World Music Day was first proposed in 1976 by American musician Joel Cohen, who was employed by the French radio station France Musique. The idea was for an all-night music celebration at the summer solstice.
Bassist for Swarathma
I have never enjoyed playing music alone and I always find myself in the company of people who I enjoy making and playing music with. Ever since my mother bought me my first guitar, a little Givson acoustic, I realised that the moment when minds come together in music is pure God-gifted awesomeness.
It took me a long time to realize that seeking these moments of awesomeness was what I really wanted to do in life. I studied engineering and management, and worked in two companies before I could come to terms with my own love for playing music. It was at that moment that I decided to become a full-time musician. But the decision did not come easy. When I moved to Bangalore I got in touch with Montry Manuel, drummer of Swarathma. As it happened, Swarathma was looking for a bassist, and a few shows and rehearsals later I was invited to join, and I did, without thinking twice. The reason was as simple as ever: I would get to play music with others, and experience the same awesomeness that I’ve been seeking my whole life!
A couple of years into balancing my marketing job with my band, I realized that I was deriving no joy from my job. It was a tough call, and my wife Shreya helped me decide: “Go ahead”, she said. “We'll figure it out”. To this day, I say that if it hadn't been for her faith I'd probably never have been able to call myself a full-time musician.
I feel blessed every day – blessed that I get to live a life in music. Blessed that I get to go on stage and play our music to an audience that finds resonance with it. And I feel it stronger than ever on World Music Day.
SANTOSH “SAGGY” GNANAKAN
Hosts The Rock Show on Indigo 91.9.
For as long as I can remember, music has been a part of my life. At home and as a child, I would wake up to my dad’s music – Stan Getz, Tal Farlow (I can still picture that old cassette), Keith Green, Andre Crouch, and so much more. My dad played the guitar and sang a lot at home and in public and that was a huge influence. I started playing the guitar when I was in the fourth standard and growing up, I played every Sunday in church and that’s something I do even now.
And when it came to the music I listened to, I always wanted to share what I was listening to at the time – whether it was the Beatles, Madonna (yes, Madonna!), Van Halen, Sting or Pearl Jam. I remember playing street cricket in front of a friend’s house and setting up an old cassette player on the wall, just so that my friends could listen to the music I was hooked on to at the time. Back in the ‘90s, I forced a friend to listen to an entire album by Extreme with me (Three Sides To Every Story). I would pause the cassette after each song and explain why I liked the song he had just heard and was about to hear. He left in a daze.
Many years later, I found myself working at a radio station. I had never imagined or dreamt that I would be a radio jockey. I was known for a laidback monotone. Who would want to listen to that? Today, ten years into my life in radio, I have the opportunity to play my music on the radio and share it not just with my friends, but with an entire city. A rock band called Kiss sang, “God gave rock n roll to you, put it in the soul of everyone”. When I’m on the radio, you’re listening to my soul.
Manager of Indian Ocean and festival organiser
“Why dont you get a manager” was the only sales pitch I ever gave about eight years ago while I was having a drink with Indian Ocean who were practicing and working out of a 200 year old bungalow in Delhi. We have since, left the place and our last album 16/330 Khajoor Road is homage to the place and to our band member Ashim Chakravorty who passed away in 2009.
Once at a conference I was asked what it takes to be a good manager, I don’t know if I am any good but my answer was that you don’t need to be a fan of the music to be a good manager but you must be a fan of the people you represent. I for one am a huge fan of the people who are part of this band. After the loss of Ashim there is not one day that goes by where I don’t miss him or think about him. Each member of Indian Ocean has been instrumental in my becoming the person I am today and I love them for that.
Being with Indian Ocean has allowed me to do so much more. I have the opportunity of being associated with Only Much louder. Together with OML I have done work which allows me to be proud – from starting and running festivals like the Bacardi NH7 Weekender and Eristoff Invasion to television shows such as The Dewarists. Well my story continues, rooted in the “soch mat school of thought” which was introduced to me by the late Ashim Chakravorty which roughly translates to don’t think too much just do it.
Music journalist and photographer
Hi, my name is Bobin and I am an addict. A music addict. No, really. I listen to music almost every waking hour. Even during those moments when there is no music playing around me, there is music playing in my head. So it’s not rare when I start playing the air-drums to accompany a song that only I can hear – right in the middle of a discussion.
My first time listening to “western” music was when I went to the newly-opened neighbourhood video rental store who would also make you mix-tapes on TDK cassettes. I still very clearly remember one song from that first mix-tape of mine – Roberta Kelly’s “Kabaka Shaka”.
Then there was that moment when I first heard Michael Jackson’s voice. The year was 1982 and Thriller became a stepping stone into the world of contemporary pop for me. (It remains one of my all-time favourite albums to this day.) Other markers on this journey were my holding a guitar for the very first time – a battered Givson acoustic in my school’s music room; the first published byline – a music review in J.A.M. Working as a copywriter and then a journalist, I wasn’t getting my regular fix of music. So I started a blog, to document the gigs I was going to and the CDs I was listening to, via photos and reviews. Eventually, in 2007, this blog was to serve as my portfolio when I was applying to the soon-to-be-launched Rolling Stone India. Five years after helping launch Rolling Stone India, I am now a freelance music writer and concert photographer, and I am setting up a music consultancy in Mumbai. Over three decades ago, when I first heard “Kabaka Shaka”, would have I imagined that I would be here today? No way. But really, that disco groove is what set it rolling.
Music producer and recording artiste
Ever since I remember, I have always been fascinated by sound. As a child I used to rely on my ears rather than my eyes for recognising objects and materials. I would knock on tables, boxes, porcelain figurines, and be fascinated by the different sounds each would elicit.
In college I was part of a few rock bands. Through these bands I developed a great foundation in music, performing and even learnt a lot about arranging music. Being in a band was fun, the travelling and winning competitions, the only thing that was not fun was me being broke all the time. That's when I shifted to becoming a recording artist and music producer. Along with numerous advantages, there is one major disadvantage of working with the film industry. Music to me has always been about expression. It is extremely important for any musician to express him/herself through music. In the film industry, music directors receive briefs such as “the hero's character says this..” or “item song in a village” or “the heroine is being introduced in this song..” As music directors we have to create music based on a brief, we are not writing music as a form of our own expression. Hence, most music directors within the industry tend to loose individuality and become imperative for us to constantly re-invent ourselves. There are only two genres of music – good music and bad music, it gets boring to stick to norms and stereotypes and I like to keep things fresh with my fusion experiments.
Keywords: World Music Day