Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ai Meghla: A Song, A Rant, A Dirty Trick And Gratitude

It is hardly the season to be posting songs about clouds and rain, what with 12 weeks of Endless Summer just around the corner, but there's something in Hemant Kumar's voice - not quite the sunny abandon of Kishore, not quite the blues of a Saigal - which leaves me very happy and satisfied. Like comfort food, his voice is what I think of as comfort music. (If I were a cannibal, he'd be both comfort music and comfort food and that's an odd thought.)

I was searching for some music on Napster (which, as they tell you 3 years too late, is now free) and I came across an album by Hemanta Mukherjee titled "Ai Meghla Dine Ekla". When I clicked on the sole track available online, it turned out to be quite a song. Good music always finds me.

The song, a slight variation on the melody of "Clementine", is all soft light and cool monsoon breeze. The tune is contagious and when I heard it, I wanted to sing along too. But since I can understand only about three Bengali words (and one of them is "Apu!"), I googled for the lyrics to "Ai Meghla" and found nothing, which brings me to a rant.

One of the major losses of the WWW - thanks in some part to copyright laws - has been forums like rec.music. Remember the supremely geeky pastime of posting lyrics, analysis, annotations and guitar tablature? That was not the Web of social networking bullshit and market capitalization. Just the Web of sharing unique information and expertise. You knew all the wrong chords to Stairway? No problem, you posted it anyway. Then someone would politely call you a moron and posted the correct chords. And that's how you learned.

In so many ways, blogging is a throwback to "that" Web (please shoot me if I sound like Jon Katz. Oh shoot, some of you won't even recognize that name.) So it was no surprise to me that I found the lyrics to the song on a blog (belonging to a blogger whose name I recognized from another blog, probably Uma's.) Unfortunately, the blogger had not posted the full lyrics. Should I ask her for the complete lyrics, I wondered? Doesn't seem right, I told myself and resigned to leading a life thinking of "Ai Meghla" as "that Bengali variation on Clementine". What a pity. All those sonorously rendered "O" sounds of Bengali would never meet the tongue and the larynx of a non-Bengali singer! How could the words not be known to ANYONE on the web?

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of all connections.

A few days after I heard this song, the same blogger with the part-lyrics commented on a post of mine asking me if it was "ok to link to this post". The cheap opportunist that I am, I carpe diemed with both my hands and immediately wrote to her. Post the full lyrics or Face The Wrath Of Copyright Violations!

The ploy worked and a few days later, she updated her original post and even offered to email me the song. As they say, it doesn't hurt to threaten anyone.

So while I revel in my inglorious evilness (AM I EVIL! YES I AM! God bless Diamond Head), you can listen to this beautiful song about clouds and rain and loneliness and read the lyrics at the same time. How cool is that. (Napster may require free registration but it's worth the trouble.)

Bidi-K, thank you for posting the lyrics and translating it. How's this for a favor returned, I will translate any death metal song of your choice into Finnish. There, I've already done it.

Ladies and gentlemen, once again, the Rain Song.

10 comments:

wildflower seed said...

:)

[this brought back many memories - all those "O" sounds]

neha vish said...

Such stories! :)

wildflower seed said...

Also, thanks for pointing me to Napster. Now I can listen to all those Thievery Corporation albums which are good for a sometime-listen but not for a buy. :)

Bidi-K said...

and here i thought i did it out of the goodness of my heart :) and since a favor to be returned has to be of one's choice, and not Finnish thank you, you owe me one, ha!

GhostOfTomJoad said...

Don't know about comfort music but there're some songs that only Hemant Kumar could've sung. Or, let's put it this way...no one could've sung them better. Incidentally, quite some time ago, I did a music video for an instrumental version of one of his most popular Hindi songs...Tum Pukar Lo :-)

km said...

bidi-k: ok, so I owe you one :)

Ghost, you should be posting link to the video like - NOW!

VB: Thievery Corporation might want to go for a name change :)

A,.S. said...

Just wandered into your interesting blog.

Despite claiming to hail from Bong-land, I'd never heard this song before. Incidentally, you may not have failed to notice the similarity with the ancient song from CID by Mohd.Rafi and Geeta Dutt, "Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan"... both these songs are based on Oh My Darling Clementine and extremely hummable.

km said...

A.S: thanks!

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