Remember the goosebumps you got when Indira Gandhi drove down Rajpath on Republic Day to the haunting strains of “Ai Mere Watan Ke Logon”? Or this homily from the late comedian and singer Robin Williams: “You know what music is? God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe; harmonic connection between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars.”
Music is never far from our lives but give your adrenaline an extra boost this World Music Day (June 21) with your favourite melodies and some interesting reading. Remember, it’s also the day of the Summer Solstice – so make the most of it!
“Lata Mangeshkar…in her own voice” by Nasreen Munni Kabir
In over six decades, Lata Mangeshkar has recorded more songs than anyone else in the world and yet, despite her extraordinary fame, she is a deeply private person This book of fascinating conversations between Lata Mangeshkar and Nasreen Munni Kabir, takes us into the world of India’s most gifted singer and reveals the person behind the voice that has touched the lives of billions.
“Dagars & Dhrupad – Divine Legacy” by Humra Quraishi
This book provides glimpses of the rich heritage of this haunting form of music that has enthralled audiences worldwide. It traces the history of the illustrious Dagar family through 20 generations of dhrupad singers and highlights their distinctive approach to this unique form of music.
“Nilina’s Song – The life of Naina Devi” by AshaRani Mathur
Through extensive interviews with her family and friends, the author traces the saga of a woman who re-invented herself and her persona, from the young Nilina, grand-daughter of Keshub Chandra Sen, steeped in the philosophy of the Brahmo Samaj, to Rani Nina Ripjit Singh, wife of an aristocrat of Punjab, adapting herself to a different kind of sophistication and refinement and then, as circumstances changed, to Naina Devi, seeker of music, who found her peace and her vocation in the world of the performance arts.
“Songs of Tagore” by Aruna Chakravarti
This collection of publication of 112 select songs of Rabindranath Tagore is primarily for Indian and non-Indian listeners who have no access to the original language of the Poet, but enjoy listening to his songs and would like to understand what the song says.
“Beethoven and Friends” by Kishore Chatterjee
What is the fate of Western classical music today? This book presents the history of Western classical music through the unusual stories of the many lives that shaped it.
“Beyond Music – Maestros in Conversation” by Geeta Sahai and Shrinkhala Sahai
Delves into candid opinions on issues, revealing thoughts on music-making and emotional sagas of some of the most accomplished, revered classical musicians, this book is is an exciting journey into the minds of the musicians, bringing alive the fragrance of their art.
“Shiv Kumar Sharma – The Man & His Music” Edited by Ina Puri
An animated dialogue that touches upon the life and music of the Santoor maestro, this book also contains two essays by Pandit Vijay Kichlu, and Manek Premchand, a renowned film historian.
“Along Deep Lonely Alleys – Baul-Fakir-Dervish of Bengal” by Utpal K.Banerjee (Translated by Sudhir Chakravarty)
Tracing this distinctive strain of folklore, music and spiritual beliefs, the author opens the doors to a new vision of this unique world of wandering minstrels, throwing up certain characters which have no archetypes, lending a composite structure to it all.
“Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty” – Seeker of the music within” by Shyam Banerji
Sensitively exploring the singer’s early life, the narrative flows through the melody he creates and illuminates its key moments and inspirations.
“Mohammed Rafi: God’s Own Voice” by Dhirendra Jain and Raju Kotri
Thirty-five years after his death, Rafi’s popularity keeps multiplying and each day one gets to hear and rediscover some new anecdote about his prowess as a singer and nobility as a human being. This is perhaps the first attempt that delves into the stupendous life and times of a titan in such comprehensive depth.
“Bismillah Khan – The Maestro from Benaras” by Juhi Sinha
The book lovingly portrays the whims and foibles of an artist, whose stature as a musical legend could never quite overshadow the wit, humour and charisma of the man.
Remember “Thank You For The Music”, the evergreen Abba hit? So I say/Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing/Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing/Who can live without it? I ask in all honesty/What would life be?/Without a song or a dance, what are we?/S o I say, thank you for the music/ For giving it to me.
Till next time, then.