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Monday, March 30, 2009

Carnatic singer performs in Richmond

where: Douglas Wilder Middle School
6900 Wilkinson Road
Richmond, VA 23227

when: April 17th, 2009.
7:00p.m to 10:00p.m

Richmond Rasikas is proud to announce the carnatic vocal concert of Ms. Sowmya, as part of their Spring Concert Series. She will be accompanied on the Violin by Shri R.K. Shriramkumar and on the Mridangam by Shri Neyveli Narayanan.

Apna Virsa Apna Punjab Indian Bhangra Dance Competition

Apna Virsa Apna Punjab Indian Bhangra Dance Competition
Saturday, Apr 4 7:00p

If Music Could Talk - March 29, 2009


Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy Gudi Padwa

Happy Gudi Padwa!

"Gudhi Padwa is especially dedicated to the worship of Lord Brahma. Many legends state that this festival is celebrated to commemorate the corronation of Rama after his return to Ayodhya from 14 years of exile."

here are some recipes for this holiday

and here is a description of the tradition of drawing Rangoli - which is said to have originated in Maharashtra

According to one website ( "Gudi Padwa is the Maharashtra’s New Year day.... It is also called Ugadi in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
People hoist a pole with a shining silver or brass metal vessel fastened to a flowing silk cloth called gudi. Garlands of sweet, sugary, battasa, neem leaves and flowers are tied to the banner.
The story is that on this day Lord Brahma created the Universe. Hence this day is also celebrated as the Birth Day of the earth.
The gudi is tied outside the house, a new Panchangam is placed before the gudi and a puja with haldi (turmeric), kumkum (red powder), chandan (sandalwood paste) and rice is performed.

The custom is to eat a couple of bitter neem leaves fried in ghee and mixed with sugar. Neem leaves are antiseptic and they are eaten on Gudi Padwa to ensure good health..."

Have a wonderful and prosperous new year

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sita Sings the Blues

here's a pretty interesting animation project - and also a great bait for controversy and criticism.. i choose to appreciate the beauty here, esp in conveying the story of the ramayana in such a simple accessible way... but of course, many would also point out that this cartoon takes some artistic license in interpreting these supreme deities and their story.

anyway, if you must, i'll let you be the judge -- beautiful or blasphemous - it's just a cartoon..

Sita Sings the Blues, by Nina Paley

For a playlist containing all 10 parts, try here

The movie is available for FREE download in 1080p, 720p, and 480p!
For an updated list of download or torrent links, go here

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This Thursday at Cous Cous!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night

I just watched a really cool documentary about call centers in India called "Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night" (a Women Make Movies Release).

( the title is a reference to the fact that many call center folks in India adopt alternate names "to avoid difficulty in pronunciation" during the phone call... these call centers generally operate at night- India being almost exactly 12 hours time difference... )

the film focuses on call centers to explore the theme of globalization, and, specifically, how outsourcing has affected India...

it also gives a very interesting perspective on the parallel lives that Indians live here, in the US, and back home in places like Delhi and Mumbai... and points out some of the paradoxes that the filmmaker noticed after visiting a large call center in Delhi...

one section focuses on the "cultural briefings" and pronunciation training that these employees receive when they are hired - depending on whether these call center "operators" are speaking to people in the UK or USA, the cultural info and accent training changes. the film was made by an Indian living here in the USA - which adds a certain sincerity to the perspective offered in my opinion - in part because she is able to draw parallels & contrasts to her own life, expressing her understanding for the Indian experience "globally". ( after seeing this documentary, it seems the "call center" scenes in Andy Boyle's film come pretty close too, but for obvious reasons, he would not be able to speak from a perspective as personally as the director does here )

more information about this film is available here and also, here

more about the director here

Sunday, March 22, 2009

If Music Could Talk March 22, 2009- Japanese Pop from the 70s and 80s, Metal and Hip Hop from the 90s


Imokin Trio - High School Lullaby

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

If Music Could Talk - March 15th 2009 - Classic pop from Asia


Monday, March 16, 2009

Dengue Fever in Richmond - April 18!

Dengue Fever - Khmer psych rock from LA

with Chicha Libre ("surf cumbia" from Brooklyn with a style straight outta 70's Peru) , Bio Ritmo (aww yeah, tha best salsa group you ever heard - from Richmond if you dont know), and Lauren Kendall ... all that, and you can also get your duckpin bowling on!

Plaza Bowl
521 E. Southside Plaza
Richmond, VA 23224

Price $10.00

plus, it's right after Chaul Chnam Thmey - Khmer New Year... which starts on the eve of April 13th

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bollywood Night -THIS Saturday March 14th

School and Charitable Trust founded in memory of the late actress Smita Patil

Smita Patil public school

More comment on Slumdog

i've raved about this film so much.. but recently I've also read some very good criticism which i think might actually hold validity... it concerns the fact that this film is really nothing all that new - but recieved attention because it was made by a moderately well known "western" director, Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, etc), and also had the help of other "crossover" elements ( i think M.I.A.'s cameos on the soundtrack really helped boost this film as well) -- in fact one critic states basically that this sort of film has already been done (and he claims, it has been done better) .. "Indians make better and more realistic films about India. For example, Subhash K. Jha (author of The Essential Guide to Bollywood) states that this territory has already been covered by Indian filmmakers (Mira Nair in Salaam Bombay and Satyajit Ray in the Apu Trilogy). Similarly, Soutik Biswas of the BBC argues that Slumdog Millionaire is an imitation of Indian films that have been "routinely ignored" and suggests that, "if you are looking for gritty realism set in the badlands of Mumbai, order a DVD of a film called Satya by Ramgopal Verma. The 1998 feature on an immigrant who is sucked into Mumbai's colourful underworld makes Slumdog look like a slick, uplifting MTV docu-drama." (from Wikipedia and other various sources)

I have read Subhash Jha's "Essential Guide to Bollywood" and in my opinion, it only barely manages a "tip of the iceberg" cross section of the vast number of bollywood films that have been made.. basically, it is Jha's personal favorites list.. but it does do a good job of showing the variety in Bollywood films. it's often been stated that Indian audiences dont really care for "art films" - but tend to go for the Masala style films (action, mystery, comedy, romance, drama, musical numbers etc - all rolled into one) - I'm not sure that this is always true, and that doesnt mean that these type of "Artistic" films havent been made brilliantly by Indian directors.. (see also Parallel Cinema and Art Cinema)

films by Shyam Benegal, Rabindra Dharmaraj, Sagar Sarhadi, Ketan Mehta, Naseeruddin Shah, also tell the stories of "the poor exploited downtrodden people living in the slums" - and cover other topics that might not be readily understood by a director who doesnt know India as these directors do.. these directors have all made incredibly moving and painfully realistic films which have been criminally overlooked by the rest of the world… (some of my favorites in this genre featured Smita Patil and Shabana Azmi)

I think maybe the point im making here, in summary, is that -- Slumdog Millionaire is an exceptional film - beautiful, and poetic.. but there are many films by Indian directors as well that convey other perspectives about the struggles of people in India -- and I hope that people will be more inclined now to seek these films out.. I will even try to post a few recommendations here in the future... the problem is, those DVDs are relatively hard to find - since as i mentioned, theyve been generally overlooked even by Indian audiences- ive bought most of them online.

[Salman] "Rushdie also blasted Boyle's admission that he made the film in part because he was unfamiliar with India. "I imagined an Indian film director making a movie about New York low-life and saying that he had done so because he knew nothing about New York and had indeed never been there. He would have been torn limb from limb by critical opinion. But for a first world director to say that about the third world is considered praiseworthy, an indication of his artistic daring. The double standards of post-colonial attitudes have not yet wholly faded away.""


yes, its all true.. when you hold this thing up to the light there are so many contraditions and flaws.. damn! i hate when beautiful bubbles are burst by ugly undeniable realities...

alas, i love this film.. and when taken with a grain of salt, i think it still stands up as a truly great "work of art" -- yes, i said "work of art"... Slumdog Millionaire is a magnificent work of art--nothing more nothing less- let's leave it at that for a little while.

(that is unless you care to dwell further on the fates of the child actors - which continues to make headlines in the media --specifically TIME magazine (yellow journalism at its finest in my opinion) "Rubina's custody is now an issue, as her biological mother has tried to gain custody from the stepmother who raised her, apparently to get access to Rubina's funds and improved lifestyle. Meanwhile, Azharuddin was slapped by his father when he refused to do an interview that his father had promised" ) etc etc..

honestly, i love that all this conversation is even happening.... now go watch some Indian art films - like this one!!!! , or this one! , or this one! .. or this one or this one, or this one! .. and so many others that i havent seen yet..

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Holi!!

click picture to view supersize in pop up window

here's a colorful collection of cover art from t series, makers of fine cds and cassette tapes (also color tvs, audio and video systems) - now all available as downloads on emusic - to check these particular releases out, just type in "holi" in the album name search.. enjoy !

note: all of these covers are rated PG-13

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

If Music Could Talk - March 8 2009 - movin' forward!


Friday, March 06, 2009

Origins of Angolan Ku Duro music - Tony Amada

watch the video

( dotSUB... what an awesome site that is! - translated videos in "any language" eh? such a great idea! )



army group from Cameroun

Bollywood Night at Cous Cous- March 14th 2009!!!

well, it's a bit of a late announcement... because actually we were planning on taking a month off in March to "recharge" after a year's worth of amazing Bollywood Night dance parties at Cous Cous.. however, the fact i missed somehow is that the Indian holiday of Holi happens next week.. celebrating the return of color into the world... so i think thats perfect for the idea of renewing the energy in this wonderful monthly event.. Bollywood Night! (see classic clip from Sholay below - Holi Ke Din)

FLYER WILL BE POSTED HERE SOON!!! check back for details!!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Hip Hop heads: bookmark this blog immediately

i liked this blog so much, i didnt want to tell anyone about it when i first found it... but anyway, good things are meant to be shared right?

check the extensive sample collections listed by classic album - one after another... plus, frequent updates on all the true hip hop artists who are still keeping hip hop alive and vital despite all the claims that hip hop has left the building


Monday, March 02, 2009

Snowstorm in Richmond - Podcast from last night March 1 09 - If Music Could Talk on WRIR


(this is an extended show because Pswan, the host for the next show - "cant stop the music", couldnt make it in due to heavy snow on the roads...i filled in for 2 more hours--- 45 minutes of that are included on this podcast.. at least until the power went out and the backup generator cut everything back on...which actually gave me a little shock when the lights cut, and i jumped and bumped the microphone with my lip accidentally... lol... nevertheless, WRIR remained "on the air" through the storm, being the "official emergency broadcast outlet of the city of richmond" )

enjoy the music on your snow day home!

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