Saturday December 22, 2012
Milliblog India Top 10, 2012
If you haven’t seen the actual Milliblog Top songs lists from Hindi, the 4 Southern languages and Indipop, here you go – Milliblog Annual Music Round-up 2012.
One of my (personal) favorite reasons for running Milliblog the way it is, is to help break the language barrier in India, when it comes to music. I’m asked this very often – ‘how many languages do you speak?’. To answer that question, I can read/write/speak English, Tamil and Hindi. I can understand generous dollops of Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu.
This, however, does not come in the way of my listening to music in languages that I have little/zero knowledge of. I believe what most people are uncomfortable with music in new languages is not about comprehending what is being sung – it seems more about not being able to relate to what is being sung because it simply sounds strange. I usually argue that while lyrics and language are indeed important, the sound is a lot more pertinent when it comes to music. Yes, knowing the lyrics and understanding them would be a great deal, but I’m from the school which feels that music has no boundaries, particularly of the linguistic kind.
To be fair, there are kinds of music that you need to know the context of, to understand or appreciate them. This may seem controversial, but the one of the reasons why Ilayaraja’s music remained within the 4 Southern states and only to select Westerners who were evolved enough to appreciate the nuances (and not masses outside South India) is perhaps because it is deeply rooted in local detailing and context. That is exactly the reason why Rahman’s music transcended boundaries so easily – Roja’s music, for instance, could easily be transplanted anywhere in the world. Raja used his skills mighty well in the 4 Southern states, but doesn’t seem to be keen to expand beyond that – it’s almost as if he wants people to make an effort to come to his level of musical awareness, depending on where he roots them. Rahman, on the other hand seems specifically interested in breaking the contextual barriers that define regional sounds and is perhaps going intentionally after a more universal sound. This line of thought goes well with the current, connected generation, regardless of where they are based or which language they speak. This could be one way to explain the line of defense used by Raja fans to put down Rahman’s music – ‘where is the nativity in Kadal?’ seemed one such question. It is a fairly meaningful question if you see it from the context of other ‘sea-fishermen’ films in Tamil, but not when you’re out to produce something that you believe is universal. Like in marketing, music production too has become a function of targeting audiences.
When the music of Kadal recently released, people who have no knowledge of Tamil were going gaga over some of the songs. That… is the kind of musical pursuit that I strive for, via Milliblog. This blog is nothing but a tiny speck in fanning that level of multilingual music interest, but when I get someone saying that they have never heard Telugu songs and liked a Telugu song because Milliblog recommended it, it feels like this blog is actually working.
Towards this, here’s a new annual property – Milliblog India Top 10! This is not just the top 2 songs from the language top 10 I had shared earlier. It can’t be, since some of the top songs are in the top in their respective languages partly because they are set in some kind of context for that state and its preferences (to be clear – local context is not same as being influenced by local popularity or trends. For instance, Gabbar Singh’s music would have been hugely popular in Andhra Pradesh simply because it was a very successful film. Also, some of the local context would also be lost on me since I don’t fully understand that state’s local’ness – case in point, music from Yograj Bhat’s Drama, in Kannada; or the song by SP Balasubramaniam, in Damarukam, in Telugu).
So, this list is simply something that I believe is a good start (merely a start) for you to try out a pan-Indian music list, based on some of the songs that I played a LOT myself during the year. The sound would be largely even and almost something that can work even if you place lyrics from your own language. To help you sample this music, I have a YouTube playlist for your convenience too. You could well ask why this is called ‘India Top 10′ when it doesn’t include Marathi, Gujarati or even more of Bengali and other language music. Simple answer – this title for the lack of a better alternative. It sounds bizarre when I call it, ‘Milliblog India Top 10, excluding Marathi and Gujarati music’, for instance.
01. Pareshaan – Ishaqzaade (Hindi, Amit Trivedi)
02. Adiye – Kadal (Tamil, A R Rahman)
03. Jonaaki raati – The Story So Far (Assamese, Papon)
04. O ponthoovalai – Ee Aduthakaalathu (Malayalam, Gopi Sundar)
05. Amar mawte – Hemlock Society (Bengali, Anupam Roy)
06. Yemito – Andala Rakshasi (Telugu, Radhan)
07. Paani da rang – Vicky Donor (Punjabi, Rochak Kohli and Ayushmann Khurana)
08. Paathirayo pakalaai – Bachelor Party (Malayalam, Rahul Raj)
09. Aalochane – Romeo (Kannada, Arjun Janya)
10. Raathiri – Pizza (Tamil, Santhosh Narayanan)
YouTube playlist of Milliblog India Top 10, 2012