Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Kora

One of the most melodious string instruments I've ever heard - the Kora, a 21-string harp-lute used extensively in West Africa. Kora players have traditionally come from griot families (also from the Mandinka nationalities) who are traditional historians, genealogists and storytellers who pass their skills on to their descendants.

Hear the Kora live at a recent concert of Shoonya, where French-speaking African students in the city performed along with Djembe Ashok's band - fantastic!

A beautiful 8-minute video where Toumani Diabate presents the kora, demonstrates various styles and how the instrument is made, and plays pieces from his latest album.

Elyne Road, a favorite piece:

Friday, October 29, 2010


Blue skies,
And dragonflies,

* Photo from Google Images

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wake Up!

The nice thing about sharing music is that you sometimes get great music in return - listen to another wake-up song!

The Drums - Let's go Surfing!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Installing an Operating System :) :) :) :)

Another Dave Barry classic!

"So there are many different operating systems available, each with different capabilities, advantages, and drawbacks. Which one is right for your specific needs? The answer is: Whichever one is already on your computer. Believe me, you do not want to try to install a better operating system yourself. I have done this several times, and it is terrifying. Your computer is taken over by an Evil Demon Installation Program, very much the way young Linda Blair was taken over in the movie The Exorcist. First your screen goes blank, and then suddenly your computer starts asking you a series of questions that you could never answer in a million years, like:

"The Installation Program has determined that a conflict exists between your IRQ Port Parameter Module and your Cache Initialization Valve. Shall the Installation Program reallocate the Motherboard Transfer Polarity Replication Allotment, or shall it adjust the Disk Controller Impedance Threshold? Bear in mind that if you answer this question incorrectly, all of your data will be lost and innocent people could die."


"Before it will proceed any further with the installation, the Installation Program wishes you to name the capital of Cameroon."


"How many men are in your unit? What is your objective? What is your radio frequency? What is the password? ANSWER! THE INSTALLATION PROGRAM HAS WAYS TO MAKE YOU TALK!"

This can go on for many hours, and at any moment your computer may start laughing in a diabolical manner and spinning its monitor around 360 degrees and projectile-vomiting green stuff."

I remember a couple of years ago when my son, Rob, in an act of great bravery, attempted to install the "OS/2" operating system, which came in the form of about 8000 diskettes accompanied by a manual the size of a Toyota Camry. The computer was working fine when Rob started; after several hours of installation, it was a totally dysfunctional, muttering, potentially violent thing, and we had to take it outside and shoot it."

Page 82-83, 'In Cyberspace' by Dave Barry

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spoken Word Poem: The Information Man

Buddy Wakefield performs a spoken word poem, The Information Man. (Received this from a friend)

"Spoken word is used as a musical or entertainment term, referring to works or performances that consist solely or mostly of one person speaking as if naturally.

Musically, this is distinct from rapping, as rapping incorporates rhythm and sometimes melody, whereas spoken word is more akin to narration or speaking as the person would in conversation, as shown in the song "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)" by Baz Lurhmann.

In entertainment, spoken word performances generally consist of storytelling or sometimes poetry, something exemplified by people like Hedwig Gorski, the originator of performance poetry, Mark "Chopper" Read and Henry Rollins.

Start wearing Purple!

I didn't really wake up even after a brisk morning walk, have been very tired - but this woke me up!! If you need some energy, here it is -

Start wearing Purple!
by Gogol Bordello, Eugene Hütz

"Eugene Hütz is a Ukrainian-born singer and composer, most notable as the frontman of the critically-acclaimed New York Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello. Hütz is also a DJ and actor."

Thursday, October 14, 2010


"I stepped into the bookshop and breathed in that perfume of paper and magic that strangely no one had ever thought of bottling."

— Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Angel's Game)

Four fresh new French books. A gift from afar.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No feeling is final

From a Lonely Planet guide on Laos, left by some other backpacker, one rainy afternoon in Luang Prabang:

"...The Theravada doctrine (of Buddishm) stresses the three principle aspects of existence: dukha (suffering, unsatisfactoriness, disease) anicca (impermanence, transcience of all things) and anatta (non-substantiality or non-essentiality of reality - no permanent 'soul').

Comprehension of anicca reveals that no experience, no state of mind, no physical object lasts. Trying to hold onto experience, states of mind, and objects that are constantly changing, creates dukkha.

Anatta is the understanding that there is no part of the changing world we can point to and say "This is me" or "This is God" or "This is the soul".

(Photo by a friend)

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Yesterday, 'Shankar', Anant Nag's book on his late younger brother, the very versatile Shankar Nag, was released, in Kannada. This particular extract was translated by Deepa Ganesh and published in The Hindu Friday Review today. What a man, and how tragic, his untimely death. For those who are not familiar with him, he was the director of 'Malgudi Days'. An extract from the article:

"Take it as it comes was Shankar's motto. It always seemed like he was telling life, "Whatever you say...". Shankar's ways were not that of a great disciplinarian. Shankar never rigidly insisted that things had to be done in a particular fashion. Scarcity never disturbed him, neither did he gloat over abundance. Poverty made me feel inferior and diffident, but it was not so with Shankar. When we lived in Mumbai, I would never invite anyone home, but Shankar would bring everyone in and have great fun. As days went by, I felt less embarrassed by our modest circumstances.

During the movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan and also the Emergency days, our little house used to be teeming with people. All that we did in those days was to distribute relief to those who were in jail, or to their families, make pamphlets and secretly reach it to people, collect money and distribute it. "

Blog Archive