He went on to found two choirs — Trivandrum Men’s Chorus and Trivandrum Choral Society — and trained them to sing Christian hymns and spirituals, Christmas carols or Passion Week songs and light classical folk songs. He continued as First Tenor or Top Tenor, while conducting at the same time, with the Men’s Chorus till the very last concert, his voice (often in the vocal range of a sopranist) distinctly audible over the others. The choirs were his life. In those days, when carbon copies did involve making copies using carbon paper, he used to spend his free time writing (and drawing on) a few hundreds of sheets of four-part music with staff notation or tonic solfa. He would cycle all the way to the YWCA or the YMCA or the WILLS Hostel to carry out his life’s mission of producing fine music. … [Read more...] about Remembering Sam Walsalam, musician and teacher who founded Trivandrum Men’s Chorus and Trivandrum Choral Society
It’s fairly easy to rattle off the names of the legendary soul singers who have followed her path to superstardom. Gladys Knight’s commercial breakthrough with the Pips was a few months after Aretha broke big with “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You),” and Patti LaBelle’s solo emergence was similarly post-Aretha in the 1970s, as well as the debuts of Natalie Cole and Chaka Khan with Rufus. Aretha’s shadow over the singer-songwriter movement most often associated with artists like Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon gets less acknowledgement, but Aretha penned the classic “Dr. Feelgood” in 1967 and top five hits “Think” and “Sweet Sweet Baby” in 1968. She would write a string of hit originals in the early ’70s, including “Call Me,” “Rock Steady,” “Day Dreaming,” and “Spirit in the Dark.” And her skills as a pianist placed her squarely at the cusp of that … [Read more...] about Aretha Franklin Dead at 76: A Queen Who Embodied Black Music’s Spirit and Vision
After all these years, this simple message, my first words of true validation as a fledgling writer, has never left me. It echoes in my mind like a long canyon scream each time I sit down to a blank page, and inspires me to fill it with my true voice. After a childhood of failed classes and dismal report cards (most of which ended with comments such as, “David has potential, but his hyperactivity and attention-seeking behavior are a constant distraction to the class!”), it was if I had pulled the proverbial red pen from the stone. No small victory for the delinquent son of a public-school teacher, but let’s be honest, I was never destined to become the next Bill Shakespeare (ask any of my traumatized English teachers). It only makes sense that this particular validation wasn’t given by any of the poor, frustrated educators I left in my wake. No, it came from a truly brilliant writer who shaped my love (and fear) of the written word. The man, the myth, the legend … [Read more...] about How Far Does the Apple Fall From the Tree?
The first time I did my parlour trick I was in college, sitting in the attic bedroom of a friend, smoking from a filthy bong. We were semi-hardcore stoners and waffling vegetarians, flaky philosophy majors and binge drinkers and, of course, wannabe novelists. A blurb about Thomas Pynchon's forthcoming novel – Against The Day – had appeared and then disappeared from Amazon, and we were, as I remember it, speculating about the book. "It's about 9/11," someone said. "It's gotta be." We were probably listening to the Beatles because from here we got to the Manson family. My friend, the host, was orating on the topic with the bombast with which we explicated everything then, talking the Manson legend as if he'd lived it. My then boyfriend – who had some benign rivalry going with our host – knew about my salacious family history. He nudged me. He wanted me to do my parlour trick, to say, "My dad was in the Manson Family. He was Charles Manson's … [Read more...] about My father: Charles Manson’s right-hand man
Fox News: How determined were you to prove yourself as an artist, not just a female artist?Quatro: I’ve always had a thing about that. I never presented myself as a female artist. I was not playing the female card. To me, it was all about the music and putting on a show. I do play the female card if I’m with a bunch of guys - which I am most of the time because there were hardly any girl musicians - and they go out of order, cross that line of respect, like if they’re being a little bit too crude. I don’t like that. Then I will pull the female card and say, “Excuse me.” … [Read more...] about ’70s rock pioneer Suzi Quatro says she was never tempted by fame: ‘You either go mad or wind up dead’