On a bad day, I felt something was wrong with me when I couldn't contribute much to the 'hot' discussion about the latest songs, the one with the 'tooh', and the 'blue eyes'. "I haven't heard these songs" got me a stare, the eyes filled with shock and ridicule. A more generous person in the group asked me what music do I listen to instead. I couldn't answer that properly (I believe many of us are unable to), and probably also because I was sure the answer wont excite anyone there.
Today is a good day, and I'd like to take a re-attempt at that question. I have been listening (and watching) MTV Unplugged Season 3 sessions on repeat since morning. Listen to the same song a 50 times, and you still find a piece that you missed noticing the last time. Also include MTV Coke Studio sessions from India as well as Pakistan. These shows have produced some of the most attention-consuming soundtracks in the last few years. Attention consuming like (an analogy) Sherlock, compared to other shows like BBT or F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Like Inception (and many others) amongst hollywood movies. Like what Madras Cafe was to Indian cinema and 24 to Indian Television, recently. These shows have the feeling of live music: they are recorded in one take, with real musicians, and give artists ample opportunity to showcase their creativity. This freedom to the artist is what makes "Music" out of "Songs". Sprinkle the collaboration word over, and it turns into Chicken Soup for the Music Soul! Everyone brings their palette of colours to the stage, from the backup vocalists to the solo instrumentalists to the main artists. Awesomeness lies in this experimentation, in this coming together.
Yes, there is experimentation behind bollywood music too, when they experiment with the hairstyle of the actor, the size of the actress's dress, or that eureka moment when they find the "munni" "sheila" or "tooh" of the next song! Congratulations :) Every song will find listeners. But not every listener will find Music.
I might not be able to answer "What music do you listen to, then?" when asked again. But I can sure share my list of favorites from these shows.
- Saari Raat, Noori, Coke Studio Pakistan, Season 2. After listening to Noori live at Seher, this song has been the most played on my player, and in my head. Each and every moment in this song is awesome!
- Hallelujah, Karsh Kale ft Shilpa Rao, Coke Studio @ MTV Season 2. Amazing composition by Warren Mendonsa, Karsh Kale's rendition of the Leonard Cohen classic, and Shilpa's voice.
- Madari (Jamura), Vishal Dadlani Mtv Coke Studio Season 2. Vishal Dadlani and Sonu Kakkar. It is an amazing feeling to hear Vishal Dadlani singing songs like these, after having heard him with Pentagram.
- Khamaj, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, Coke Studio Pakistan, Season 2. The freedom of the artist I was talking about above. The "thairaav" in his voice can be witnessed here!
- Phir Le Aaya, Arijit Singh, Mtv Unplugged Season 3. This song! It deserved a format like Mtv Unplugged. And Arijit deserved this song too!