I fell asleep quite early last evening, and not surprisingly. I woke up at an ungodly hour. And that’s when I found out the sad news. Lata Mangeshkar, the Nightingale of India, has died. While most in the west are familiar with the classical genius of late Pandit Ravi Shankar, for Indians of rank & file, she was the voice of the nation.

“Music is my life and God. My prayer is music — it is like a father and mother to me,” she noted in her book.  

Her songs, through decades, have been the soundtrack of a nation. Along with now late male singers like Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi & Mukesh, she created emotional mile markers in life’s journey for one and all. Her passing brings down the curtain on a more innocent time in Indian society. 

As an immigrant, most of my life has been against the faint strains of her melodious voice. Even today, her songs bring tears and smiles. Whenever I feel nostalgic and reflective, I put on some of her classics — and there are many. Thanks to modern technology, we will always have Lata’s voice to cherish and enjoy for eternity.

“Happiness is for sharing with the world, and sorrow is for keeping to yourself,” Mangeshkar once noted. What a great way to live your life. 

Obituaries: New York TimesBBC 

February 6, 2022. San Francisco

Nitin Sawhney

For a long time, Nitin Sawhney has occupied a prime slot on my very short bucket list of people to interview. I first encountered his music in the early 1990s, and to a great extent, he has provided the soundtrack to my adult life. Perhaps that was inevitable. After all, we are part of the … Continue reading Nitin Sawhney

I am enjoying this forthcoming track, The Sound of Someone Leaving (with Aaron Martin) by Phil Tomsett, a UK-based musician who is known for his organic sounding, lush and layered soundscapes. “Absence is powerful. When someone isn’t there anymore, the empty space is charged with emotional power. As if the act of vanishing leaves behind an ethereal, supernatural signature,” Tomsett notes. The song is a perfect soundtrack for our pandemic isolation and the changes it has wrought. I can’t wait for the full album to drop in early September.

August 25, 2020, San Francisco

Why we need to rethink how to support music (and creativity)

A recent random email turned me on to the work by Berlin-based pianist and ambient music impresario Nils Frahm. Through him, I stumbled upon Anne Muller, a cellist with highly minimal compositions. I ended up listening to both of their work on YouTube Music (which comes free with my ad-less premium YouTube subscription.)  Frahm’s work … Continue reading Why we need to rethink how to support music (and creativity)