all that jazz

Its all here - anything about everything.

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Location: Hyd, AP, India

Lawyer+Loving husband+caring Father+nature lover+musican+sportsman+Godfearing+angler+wise beyond belief+caring+compassionate et al.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Reggae - Music of Jah people



Reggae music has always been my favourite. King Bob Marley is the best and I even pride myself in being some sort of reggae singer. However apart from Marley there have been some other low-profile yet awesome reggae artists such as Burning Spear, Buju Banton, Peter Tosh, etc. Even Stevie Wonder had a great reggae number - Master Blaster Jammin. Many other rock artists came up with reggae numbers like, Led Zep, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jack Johnson, etc. Lately though I have been lucky enough to come across the new reggae sensation - Matisyahu. He is different from other contenporary artists like Damian Marley, UB40, etc because his blend of old school reggae with rap is truly unique. Matisyahu's popularity began with underground buzz. He then started to gain mainstream success as evidenced by his appearances on television. He appeared on the Last Call with Carson Daly in 2004, and was introduced by Carson as "the most exciting thing happening in music today". Matisyahu is currently getting some success in the mainstream with the live version of the song 'King Without a Crown', which has broken into the Modern Rock Top 10; an accompanying video and new album - 'Youth' - produced by Bill Laswell were released on March 7, 2006. On March 16th Youth was Billboard magazine's #1 "Digital Album" and as of April 4th stands at 16th on iTunes' top albums.
The music, developed partly with his backing band Roots Tonic has a unique sound, mixing reggae, traditional rap, and guitar solos typical of rock music. His fans are of different walks of life, religions, and ethnicities. He sometimes performs with Kenny Muhammad, a Muslim beatboxer. Matisyahu's major label debut album was produced by avant-garde musician and producer Bill Laswell, with minor contribution by pop producers Jimmy Douglass and the Ill Factor.His reggae vocal style is along the lines of traditional Rasta Roots stylings mixed with dub sound. Do listen to him if you get the chance.
Also here is some info on reggae music in general. Reggae is a music genre developed in Jamaica. Reggae may be used in a broad sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, including ska, rocksteady and dub.The term is generally used to distinguish a particular style that originated in the late 1960s. The two sub-genres of reggae are roots reggae (the original reggae) and dancehall reggae which originates in the late 70s. Reggae is founded upon a rhythm style which is characterized by regular chops on the back beat, known as the "skank", played by a rhythm guitarist, and a bass drum hitting on the third beat of each measure, known as "one drop." Characteristically, this beat is slower than in reggae's precursors, ska and rocksteady. Reggae is often associated with the Rastafari movement, which influenced many prominent reggae musicians in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the subject matter of reggae songs deals with many subjects other than Rastafari, with love songs, sexual themes and broad social commentary being particularly well represented.
So enjoy reggae music, maan.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Old school vs. new age


Last new years eve we were at Aizawl and we all sat around a bonfire and had vawk-sa rep and other stuff. As usual there were guitars all around and everyone was trying their hand at a song or two. My brother in law OP had just told me a couple of days ago about how he wrote a bit in his blog about old school musicians with reference to the 'Rock Star Supernova' show. But he inspired me to write about my experience in this field with special reference to my trip last year to Aizawl. We all know that the Mizos are a talented lot in sports and music and every time I go to Aizawl I am more and more in awe of the talented musicians there.
However over christmas and new year I met a much younger crop of people and I gradually realized that I am getting older. At the bonfire one of my wife's uncles and I were strumming the guitar and singing oldies like Beatles, Van morisson, Bob Marley, etc. Then came these youngsters and I decided to play along with them and show off a bit. But much to my embarassment, I did not know a single song that they were playing and to make bad matetrs worse, I didnt even know of the bands they were playing. Finally I decided to mention some of the new age artists I knew. The youngsters were really good. I was amazed at their speed while playing riffs, and they were all trying to out do each other in playing the lead.
But when my uncle and I asked them to play some of our Oldies they were lost. Surprisingly they were not even able to play along with us. They just couldnt get the basic 1-2-3 strumming and the delicate plucking of our old country numbers. Finally my uncle and I decided that the seniors would play for the rest of the night and we all had a great time singing the blues.
The moral of this story is that no matter how fast some of the new agers are I believe that real music still lies in the basics. Take for example artists like Clapton, Knopfler, Van Morisson. No music lover on earth will be able to 'dis' these guys. Its not just the mellow stuff that I'm talking about. Take some of the best hard rockers andn you'll see that its not how complicated their music is but its how basic and simple they keep it.
Anyway now I'm going to hook up my RP80 guitar processor to my Red Epiphone electric guitar and riff the night away. Rock on.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Da Vinci Fraud


Over the last few months there have been serious outbursts from the Christian community against the release of the Da Vinci code motion picture in theatres in India. My city Hyderabad has seen some pretty much vio;ent protests against the movie. When the movie was first to be shown in halls here there was a huge protest and the Christian rallyists barged into the Imax theatre and even spoilt some furniture. Then just a few days ago on friday the 21st a Christian youth slit his wrist in protest over the airing of this movie. Well being a lawyer and a Christian here are some of my views -
  • First of all it is just not right for Christians to protest this way over a fiction novel of a motion picture. Christians are not violent nor are they fundamentalists. Following a peaceful and tolerant path is what separates us from the others. Infact being vice president of the Christian Legal Association of India I was perhaps expected to intervene in this issue but I refused. Moreover what surprises me is that the vatican has not objected to this movie and so why should any others find an objection? I also think that there are many many other issues that Christian 'activists' can take up such as demolition of Churches, killing of Pastors, raping of Nuns, etc. But for them to go over board with this movie is not right. I think all the fundamentally inclined Christians should remember the famous abbreviation - WWJD (What Would Jesus Do)
  • Now heres is some research about Dan Browns theories - Dan Brown's error in The Da Vinci Code is that he calls the Last Supper a FRESCO. This painting is not a fresco. This is a critical mistake because if the painting had been a fresco, we would still have a superb image to view and examine. It is *because* it is not a fresco that we have all these questions now about what the painting is showing us. In fact, a main reason why the Last Supper painting is so famous is because it is not a fresco - and therefore that it was in essence destroyed immediately after being painted. It's important therefore to understand this issue.
    Normally, the way a painting like this would have been done would be a "fresco". That means that the plaster is made wet, and then the painting is done on the wet plaster. When the plaster dries, the paint is sort of intermingled with the plaster and it's nice and permanent. However, that type of painting is limited in its colors and can't be retouched. When the plaster dries, you're stuck.
    Leonardo wanted to experiment with a new style he had invented - tempera (egg yolk and vinegar) plus oil painting ON dry plaster. That way he could use more colors and redo portions if necessary. The painting took him four years to complete - 1495 to 1498. His patrons were furious at the delay but Leonardo refused to go any more quickly. Unfortunately, Leonardo's style experiment was a disaster. The paint almost immediately began falling off the plaster. The humidity was causing the paint to separate from the plaster on which it had been painted. Whole pieces of paint fell off the wall. Over the years, the piece has been vandalized and nearly fell apart completely. But the thing that we all should remember that Da Vinci was just a regular guy and he was not present at the last supper! So this painting is just a figment of his imagination.
  • ABout the OPUS DEI the villanous, treacherous organisation in the book is actually nothing of what Dan Brown makes it out to be. Opus Dei is a Catholic institution founded by Saint JosemarĂ­a Escrivá. Its mission is to help people turn their work and daily activities into occasions for growing closer to God, for serving others, and for improving society. Opus Dei complements the work of local churches by offering classes, talks, retreats and pastoral care that help people develop their personal spiritual life and apostolate. In fact Opus Dei started its branch in India in 1993.

Finally friends I have read the book and seen the movie and liked both for what they are - pulp fiction and thats all. But the only good to have come out of this book is that more and more people are intrested in knowing more about Christianity and the Bible. As for Dan Brown himself who is a jew, lets hope some day we could discuss this with him over a goblet fo kosher wine.

Friday, July 14, 2006

My big fat indian world cup


On saturday the 8th I organised a football match between my office - 'Hand of Hope legal services' vs. A.P. state police team. This was in aid of destitute children who were the spectators for the event.
So all was well, I had ordered the best looking 'juventus' styled jerseys for my team and we definitely looked the part. In the pic though you can see that some of my star players were a little...er..heavy to put it mildly. We decided with the refs that there were to be endless substitutes and that a substituted player could return to play again if required. In the pic I'm the one in the middle with my son - Zack who also had the same jersey. I think the match started off well. I was in playing defensive mid fielder and I got the opportunity to clear the ball a couple of times. However this sense of wellbeing was short lived. our team allowed the opponents to come too close to the goal and take a shot. Sadly that was the first shot at the goal and the police team didnt miss. So it was 1-0 at half time. i substituted myself and in came OP my brother inlaw and former team player for St. Stephen's college. I remember him saying that after we score a couple of goals we'll make another substitution. Well lets just say that a couple of goals were scored but the scoreline read 3-0.
However in the end it was all worth it as the under-privilaged kids all got gift boxes and we all quickly forgot the hiding we got. As for now, I'm ready for another game but this time a serious soccer match...on the computer.

Nike who?


So you didnt know that Nike was the Goddess of victory. Thats ok since I dont expect everyone on earth to be blessed with the same outstanding general knowledge as me. This pic of the sculpture is of the Goddess Nike and was taken at the excavated city of Epheseus. Yes thats the same depraved city that the apostle Paul wrote letters to about Christian discipline.
Heres some more info about Nike.
Nike is the goddess of victory in Greek Mythology. She is the daughter of the giant Pallas and the river Styx in Hesiod and she is sent to fight on the side of Zeus against the Titans. Both Athena and Zeus can be seen carrying small figures of Nike indicating that she is an attribute of both of them. Nike as a separate goddess is always winged. Nike appears carrying a palm branch, wreath, or a caduceus of Hermes in works of art.
So next time you don your latest pair of runners you'll know what you're getting into!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ladies tennis - the good, bad and beautiful.



This wimbledons ladies final was perhaps the least attractive in history. Mauresmo vs Justine Henin-hardenne. Agreed, the skill level was ok but eye candy level was zero. However apart form Sharapova and Vaidisova there was another show stopper - Ana Ivanovic. This is the girl who, I predict shall be no.1 soon...very soon. Here are some stats about her -
Residence - Basel, Switzerland (cheesy1)
Date of Birth - November 6, 1987 (so shes not a minor..whew..)
Birthplace - Belgrade, Serbia (Thats sad)
Height - 6' (1.83 m) (Thats sad too)
Weight - 160 lbs. (73 kg) (ok...so at least shes honest)
Plays - Right-handed (moi aussi!)
Status - Pro (August 2003) (by pro we mean professional and not anything else)
This wimbledon she lost in the 4th round to the eventual champion - Mauresmo.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Fed-Ex delivers agains


Finally one of my favourites has come through. After the disappointing FIFA world cup where ALL my favourites lost, at least Federer won the all england tournament. I'm not a bad player myself (ahem!) and I know a thing or two about tennis. So here are my points of assessment of this incredible player:-
Federer has no obvious weapons, eg, no big serve, no great power shots, not the best return of serve and he is not too comfortable at the net, but he still manages to play one better shot than his opponent and thats the key to Federer's game. In Nadal sure he has found a worthy rival but Nadal has a long way to go. Nadal is just not at his best on any other surface other than clay. This wimbledon he did not face any class opponents with the exception of Bagdatis who anyway is not a grass court player. He also overcame Agassi who is on his last legs. This time the grass on the courts was so bare that the grass courts were playing like clay.
Federer on the other hand had to contend with much better opponents and also against grass court specialists, like the junior wimbledon champ, Mario Ancic, Bjorkman, etc.
I think that the US Open this year will be the key in determining as to how good Nadal is. In my books there is no comparison, Federer has no one in his class.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pinot Noir - 2


A couple of days ago a friend of ours came to visit in Hyd. So I was in a quandry as to which wine I should pop. Out of my 150 odd bottles in my cellar(ahem!), I decided to open the Tyrells Pinot Noir 2002. This was the first time I was trying a good Pinot Noir. I am usually a merlot(Italian or french and not Californian or aussie), shiraz, bordeaux, kind of guy. I was really surprised with the response I got from the wine. Now I know why all the fuss was made about pinot noir in 'sideways'. It was a nice soft red. Not the kind of spice that a shiraz has and neither the seriousness of a Cabernet sauvignon. The aromas were pleasing, I mainly found the aromas of sandalwood coming to my senses.
All said and done, the pinot noir is a real charmer.