her a curtailed list, but found her looking at me expectantly still. “And what bands do you have?” she asked, as if I had deliberately omitted naming them. When I told her I had none, she gave me a sweet (‘kind’ would be my description of it) smile, and that was the end of the conversation. I had a strong suspicion that the generation that wears its i-pods as easily as tattoos and dangling earrings does not take kindly to people like me, whose favourite music-makers are either dead, or have not changed in the last ten years. Did the girl feel like taking my i-pod away? Did she think that people with my music taste were not entitled to an i-pod?

For all you know, the young girl might have wanted to share some  music which was of interest to her (in the same way Dastidar shares her favourite music with us in the article), and having found that her interests are different, might have decided to say nothing.

Long back I read a Tamil short story, in which, an old man realises one day that as far as the intensities go, his love for classical carnatic music and that of an young guy for film music are the same (even though they have nothing to share with each other about their respective favourite music).

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It was another eventful week in Mutiny, and here is a categorized summary!

  1. Music: Jo began the week with some cool news about the availability of teasers from BlogSwara and followed it up later with the news of the launch of the site.
  2. Science: Cakerfare discussed the idea behind genetically modified malaria resistant mosquitoes in tackling malaria, while Vishal followed the story of the discovery of 3.8 million year old rocks and the relevance of the discovery to geological theories of plate tectonics.
  3. Cricket: While Chacko was optimistic about the chances of the Indian team and did some number juggling, later in the week, Sridhar Kondoji felt that the products endorsed by Indian cricketers need to be boycotted as a mark of protest against the abysmal performance of the team India.
  4. Pseudo-religion: Gentledude admonished Indians for their blind faith in godmen with specific reference to Baba, and followed it by another post on the paradox of Lord Balaji being the second richest god in the world, while half of India is languishing below poverty line.
  5. Education: Polite Indian wonders if corporate punishement is needed at all, and concludes in the negative.
  6. Society: While Nita wrote for the need of sensitivity on the part of all of us in the wake of Sikh community taking exceptions to Sardar jokes, Guru pointed to Andre Beteille’s article which argued caste to be an Indian socio-economic institution.
  7. Justice: SwethaIyer’s confidence in the Indian judicial system is reinforced after the verdict of guilty for the accused in the killing of Manjunath Shanmugam.
  8. Management: Vishal, while narrowing down on the reasons for the dumb decisions that managers make, also identifies five signs that indicate trouble in an organization.
  9. News and Media: While Guru laments the dearth of “real” news, Nita finds that the marriage of Liz and Arun Nair is still the hot selling item on the streets.
  10. Tips: While Jo tips us about the free phone call service Fone Mine, Sridhar Kondoji tells you what to do when the markets are down.
  11. Issues: Guru felt that the Mashelkar committee should be terminated, and (in a follow-up post on brain drain) indicated that brain drain is not that bad after all; and, Jo dedicated a song to the victims of Nandigram.
  12. Interview: Ujj interviewed Vinod George Joseph, the author of Hitchhiker (shortly after his review of the book).

Hope you enjoyed reading mutiny and voicing your opinions on issues as much as we enjoyed our writing and hearing from you.

Hope to see you in these parts of the blogosphere soon, again!

BlogSwara, the online music album by amateur musicians (Click here to read more), has launched Version 3 today with 9 songs in three different Indian languages – Malayalam, Thamizh and Hindi. Checkout the website to listen to the song. You can listen to the songs online and can download MP3 file of the songs totally FREE! The MP3 files are available to suit your connection speed – Dialup or Broadband.

PS: I have sung one Malayalam song in this album.

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