Letters of Life

Music & Parties rss

Anything to do with music and it’s companion, dinner parties. I believe in small parties filled with cool sounds.

While My Fingers Gently Weep

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18:12, Thursday, 27 September, 2012

After two years of neglect, my guitar has found a friend in me again. I’m a bad friend then, because I only pick up the guitar when the need arises; the keyboard is just more gratifying for me to play. But I am heading to a place in a few months—a place where a keyboard… Read More ›

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A Moment In Time

As someone who loves music—who doesn’t?— and who loved watching music videos growing up—who didn’t?—dabbling in video editing was something I used to like doing. (Anybody?) It was like cooking except it took way longer: Assembling footage, collating the stills, selecting the music, writing captions, creating a narrative, and editing everything to the groove, the… Read More ›

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A Party Like No Other; Or Why Surprise Parties Last Forever

There are many kinds of birthday gifts one can bestow on the important people in your life. They range from the spoken wish, the wish that is texted, emailed, written on someone’s Timeline, handcrafted cards, presents, simple dinners, the throwing of parties, whether big or small. If you’re like me, you like giving other people… Read More ›

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Always Summer

June bids the start of summer, and though things don’t change where I live–either it rains or it doesn’t–in my mind, the sky is a stronger shade of blue, the morning air as soft as the evening twilight, and one decides to collect white dresses. Afterall, these are like snowflakes; no two are ever alike.

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For A Monday

And if it rains all day, ‘Call on you, I’ll call on you Like I used to slide down beside And wrap you in stories Tailored entirely for you . . .   Spitfire thin and strung like a violin I was; Yours was the face with a grace From a different age You were the… Read More ›

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Wonder

Being at the receiving end of a surprise party, even if it’s just a small dinner party, even if it came a little too early, must be fun. But planning one, executing the sequence of events, visualising the end result, the buildup, the suspense of the pending approach, and then — SURPRISE! After that, seeing… Read More ›

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An Avalon Valentine

Part three of three in my series on Valentine’s Day posts. Now the party’s over, I’m so tired . . .  Then I see you coming, out of nowhere; Much communication In a motion, without conversation, Or a notion  . . .                           … Read More ›

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A Valentine for the Inimitable Miss Whitney Houston (9 Aug 1963 — 11 Feb 2012)

This was her first album Whitney Houston released in 1985. Her second album, Whitney, released in the summer of 1987, made chart history when she became the first female artist to debut at Number 1 on the Billboard 200 charts. It was summer in Bloomington, and I saw her fresh, beautiful face everywhere on posters… Read More ›

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Something About Level 42

Maybe it was because their music brings me back to those brilliant days of youth, those diamond days. I was done with grueling exams, tired of studying. I was heading to the States for college. It was summer, the days were long, friends were plentiful, I kept meeting new people, I wore my Wayfarers all… Read More ›

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Never In My Wildest Dreams

Every so often, a band comes along with songs that take your breath away. Their music and lyrics become like favourite books read many times over–you know the plot, the characters are old friends–, and there are some things that only grow better with time. You want to play their songs. You download the chord… Read More ›

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Letting Fear Work For You

A new friend who is a natural on the piano tells me he likes to play what he doesn’t know. In contrast, he tells me one of his best friends, a multi-instrumentalist, likes playing what he knows, the kind of music he truly enjoys. In all likelihood, probably the kind of music he identifies with…. Read More ›

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In My Life

There are places I remember all my life Though some have changed, Some forever, not for better, Some have gone, and some remain, All these places have their moments With lovers and friends I still can recall Some are dead and some are living In my life, I loved them all . . . I… Read More ›

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Let Everything Else Go

As I was researching an upcoming guest for my next show (sneaks: Christian guitarist extraordinare Benny Prasad), I checked out another musician he once jammed with, Phil Keaggy. You can listen to the song here. I do think that anyone who listens to it will feel a sense of liberation if you let the music… Read More ›

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Summer Breeze

From the classic Seals and Crofts song Summer Breeze (1971): See the curtains hangin’ in the window in the evenin’ on a Friday night A little light a-shinin’ through the window lets me know everything is alright Summer breeze makes me feel fine blowing through the jasmine in my mind Summer breeze makes me feel… Read More ›

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I Don’t Know How To Love Him

In this day and age, nothing is ever truly controversial anymore. Maybe for 15 minutes, which is an eternity in virtual time. But there was a time when songs and musicals had the ability to shock and polarize groups of people, and musicals like Lloyd-Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar in 1973 was considered blasphemous because its… Read More ›

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More Than This

PLAY this, as it’s part of the mood of this post. Two o’clock on a Saturday morning. It’s the only time of year I’m up this late; it’s the first day of the new year. First blog post of 2011. First party in the newly-decorated place. On this night of nights, the smartphones lay in… Read More ›

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You and Me and Katy Perry

It’s the shrillness. The high-pitched vocal frequency teeters at the brink of shattering glass and scattering class. No doubt it is a powerful voice, but not Mariah- or Celine-powerful. These women have something in their vocal tones that start with the letter ‘C’ and it ain’t found in Miss Perry. It’s Jezebel raising the hell… Read More ›

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Lessons in Love

12:20 am Every so often, I post a music video here. Today, it’s British jazz-funk band Level 42. Ok, they hit their zenith a while back, but still. . . good music is good music. Please press PLAY now. The band gained fame for its high-calibre musicianship—in particular that of lead vocalist Mark King, whose… Read More ›

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20.10.2010

The wonder of a blog is that you get to write about stuff on auspicious dates like today, and it lets you publish and share the wonder. I know that after 2000, there was one very special day for the past 10 years, starting with 20.01.2001, same with 20.04.2004, until we get to today. The… Read More ›

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The Rescuing Power of Music

It’s been a while since my last post.  The trouble started when I started subscribing to feeds on copywriting and marketing one’s ideas. The more I read, the more I started stalling on my posts. My writer’s block grew. And grew. Until I succumbed to analysis paralysis: Overthinking. The thoughts and ideas whirlpooling in my… Read More ›

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Making It Look Easy

“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” — Charles Bukowski (American short-story writer, poet and novelist, 1920-1994) Which would you rather be, an intellectual or an artist? I used to think of myself as an intellectual, though not necessarily intelligent. You can… Read More ›

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August Moon

Sometimes it’s fun to compare what you were doing around the same time a year ago. Obviously, the things that got you going a mere 12 months ago seem incongruous if you were to be doing it now. Yes, it’s the what-was-I-thinking blindsight that makes me look back in dumbfounded (the operative word being ‘dumb’)… Read More ›

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A Song from Childhood

This song–If You Remember Me–is heart-rending and I’d forgotten what a wonderful movie The Champ (1979) was, which this song was a part of. The great Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line, The Way We Were) wrote the music, Carole Bayer Sager the lyrics, and the vocals are by Chris Thompson, an AOR (adult-oriented rock) singer… Read More ›

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I in the Sky

You gotta listen to this song. It’s vintage ’70s with that psychedic feel that pervaded this first-of-its-kind kids’ television at the time. Sometimes it did seem as if the Sesame Street illustrators were high on magic mushrooms or weed to have come up with the kind of alphabet/number videos that they did. “I-In the Sky”… Read More ›

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Splendour in the Grass

One of my favourite songs by Jason Mraz. Together with an excerpt from a well-known Ode by one of my favourite—because easily accessible—poets, W Wordsworth. . . . The thought of our past years in me doth breed Perpetual benediction: not indeed For that which is most worthy to be blest— Delight and liberty, the… Read More ›

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ABC

One of the best bands of the 80s, ABC, with The Look of Love. This vid is quintessentially of the best that came out of the ’80s: A style contrary to the band’s personality, costumes inspired by Mary Poppins, kitsch and corn. It was influenced by old Brit music hall, the chalk pavement sequence in… Read More ›

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Joie de Vivre

Reality Bites (1994) was a low-key film, Ben Stiller’s first stint as a director, telling the story about Gen X-ers dealing with the challenges of life after graduation. Relationships, job-hopping, at the tail-end of self-discovery, the whole shebang. This scene, where Janeane Garofalo and Wynona Ryder (and Ethan Hawke and Steve Zahn) kick it up… Read More ›

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A Song of Summer

Do listen to this while you read, thanks. Now that we’re officially into August, it is high summer in the Northern hemisphere, though for some reason, we’re into terrifically cool and rainy days heading into the National Day weekend. Kokomo (1988), by The Beach Boys, is one of summer’s quintessential songs. Every summer needs one… Read More ›

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Oozing Cool

When in doubt, post something that oozes cool. Even if it was eons ago. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Remembering how we all loved Bryan Ferry, who had this incredible waver in his voice, wrote these cool tunes and dressed in sharp lounge suits. And more than this, Avalon too, defined the undefinable… Read More ›

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A Class Act

I’ve always liked this Burt Bacharach-Hal David composition. . . not an easy one to sing either. A lesser vocalist could sink to cheesy depths rendering it, but in the hands of masters like Dusty Springfield, and even better, Ronald Isley (of the soul band, The Isley Brothers) the song appropriately reaches the sublime. This… Read More ›

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Lenny Kravitz

Listen to Lenny Kravitz’s It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over if you don’t know it. It is sexy as hell. Sorry, ain’t no other way to say it. The song is perfectly arranged, from the drum roll intro to the groove set by the electric guitar. The strings play the riff, and the lyrics are… Read More ›

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Walkin’ Away

Listening to Craig David’s I’m Walking Away. “I’m walkin’ away, from the troubles in my life, I’m walkin away. . . ” R&B. Classy R&B. I feel the need to walk away . . . It’s all in my head, obviously. I know I’m making the best of it, and so is the other. …. Read More ›

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Round and Round

I used to lovelovelove this song. “We are the artisans, and we’ve been crafted. . . “ I used to think that was such a great lyric. Actually, it still is. Nobody, not Taylor Swift, not this month’s flavour-of-the-month, or the erstwhile Kelly Clarkson would know what to do with a word like artisan. It’s… Read More ›

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Ambient Cover

This is a dreamy cover of the Billy Idol hit, Eyes Without a Face. The instrumental bridge is brilliantly reflective, verging on melancholic, with a simple riff that I want to play on the keys. It’s one of those evenings when dishes need to be washed and put away, another laundry load to be done,… Read More ›

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Salad days

This entry is purely for myself. Indulgent to the max. You don’t even have to read it. Schmaltzy pop songs full of youth and longing…they don’t write them like these anymore. Now Those Days Are Gone, by acapella group Bucks Fizz, captures the essence of what it meant to be young and mornings bright and… Read More ›

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Todd Rundgren

Nobody I know is familiar with this name, so please press play. I refrained from writing a post about this overlooked musician for as long as I could. Then a 20-year-old friend said it didn’t matter that he was from an era long goneby (the ’70s) because even people her age would find it novel… Read More ›

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When The Guitar Gently Weeps

This is one of the most evocative versions of the Beatles’ hit, While My Guitar Gently Weeps. It’s an iconic rock ballad that transcends the decades since its inception; upon listening, one either gets the urge to get out there and rock it or recalls the exact moment when this song marked an irrevocable moment… Read More ›

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To Catch a Falling Star

Have been thinking about songs lately. What makes some good, and what makes some truly outstanding: The kind that sticks in your mind long after your ears are unplugged, and you’ve exited iTunes. Sir Elton John’s Your Song is a good example. He’s not at all popular in my set. But it was used to… Read More ›

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The Difficulties of Improvisation (II)

More on this difficult subject. It is SO much more easier to write about than to do. So I will do what I can do best at this moment: Write, and play later. Eons later. Centuries later. First, one has to master the piece. Note for note, looping offending bars until everything is smooth. Smooth… Read More ›

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The Difficulties of Improvisation

Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars, Let me see what Spring is like on Jupiter and Mars. . . Great lyrics sent to a wonderful chord progression with some surprises thrown in. Still working on connecting the dots–i.e. the arpeggios— together, although the A minor scale (the song is… Read More ›

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