Noted music critic Parag Kamani’s reviews of Music UnLtd.’s latest albums [‘Jilted’ & ‘Humnasheena’], and songs of Shankar Mahadevan, Coke Studio and Alobo Naga –
We hear the blog post is to be published soon …
When we enjoy music for its own merits – and not because it’s associated with a famous person – it’s genuine.
When we enjoy music because we think we SHOULD be enjoying it as it’s by some famous person – that’s hype, and we do great injustice to a huge number of very talented lesser-known musicians.
Just because some music is composed by a famous person doesn’t make it great automatically – listen to it and then decide independently of the artist’s previous releases.
Many famous names are one-hit wonders, and don’t consistently come up with good music – especially in these times of ‘Singles’. Most of the songs on their albums are ‘fillers’ – they’re there only to fill-up the space on the album.
In the days when albums were important, one would come across several musicians who consistently came up with great work. Almost none of their songs were fillers. There are few artists like that today – and they’re the great musicians.
Imagine an event organizer or patron telling a painter – “We like your paintings. Let’s hold your exhibition, but don’t display any of your own – make good copies of paintings by famous artists and put them up in the exhibition”.
Sounds absurd, doesn’t it?
Well, that’s what happens to original Independent musicians in India – creativity is discouraged. People actually go to music concerts to listen to good musicians play someone else’s music! That would be fine if it’s a dedicated cover band – but not otherwise.
Equally, it is the music-loving public who have to realize this and evolve – for ultimately their sensibility will decide whether art in their country will flourish or not.
Indie Music in any language faces a huge challenge in India – what with the commercial power of ‘Bollywood’ – and the majority of the population not being able to think beyond film music. Unlike the rest of the world, there is virtually no independent modern music industry (of commercially viable music) in the country, that is not connected to films.
Even extremely talented Indian classical artists are made to prostitute themselves at opulent weddings by playing instrumental versions of film songs. Many people can’t differentiate between different genres of music – which is fine, because it’s not their forte – but then they should leave the choice of music to the people with the requisite knowledge i.e. the musicians.
World over, band managers scout new artists & bands with great music, and help them grow and get their music to the public – in India they only look for stars to manage. Not exactly what one could call an artistic or culturally rich approach.
Indie Music has to be nurtured and promoted.
If commercial success is always equated with artistic excellence, it lowers our standards of excellence.
A lot of people unfortunately limit their experience of music to their own language. They mentally shut themselves out from making any effort to listen to music in other languages. I have discovered great songs in languages I don’t speak – Bengali, French, German etc., where the melody alone carried the songs to another solar system. My message to them – “Loosen-up, and enjoy everything!
Independent Music needs to hold its own against the money-power of Bollywood. That change can be brought about by the public – and by the producers & sponsors who pump-in huge sums of money into the film industry, while starving the music industry outside of it. This is because the average producer/director (as against a genuine & dedicated filmmaker) are not film or music lovers who are in it to produce good cinema or music – but merely concerned with the profits. I’ve enjoyed many Hindi film songs – mostly of the melodic era, but the industry’s all-pervading & over-powering reach – along with the public’s obsession with almost all things filmy – has aesthetically corrupted the world of music in India. The Indian public’s almost universal presumption that ‘if-there-is-a-song-it’s-in-a-film’, has taken them away from the purity of music – which ideally should be an auditory experience.
Too many people and companies are supporting too many ‘stars’ who don’t need the support – whether Bollywood or cricket or music or art – by eagerly spending money on expensive events etc, but not supporting shows or purchasing quality music or books/paintings etc of newcomers or lesser known artists .. bargaining to get their products cheap or free. My policy – if you like it and can afford it easily, buy it …don’t haggle if the artist is genuine and the product is great!
Official song downloads enable musicians to keep making music for you … Piracy kills musicians … the choice is clear! Try before you buy – by streaming the music. We’re sure you respect the musicians whose songs you enjoy – enable them to make more music for you 🙂