Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Making Of The James Bond Theme Music

Ever since Ian Fleming created James Bond in 1953 and wrote "Casino Royale",  the first novel featuring Bond, the charisma of 007 and the craze for Bond movies has remained unaltered. Though "Casino Royale" was the first novel; "Dr. No", originally written in 1958 was made into the first Bond movie in 1962 with Sean Connery depicting the secret service agent on the silver screen. Authors have changed after Fleming's death in 1964, artistes depicting Bond have changed repeatedly from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig; but what have remained constant in the Bond movies are the character of Bond, Ian Fleming's name, the name of Albert R Brocolli as the producer even after his death and the theme music of all James Bond movies.
There has been a lot of controversy about the origin of this theme music. Without going into debate, I have tried to give you a feel about its origin and I have left it to your judgement to decide about giving credit for the creation of this timeless piece of music. I am keeping this post short and will be stressing more on music which is how I feel that a music blog should be.
Let us first hear the original theme music

Now I am sharing a playlist of all the music and songs that have gone into making the James Bond theme. Beyond doubt John Barry made a marvelous arrangement by borrowing from different tunes and songs dating as far back as 1940s. The result was an epic which is cherished by one and all.

To conclude watch this video which is a brilliant piece of work, a musical experiment, which is a potpourri of all the pieces of music that have gone into the making of the James Bond theme. It is not my work, I have merely borrowed it and I acknowledge and give full credit to the creator of this video (blofeld39).

I leave it to your judgement now.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The unexplored side of Pannalal Bhattacharyya - Modern Songs versus Devotional Songs

Every connoisseur of Bengali music remembers Pannalal Bhattacharyya, as one of the finest exponents of devotional songs dedicated to Goddess Kali.  Born in 1930, he was the younger brother of another great singer Bengal has produced - Dhananjay Bhattacharyya. Both the brothers were great singers of Bengali modern songs and later diversified to singing only Kali bhajans, popularly known as "Shyama Sangeet" in Bengal.
Pannalal started early, at a young age of 17, and before concentrating only on devotional songs of Kali he sang quite a handful of Bengali modern songs. He was more famous as a great exponent of Shyama Sangeet and therefore the modern songs recorded by him have gradually faded into oblivion. Below is a playlist of the Bengali modern songs sung by him.


In his mid twenties Pannalal took to singing only devotional songs. The reason for such a shift is largely unknown. Such was the devotion and dedication in his singing that he expected to have "Darshan" (holy sighting) of Goddess Kali. On the other hand, his elder brother, Dhananjay was also a great singer of Kali songs. It is alleged that one fine day Dhananjay had the "Darshan" of Kali and he shared his experience with his younger brother. It is said that Pannalal suffered an extreme bout of depression following this episode and told that he does not want to continue living if he does not have the privilege of the "Holy Sighting" before his elder brother. "Ma Tui Dhana Da Ke Dekha Dili, Aamay Dili Na", is what he said in Bengali meaning thereby, "Mother, you have appeared before Dhananjay Da and you have eluded me despite my devotion". Shortly thereafter he committed suicide on 27th March 1966 at his home in Calcutta. Below is a playlist of all the devotional songs by him.

He took his life only at an young age of 36, but he has claimed an important position in the heart of thousands of Kali devotees.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Uma Basu - The Unsung Heroine of Bengali Music

Many of us are not aware of Uma Basu; at least the present young generation in their teens and twenties. I still vividly remember that I first heard Uma Basu at the insistence of my late father. Those were the days of LP records and he had just bought a long playing record from HMV and was playing it on our old Fiesta Popular. I was too young then to value and cherish that golden voice. As time went by, I listened to her songs innumerable number of times and I was, and I am still amazed at the rich and melodious voice that she possessed.
Uma was the first child of Dharani Kumar Basu, and she was born in Kolkata (Calcutta) on the 22nd of January 1921 and she passed away on the same date in 1942 just at the age of 21. She was born in a family which had deep connections with the doyens of Hindustani classical music and therefore music was deeply ingrained into her heart and soul from childhood. She recorded her first song on HMV at the age of 13 with Harindranath Chattopadhyay. During her short career she recorded close to 27 songs including a couple of Rabindrasangeet, most of which are in my collection and I shall be providing them as a playlist in the end. She was fondly called "Hasi" (meaning smile in Bengali) and Mahatma Gandhi called her the "Nightingale of Bengal" after listening to her sweet voice at a private function. She was a disciple of Dilip Kumar Roy and his influence is very well evident in all the songs that she has recorded.
Very little, apart from what I have already told, is known about Uma Basu. What we know is that had this prodigy lived longer she would have made a mark in the Indian music scenario.
Enjoy the playlist of Uma Basu's songs.


Happy listening.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vande Maataram revisited - Did the song get a fair deal ? - Part I

I am touching on a very controversial topic today as is evident from the title of this post. Let me clarify that I am an Indian to the deepest core and I fully respect my National Anthem. Its position is secure in my heart as is in the hearts of all other Indians. This post is not to demean our National Anthem but will try to look into the circumstances that led to Jana-Gana-Mana being adopted as our National Anthem and Vande Maataram being assigned the title of our national song. All views expressed here are my personal views and the reader may or may not subscribe to them. I will begin with a treatise on Vande Maataram and then in the next part of the topic I shall be discussing about Jana Gana Mana, our National Anthem, in comparison to Vande Maataram. I would also like to clarify that I have only included those versions of Vande Maataram which include the original verses as penned down by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay or part thereof. There have been many variations of Vande Maataram in both lyrics and tune and I have purposefully omitted those with only the term Vande Maataram in the entire song, those inspired by Vande Maataram with totally different lyrics and translation of Vande Maataram into other languages (barring one in English). I have tried to include the different versions of Vande Maataram in the different ragas in which it has been sung.
Vande Maataram
Little did Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (1837-94) foresee the epic role that his composition, Vande Maataram, would play in India's freedom struggle. As he sat on the banks of the river Hooghly (The Ganges, as it is known in the southern part of West Bengal, before it merges with the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal) in his native locality of KaNthalpara (KaNthal - Bengali for Jack Fruit and Para - Bengali for conglomeration of few houses usually smaller than a village; a locality within a village usually demarcated on the basis of the profession of the inhabitants) in the Naihati village of the erstwhile 24 Parganas district of Bengal. (For the benefit of readers unfamiliar with the geography of West Bengal, let me add that Naihati is no longer a village but a teeming town in the North 24 Parganas district, about 37 kilometers by train, north of Sealdah station in Kolkata and KaNthalpara still exists).
The date was 7th November 1875 and Bankim Chandra wrote the whole song, partly in Sanskrit and partly in Bengali, in one sitting. He was probably moved by the need of the hour - the need to imbibe the Indians with a strong feeling of nationhood, the need of a guiding force in her freedom struggle; he having witnessed the unsuccessful Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 and the attempt to force "God Save The Queen" on Indians as the national anthem by the British Raj around the year 1870. It was first published in the Bengali magazine Bangadarshan in 1879. These verses were later included by Bankim Chandra in his epic novel Anandamath which was first published as a serial in the magazine Bangadarshan from 1880-82. Bankim Chandra was a writer par excellence in classical Bengali and his works included mainly novels and essays; he rarely wrote poems and verses apart from those as a part of his stories.
This is what Bankim Chandra wrote in Sanskrit and Bengali. For the benefit of readers it is being presented here in English alphabets.

"Vande maataraM
sujalaaM suphalaaM malayaja shiitalaaM
SasyashyaamalaaM maataram ||

Shubhrajyotsnaa pulakitayaaminiiM
phullakusumita drumadala shobhiniiM
suhaasiniiM sumadhura bhaashhiNiiM
sukhadaaM varadaaM maataraM ||

Sapta koti kantha kalakalaninaada karaale
Dwisapta koti bhujai.rdhR^itakharakaravaale
abalaa keno maa eto bale
bahubaladhaariNiiM namaami taariNiiM
ripudalavaariNiiM maataraM ||

Tumi vidyaa tumi dharma
tumi hR^idi tumi marma
tvaM hi praaNaaH shariire

Baahute tumi maa shakti
hR^idaye tumi maa bhakti
tomaara i pratimaa gaDi
mandire mandire ||

TvaM hi durgaa dashapraharaNadhaariNii
kamalaa kamaladala vihaariNii
vaaNii vidyaadaayinii namaami tvaaM
Namaami kamalaaM amalaaM atulaaM
SujalaaM suphalaaM maataraM ||

ShyaamalaaM saralaaM susmitaaM bhuushhitaaM
DharaNiiM bharaNiiM maataraM |"

Much later Sri Aurobindo translated it into English. Here is the original translation which I thought should find its place right after the original Sanskrit/Bengali text for the benefit of readers.

Mother, I bow to thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.
Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I bow.

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands
When the sword flesh out in the seventy million hands
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Though who savest, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foeman drove
Back from plain and Sea
And shook herself free.

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Though art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nervs the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her
swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleems,
Dark of hue O candid-fair
In thy soul, with jewelled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Lovilest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free!

The fact that although the novelist was himself a musician, he never composed the music for Vande Maataram. It was set to tune by Pandit Jadunath Bhattacharya (1840-83) from Bhatpara (another locality near Naihati, whose chief inhabitants were Bhattacharyas). It was most likely set in Malhar raga; Kawali taal, but unfortunately that melody is long lost. There is a footnote in Anandamath, in the first edition of Bankim Rachanavali (collected works of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay) that the song is in Malhar raga, ektaal. (Personal communication with Dr. Siddhartha Chatterjee). There is no way to confirm what Jadunath composed, but to speculate.

Pandit Jadu Nath Bhattacharya (1840-83)

A maestro of Bishnupur gharana, Jadu Bhatta, as he was popularly known, was born in the year of 1840. He was a resident of Kadakuri, a village beside Bishnupur town in West Bengal. His father Madhusudan Bhattacharaya was an eminent classical vocalist and also instrumentalist. Jadunath at very tender age learnt 'sitar' and 'mridanga' from his father. Latter, he learnt music from Ramshankar Bhattacharaya and Ganganarayan Chattopadhyay, both the court musicians of Bishnupur Rajas. Jadunath was the music teacher of Rabindranath Tagore in his young age. For his melodious voice, Rajas of Panchakote conferred him with the title of 'Ranganath' and Maharaja of Tripura, Birchandra Manikya conferred him the title of 'Tanraj'. He had written many songs in Bengali and Hindi. He was known for 'Khanderbani' dhrupad music. At the age of 43 he expired.
This is an example of Raga Malhar to give you a feeling how the original composition would have sounded.

Sometime before Bankim's death the first two verses of the song were set to music by the poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and he sang it at the sixth session of the Indian National Congress in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1896. Tagore used the raga Desh and Ek tal.
Below is an example of Raga Des.

After this, in the 1901 Indian National Congress session, Dakshinaranjan Sen sang it and thus was started the convention of starting the Congress sessions with Vande Maataram and the song started gaining popularity. Given the popularity of the song Nicole Record Company and Bose Records engaged Rabindranath Tagore to sing for them on Gramophone Records. These records were pressed by Pathe company in Paris and when the British police destroyed the existing stock of this gramophone record in Kolkata, a few of them survived in France and Belgium. This is oldest available recording of Vande Maataram and is recorded by none other than Rabindranath Tagore. Unfortunately it is a collector's item and not available readily. I was unable to get the recording although All India Radio has published it as a CD alongwith the book Rabindranath Tagore : Facets of a genius, in 1996.
Below is a rendition of Vande Maataram as per the tune set by Tagore.

Tagore set the "Laya" of his original composition in raga Des as "Vilambit - Laya" (slow pace). The other Layas possible are "Drut - Laya" (fast pace) and "Madhyam - Laya (medium pace). Below are two examples of Vande Maataram being performed in Raga Des in Vilambit and Drut Laya by Harindranath Chattopadhyay (brother of Sarojini Naidu) and Hemanta Mukherjee respectively.

This is a photograph of the gramophone record of Vande Maataram by Rabindranath Tagore on Bose Record in collaboration with Pathe Record, Paris.

This is a version of Vande Maataram being sung as a chorus led by Dwijen Choudhury and also including Nihar Bindu Sen, Gita Naha, Suchitra Mitra, Debabrata Biswas, Supriti Ghosh & Kanak Biswas Das.

The song when sung in Raga Des, as was first done by Tagore, led to its acceptance by the masses and even the official website of the Government of India has the song in Raga Des. This is the official version of Vande Maataram, in the form that has been assigned the status of the national song of India; with the first two stanzas of the original composition.

This is the orchestral rendition by the All India Radio orchestra.

Another one in the same Raga by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi

The fact that since Bankim Chandra did not himself assign a tune to his composition, the proponents of Vande Maataram were at liberty to set a tune according to their interpretation and according to the occasion where it was being performed.
Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar had composed this song in the Raga Kafi and he used to sing the whole song based on this raga in all the meetings and gatherings including the annual conventions of the Indian National Congress. Later Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, a disciple of Pt. Paluskar, also popularized the song in the same raga and he sang this version on 15th August 1947 from the studios of All India Radio, standing in attention throughout while singing Vande Maataram, as the entire nation heard him holding its breath.
Below is an example of raga Kafi followed by the rendition in Pt. Omkarnath Thakur's voice.

Pandit V D Ambhaikar, set the song to tune in raga Khambavati. Below is Vande Maataram being sung in this raga by Mogubai Kurdikar of the Jaipur gharana (mother of Kishori Amonkar).

Dilip Kumar Roy, another stalwart in the field of Indian music, also recorded Vande Maataram in his own voice which was a conglomeration of ragas Bilawal and Bageshwari.

Here mention must be made of Master Krishnarao Fulambrikar, who single handedly fought a battle to make Vande Maataram the National Anthem of India. Though Jana Gana Mana was declared the National Anthem of independent India on the 24th of January 1950, it was due to the efforts of Krishnarao that Vande Maataram was assigned the glory of being called the national song. Here is his rendition in raga Jhinjhoti.

Pandit Vishnupant Pagnis sang Vande Maataram in a different style, in the reverse order and in the raga Vrindavani Sarang. Here is his composition.

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose declared Vande Maataram the marching song of The Indian National Army. The version which was adopted by the INA was composed by Timir Baran Bhattacharya and was based on raga Durga. Here is that song both as a vocal rendition and as a marching song on a military band.

In the post independence era, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay (Hemant Kumar) composed one of his masterpieces for the Hindi film Anandamath (1952). Composed with a mixture of ragas Sindhu Bhairavi and Ahir Bhairav this song is still popular among the masses. Here is the song in two different forms, sung by Hemanta and Lata Mangeshkar from the same film.

And how can one forget the revival of Vande Maataram by A R Rahman based on which Vande Maataram was chosen as the world's second best song by the BBC on 21st December 2002. Incidentally this is also in raga Des and has the saxophone played wonderfully by Chris Davis.

There are many songs with the words Vande Maataram in them, but only two are worth mentioning here. The first one is by M S Subbulakshmi called Vande Maataram Nalirmani Neerum written by Thyagaraja and the second one is composed by David Mills and is called The Land Belongs to the Children.
I shall be ending the first part now by providing you with two renditions of Vande Maataram; the first on Sarod by Pandit Amjad Ali Khan and the second on Santoor by Pandit Rajan Sharma, both in raga Des.

The second part of this topic will deal with the circumstances which led to Jana Gana Mana being selected the National Anthem of India and Vande Maataram being declared the national song of India with my interpretation of the situation. As it remains a controversial topic I intend to publish it after a full research and verifying all relevant aspects.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Suchitra Mitra - Beyond Rabindrasangeet

With the sad demise of Suchitra Mitra, the noted exponent of Rabindrasangeet, the cyberspace is loaded with obituaries about the legend. All these are essentially the same; often copied from one to another with little originality.
Despite being known all over the world as a doyen in the field of Rabindrasangeet, Suchitra Mitra started her career with Bengali modern songs (Adhunik Gaan) and songs for the IPTA. Suchitra even sang songs of Atul Prasad Sen, Jyotirindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay.
This is my way of paying homage to this great artiste by providing you with some of these songs, other than Rabindrasangeet, which the singer had recorded in her voice.

The first playlist is of Bengali modern songs (Adhunik Gaan) with two songs by Suchitra Mitra.


The second playlist consists of the four songs of IPTA in which Suchitra Mitra has featured.


The third playlist has five songs of Atul Prasad rendered to perfection by Suchitra Mitra. 


The fourth playlist consists of three songs by Suchitra Mitra, one each by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay; Kazi Nazrul Islam and Jyotirindranath Tagore in that sequence.


Apart from these fourteen songs in the four playlists, there are some more non Rabindrasangeets by Suchitra Mitra which are not in my collection. I would remain indebted to the readers of this blog if they are able to enrich my collection. The missing songs are i) Phirey Tumi Aasbey - Adhunik, ii) Aaj Banglar Bukey - IPTA, iii) Se Daake Aamare - Atul Prasad. 
Please send in your comments and suggestions.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Concept of Impact Factor in Music with reference to El Condor Pasa

It so happened not so long ago that I was standing in a queue to get my immigration clearance done at the international terminal of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose airport at Kolkata. The two gentlemen standing just in front of me were talking amongst themselves about “Impact Factor” of articles published in scientific journals. The older of the two, a professor in an engineering college, was elaborate in describing the role of IF to the younger gentleman, who also happened to be his student. The queue moved on, so did the gentlemen but I kept on thinking about the impact factor. It was not due to that I did not know about IF, but I kept on wondering about extrapolating the concept to plagiarism in music.
The impact factor, often abbreviated IF, is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to articles published in science and social science journals. It is frequently used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field, with journals with higher impact factors deemed to be more important than those with lower ones. The impact factor was devised by Eugene Garfield, the founder of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), now part of Thomson Reuters. In a given year, the impact factor of a journal is the average number of citations received per paper published in that journal during the two preceding years. For example, if a journal has an impact factor of 4 in 2009, then its papers published in 2007 and 2008 received 4 citations each on average.
A = the number of times articles published in 2007 and 2008 were cited by indexed journals during 2009 B = the total number of "citable items" published by that journal in 2007 and 2008.
("Citable items" are usually articles, reviews, proceedings, or notes; not editorials or Letters-to-the-Editor.)
2009 impact factor = A/B
It is to be noted that 2009 impact factors are actually published in 2010; they cannot be calculated until all of the 2009 publications have been processed by the indexing agency.
Now how can we extrapolate this concept to plagiarism in music? Let us term it as Music Impact Factor (MIF). The less the MIF, the more is the originality. The MIF, for obvious reasons cannot be calculated on a yearly basis but it can surely be calculated for a particular song or for a particular album as a lifetime factor. The factor can and should be updated on a constant basis and the previous year’s or the previous decade’s MIF can be calculated as a factor. The MIF can be conveniently subdivided into Forward MIF (FMIF) and Reverse MIF (RMIF). The FMIF will obviously be for the older song from which the new song is copied or is influenced and the factor will always be greater than 1 and the more is this number; the more number of newer songs has the older one influenced. The RMIF, on the other hand, will be calculated for the newer song and will depend on the number of older songs that have gone into the making of the new song. It will always be a fraction of 1 and the lesser the fraction; the more is the number of songs that have gone into the making of the new song. Let me propose, at this juncture, that a blatant lift would be assigned a score of 1, an influence would get a score of 0.75 and barely some notes in common would qualify for a score of 0.5 and just a coincidence will be let off with 0.25.
With this background, let us discuss today’s song and at the end we will try and calculate the MIF. It is to be noted that I shall be calculating the MIF for a song in this post only and shall not be repeating the calculation in any of my future posts as this is of purely academic and scientific interest. Those interested can perform the calculation on their own.
Recently I was watching a Hindi movie “Kites”. I was just about to pass it off as an insipid and uninteresting movie when I noticed something which needs mention. As the end credits of the film were rolling out, the music caught my attention; it sounded familiar.
Here is the tune. Does it sound familiar to you also?

If you hear the song with all your concentration you will come to know that this piece of music used in the prelude of the song “Kites” has a few notes in common from an old folk tune originating from the heights of Peruvian Andes known as El Condor Pasa. The popular folk tune is a bit faster, but Rajesh Roshan has modified the pace of the composition making it much slower and hard to decipher. Actually Rajesh Roshan's composition closely resembles the original notes of the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomia Robles. Robles's composition has its slow and fast portions and it is the notes of the slower part that has the resemblance. Here is that original composition with the sheet music.

Traditionally the tune is played on Peruvian flute and it has been performed and modified over these years by many musicians all over the world.  The original composition consists of three parts: a Yaravi, a Parade or "fox" Inca and leaking Huayno, the three native rhythms of Peru. Now let us concentrate on the original El Condor Pasa before moving on to many versions of the song and the direct lifts and inspirations. As I told previously, El Cóndor Pasa (The Condor Goes by (or Flies by)) is a song from the zarzuela El Cóndor Pasa by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles written in 1913 and based on traditional Andean folk tunes. The original words are in Quechua, the language of the Incas, and it was written by Julio Baodouin Y Paz. It is as follows.

Yau kuntur llaqtay orgopy tiyaq
Maymantam gawamuhuakchianqui, kuntur kuntur
Apayllahuay llaqtanchikman, chay wasinchikman chiri orgupy,
Kutiytam munany kuntur kuntur.

Kuzco llaqtapyn plazachallampyn suyaykamullaway,
Machupicchupy Huaynapicchupy purikunanchiqpaq.

Transliterated into English it means:

Oh mighty Condor, owner of the skies,
take me home.
Up into the Andes, Oh mighty Condor,
I want to go back to my native place,
to be with my Inca brothers.
Thats what I miss the most, Oh mighty Condor.
Wait for me in the Cusco, in the main plaza,
so that we can take a walk in Machupicchu and Huaynapicchu.

The scene of this song and the zarzuela is set in a mine in the Peruvian Andes. It describes the exploitations of the workers while the condor flies as a symbol of freedom. Here is that original version of the song in Quechua by a Peruvian group called Wayna Picchu.

It was first brought into mainstream music by a group called Urubamba, formerly known as Los Incas. Here is El Condor Pasa by Los Incas

It is possibly the best-known Peruvian song worldwide due to a cover version by Simon & Garfunkel in 1970 on their Bridge Over Troubled Water album. This cover version is called El Condor Pasa (If I Could). Paul Simon heard a version called "Paso Del Condor" by Jorge Milchberg, who is head of the group Urubamba when the group was touring France. Simon became friendly with the group through this song, and ended up touring with them and producing their first American album. Paul Simon personalized the song by adding his own English lyrics. On the Simon & Garfunkel version, Robles, Milchberg and Simon are all listed as songwriters. Here is the world famous song by Simon and Garfunkel.

Later that year, Perry Como released a cover of Simon's English version on his album It's Impossible, while Julie Felix took advantage of Simon and Garfunkel's decision not to release their version as a UK single, and had a UK Top 20 hit with it. Here is that song by Julie Felix.

Simon & Garfunkel did release their version as a single in the U.S. and it reached number 18 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the fall of 1970.
Here is a selection of different artists both vocal and instrumental, performing El Condor Pasa. I have deliberately chosen these pieces to give you a feel of how the music sounds when it is sung in different languages and played on different musical instruments. The inspired portion from El Condor Pasa has been used in the Hindi film "Kites" when the end credits start rolling and has also been used as a background music during the movie when Hrithik and Barbara Mori enjoy their glasses of champagne sitting in front of the dancing fountain.

Sur le chemin des Andes - Marie Laforet (French)

El Condor - Placido Domingo (Spanish)

El Condor - Esther Ofarim (Hebrew)

Il Condor - Gigliola Cinquetti (Italian)

Apart from these there are three remixed versions of El Condor Pasa. The first one is by DJ Sami, which has different lyrics (just four words) and the second one is by Russian pop star Valeriy Leontiev with the same lyrics.The third version is a Polish version by Mano Erina and is called 'Nyu Chan Desu' and belongs to a genre called 'Disco Polo'. Many singers all over the world have sung 'If I Could' but I have included only those which are in languages other than English and those which are different in the arrangement & composition. 

Here is the instrumental playlist.

Music Playlist at

We now turn our attention towards film soundtracks and songs having the version by Simon and Garfunkel or inspired by this song.
First in this list is the film called "The Voyage of The Yes" (1973).

The next song is from the Hindi film Jaanam, 'Teri Chahat Ke Siwa'. 

Another song from the Hindi movie Virasat, "Taarein Hain Baaarati". The prelude of the song is definitely inspired by 'El Condor' while the rest of the song has a different tune altogether. Both the Hindi songs are composed by Anu Malik.

There must be many more versions of El Condor prevalent in the world which I am unaware of and therefore I don't claim this list to be an exhaustive one. Having said that lets us now integrate some science into arts as we try and calculate the Music Impact Factor (MIF) of the original Zarzuela composition by Daniel Alomia Robles; to be precise the Forward Music Impact Factor (FMIF) . Readers please refer back to the initial part of this post for details regarding the calculation of the IF.
Robles's original Zarzuela composition inspired the original Quechua version thus getting a score of 1, the Quechua song inspired the composition by Urubamba - again scoring 1. Paul Simon put his English lyrics into the composition of Urubamba making it a worldwide hit thus earning another 1 point. The success of  "If I Could" by Simon and Garfunkel led to a deluge of direct lifts and the French, Spanish, Italian and Hebrew songs came into being giving a score of 4 (1x4). The remixed versions by DJ Sami, Leontiev and Mano Erina earn a score of 0.75 each thus totaling 2.25. The soundtrack from the movie 'The Voyage of the Yes' qualifies for a score of 1. Anu Malik's composition from the Hindi movie 'Jaanam' gives a score of 0.5 (inspiration only) and that from the movie 'Virasat' gives a score o 0.5 (some notes common - prelude only). Rajesh Roshan's composition in the movie 'Kites' gives a score of 0.25 as I think it is just a coincidence. Thus the total combining all the scores in 11.50. Therefore the FMIF for the original Zarzuela composition by Daniel Alomia Robles till 2009 is 11.50. This calculation of MIF is just a proposal by me to scientifically document the impact of a particular composition or song on the world music scenario. 
Keep visiting my blog and keep listening to music as music has so much to offer.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rebetika & Indian film music - Part III

In this post I continue from where I left you in the last post. During the 1950s and 1960s more than a 100 Indian films were imported into Greece and the music of these films cast an everlasting impression on poor and middle class Greeks. Songs from films like Aan, Mother India, Naagin, Lajwanti, Ujaala, Aurat etc. were adopted with Byzantine overtones and became instant hits in Greece. Quite a number of Greek singers specialized in singing Indoprepi songs, namely Stelios Kazantzidis, Manolis Aggelopoulos, Petros Anagnostakis, Vagelis Perpeniadis, Voula Palla, Marinella, Poly Panou etc. to name a few. The tunes of Naushad and Shankar Jaikishan were the ones which were mostly adopted by the Greek music directors.

1a.  Ulfat Ka Saaz Chhedo - Aurat (1953), Shankar Jaikishan / Lata Mangeshkar

1b. Afti I Nyxta Menei (1959)

This original song was sung by Stelios Kazantzidis and incidentally there was a film with the same name but the title track of the same name has a different tune and was composed by Stamatis Kraounakis.

2a. Sab Kuch Seekha Humne - Anari (1955), Shankar Jaikishan / Mukesh

2b. Gyrise Konta Mou (1962)
Two renditions; one from 1960s and the other as late as 2009. The first one is actually a portmanteau of the same song by two singers - V. Perpiniadis and A. Eteleseis. The second is recorded at Tassos Bougas's performance in Chicago.

3a. Yamma Yamma, Yamma - China Town (1962), Ravi / Asha Bhonsle

3b. Mou Lene Na Min Klaio (1963)

4a. Duniya Walon Se Dur, Ujaala (1959), Shankar Jaikishan / Mukesh; Lata Mangeshkar

4b. Oso Aksizeis Esy (1963). Two versions; the first one in from 1960s and the second one is a remixed version from 2009.

5a. Unchi Unchi Duniya Ki Deewarein - Naagin (1954), Hemant Kumar / Lata Mangeshkar

5b.Osi glyka exoune ta xeili

6a. Gao Taraane Man Ke - Aan (1952), Naushad / Shamshad Begum; Lata Mangeshkar; Mohd. Rafi & Chorus

6b. To Pikrameno Gramma (1960) - Two versions; old & the original song by Manolis Agglepoulos and a new one respectively.

7a. Tere Bina Aag Ye Chandni - Awaara (1951), Shankar Jaikishan / Lata Mangeshkar; Manna De

7b. Ston Ourano Kai Sti Gi (1960)

8a. Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi - Awaara (1951), Shankar Jaikishan / Lata Mangeshkar

8b. Eisai I Zoi Mou (1959)

9a. Aa Jao Tarapte Hain Armaaan - Awaara (1951), Shankar Jaikishan / Lata Mangeshkar

This was one of the most popular Indoprepi songs and gave rise to many versions. Some of them are listed below.

9b. Irtha Pali Konta Sou (1959) - Marinella

Three renditions of Mantoupala (1959) one after another - Stelios Kazantizidis

10a. Saathi Haath Badhana - Naya Daur (1957), O P Nayyar / Mohd. Rafi, Asha Bhonsle

10b. Gyrise Pali Konta Mou (1962)

11a. Tumhare Hain Tumse Daya Maangte Hain - Boot Polish (1954), Shankar Jaikishan / Mohd. Rafi; Asha Bhonsle

11b. Makari Na Matho Pos Exeis Ploutisei (1962)

12a. Chanda Dhale Pankha Jhale - Pyaar Ki Pyaas (1961), Vasant Desai / Geeta Dutt

Incidentally the same song has also been sung by Lata Mangeshkar in the same film.

12b. Agapi Toso Omorfi (1964)

13a. Jo Tum Toh Royo Piya - Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), Vasant Desai / Lata Mangeshkar

13b. Agapi Muglekeaw

14a. Yeh Zindagi Ke Mele - Mela (1948), Naushad / Mohd. Rafi

14b. Paidi Mou Gurna Piso (1963)

15a. Aye Chaand Kal Jo Aana - Devta (1956), C. Ramchandra / Lata Mangeshkar

15b. Prin Mou Fygeis Glykia Mou (1956)

After this era of the heydays of Hindi film music in mainland Greece, there was a gradual decline in this trend due to Greece growing economically, modern western lifestyle and preferences including films and many other factors which are beyond the scope of discussion o this blog. Lately, beginning this century, there has been a revival of interest in Bollywood movies and Hindi film songs. Hindi film songs are being increasingly translated and dubbed in Greek. I leave you with one such song from the movie "Chalte Chalte" (the new one with Shahrukh Khan).

Keep visiting and keep posting your suggestions.