Birthday Bash Relay. Excited on Second Place! Now Media Prompt, 30 DBC, Andre as well
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48-HOUR CHALLENGE : Media Prompt
It's about how you look at it, isn't it?
It's like rain
on your wedding day
Are you saying this is a bad thing?
Rain cools everyone down.
Rain makes the plants glow green.
Rain makes the air fresh.
Rain brings the rainbow
with all its colours
Rain is a blessing
and if you're soaked
It's a free ride
when you've already paid
Well, that's fine you could afford it
there are many who couldn't, you know
And if it was free then you've now got credit
Something to carry forward, to grow.
Don't grumble coz you thought the blessing
Things happen when the universe thinks its fine
Some day it all works out the way it should
All you need to say now is 'I'm good'.
Some pranks are funny
and some are just not
Some pranks are visible
And some, never caught.
I think it's nice
When the day is done
Prankster and victim
Each have a share of fun.
Pranks that are harmless
And well thought out
Are the best
Without a doubt.
When my cousin was engaged
To a girl in another city
Their love long-distance,
which was a pity
My cousin likes to sleep in
but on April Fools' Day
My uncle woke him at 6 AM
saying: "Phone call from your fiancee".
He jumped out of bed
And headed for the phone
There was nobody there!
Just the dial tone!
He got a bit grumpy
But soon had to agree
That the prank his Dad played
Was really funny!
Some years ago
On this very site
StoryMaster pranked us
Much to our delight.
Our handles scrambled
Our exclamation marks went PING
Our forum posts went inside out
And many a funny thing
So yeah, if it's funny for all
Then on the first of April
Go ahead, prank away
Feel the comic thrill!
Many artists are one-hit wonders.
9.) Did this fate befall your Muse and Andre?
Why or Why not?
The duo have had many long years together, and several hits – and counting!
They are collaborators, friends and (as Anne of Green Gables would say) kindred spirits. They work as two socks in one shoe. Er – well, you know what I mean. Two prongs in one rake. Two roots grounding one stem. Yeah, yeah, you know what I mean.
Their strongest point is that they manage to stay contemporary. They are constantly learning, constantly looking for new ideas, constantly growing. Every now and then, they do what they call an ‘upside down’ and take lessons from a talented youngster, instead of from an established musician. This keeps their music fresh and ensures that they stay in touch with current trends. It keeps them humble, too. Youngsters these days can be very demanding as teachers!
“Nobody has produced more surprises than they have,” says Andre’s cousin, Josh. “You think you know their music, and then ka-boom, out comes something totally new and unexpected. And you are – like – hey where did that come from? And yet you can tell it’s them, you know. They do have a core style or signature.”
“It’s evolution,” Andre grins, when asked. “Like everything came from the amoeba, like that. You remain true to your amoeba roots (or blobs) and keep growing!”
Their hit songs include “Bananas are Manna”, “Don’t Bungle in the Jungle” “For Rest” “The Peeves of Leaves”. They have won several awards all over the world, but their biggest reward is the love they get from their fans.
“I listen to your music as soon as I wake up in the morning,” writes Brinda Shankar. “It sets the mood for an energetic day ahead. Sometimes, when I hum your music in the bus on the way to work, other passengers hum along with me. I’ve made a couple of new friends that way, thanks to your music.”
“My whole family gathers when I put on your music on You Tube,” Malvika Goculdas emails. “We sing and dance together. It makes for great bonding between members of three generations!”
Go out of style? They have soul. They can’t go out of style.
Andre often listens to one song over and over.
5.) What song and why?
Andre loves this song from the movie The Fiddler on the Roof. It’s one of those he learnt to sing and dance to for his world tour.
When he was a little monkey and the movie was playing in theatres, his parents had taken him to the town nearest the jungle to watch it. Monkeys watch movies by climbing trees near the theatre and peeping in through the window. If the movie is playing at a drive in, they simply climb any tree around, or sit on one of the cars. People are usually too absorbed in the movie to notice a monkey or two (or half dozen) sitting on cars. Now, with people going less to theatres and getting their entertainment at home, monkeys are more tuned to You Tube and other online stuff, too.
Andre loves all the songs in The Fiddler on the Roof. He appreciates the dilemma in ‘Tradition’ and the wistfulness in ‘If I Were a Rich Man’. Both songs have a touch of comedy, too. He likes the melodious ‘Sunrise Sunset’. He chuckles at ‘Do You Love Me’ and ‘Matchmaker’. He has often sung ‘To Life’ on festive occasions, and he weeps when he hears ‘Far From the Home I Love’.
After giving it much thought, he finally chose ‘Miracle of Miracles’ for his world tour for many reasons. The sheer happiness of the two young people. The references to God, and miracles, which Andre believes in. But also (here’s something you didn’t know!) Andre is hoping that one day, he’ll find love and sing this song to his chosen lady. So he listens to it over and over not only because he likes it, but because he wants it to be so much a part of himself that, when the right time comes, he doesn’t blabber any nonsense, he sings this appropriate song.
“This man is a poor tailor. The world would think he has nothing to be happy about because he doesn’t have much money. But look how joyful he is. Look how devoted he is to God and to the one he loves. Look how grateful he is for what he has been given. Gratitude and devotion and joy are our true, everyday miracles, aren’t they?”
4.) With what great musician did Andre study?
Andre had the good fortune of growing up in the jungle. He studied with the best musicians ever – the natural musicians.
Early in the morning, he heard the birds in chorus. His day began to a rousing tune. Through the hours, he heard the music of nature – the leaves rustling in the wind, the water gurgling, insects buzzing and all his fellow creatures at work or play. Footsteps, wing-beats, slithering, hissing, beak-snaps and splashes surrounded him at every instance. Squeaks and roars, trumpeting and barking sometimes created their own concert.
The sounds of nature echoed the rhythm of his heart, the melody of his soul. He did not need to have any formal training, he had music seeping through his conscious mind when he was awake and sub-conscious mind when he slumbered.
Andre’s parents were musically inclined, and encouraged him to understand the harmony and contribute to it. Sometimes, the monkey family invited the cicadas and nightingales for a sing-song round the water hole. Occasionally, the crickets and bats joined in. When owls and hyenas yodeled in time, even the youngest creature in the forest quivered with the excitement of the music.
We’ve said that Andre didn’t need any formal training, but he did have some. In India, he learnt to play the Jal tarang with Vidushi Shashikala Dani. He learnt to sing devotional songs with Vidushi Aditi Kaikini Upadhya.
He had a few tabla lessons with Pandit Yogesh Samsi.
And, of course, he learnt the Bollywood song, Yeh Raat Aur Yeh Doori, from SP Balasubrahmanyam himself. He has learnt the popular songs of at least nine other countries form the famous artistes there.
The mix of simplicity in everyday learning as a youngster and disciplined practicing as he grew has helped Andre in all aspects of his life. “Sometimes it’s simple and spontaneous, at other times, it’s designed and rehearsed,” he says. He is also happy to understand the culture and philosophy of various regions of the globe, via music. “What they sing is what they think and feel,” Andre says. “Everything they care about, everything they want to tell the world, is in their songs.”
Let us all raise our voices in peace and harmony.
|All Words: 377
2.) What is Andre’s favorite genre? Does he have a favorite artist, Who and why?
As we know, under all his goofiness, Andre is a very deep sort. His favourite music has always been devotional music. In the jungle each day, he’d listen to the devotional songs emanating from the churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship around him. This uplifted him, made him see the good in humankind and all nature.
"Everyone should sing songs that connect them to the divine, that bring out their inborn divinity," Andre says. "Whatever our specific beliefs, or even if we are non-believers, our core is pure. Some of us get confused and lose our way when we lose touch with this core. That's when the negative tendencies can overpower the good ones."
Surprisingly, Andre's friends don't even think of teasing him when he talks this way. He's so much in earnest and so sincere that they love him for his devotion. To the younger generation, he is swiftly becoming a spiritual guide of sorts. And not even his clown cousin, Josh has nicknamed Andre 'The Monk Monkey' or something silly like that. This would've been second nature to Josh, but he has some depth too.
It's difficult to pinpoint who Andre's favourite artiste is. He loves the gospel choirs he has heard, he loves the ordinary people reaching out to the Almighty in prayer. He loves devotional music of any sort. "You know what?" Josh confides, "Andre even listens to all the devotional music on America's Got Talent, and loves it!"
On his visit to India, he heard Vidushi Aditi Kaikini Upadhya and her disciples sing various devotional songs. He was absolutely mesmerised by the purity of Aditi's voice. After the performance, he went backstage to meet her. He found that she comes from a family of musicians. Her late father and guru, Pandit Dinkar Kaikini, was a vocalist, too. Her brother, Pandit Yogesh Samsi, is a tabla player who has often toured the United States, to much acclaim.
Andre asked Aditi about the song he loved best of those she sang. "That one simply speaks of God. God is for you, God is for me, God is everywhere."
God is everywhere, especially in the music.
|All Words: 544
10.) How did Andre get into the bar business, how did he acquire the Banana Bar?
"it's hot," Bambi said.
"Be patient, dear," replied his mother, a gentle doe with a soothing voice. "We'll reach the water hole soon."
"Why are we going to that water hole? Why not our usual pond?"
His mother smiled. The young always ask questions, and it's up to parents to have the patience to answer.
"The usual pond has dried up," she replied. "It doesn't contain water any more."
"It can't be a pond if it doesn't contain water any more, can it?"
Unknown to the mother and child, someone was listening in to their conversation. It was Andre, quietly up in the trees. Deer are stealthy animals, but monkeys can be stealthier. Besides, nature does not generate alarm bells against friends. From above them, Andre followed Bambi and the doe, eavesdropping shamelessly.
Water. They were talking about water, They needed water and were having to walk a long way for it. They had to expose themselves to their natural predators, and to the most vile predator of all - the human being.
Everyone in the jungle needed to quench their thirst, whatever the season. Why should they be deprived in summer, just because the pond ran dry?
"What if ..." Andre was getting the glimmer of an idea. "What if there could be a place for the animals, a haven where the water never runs dry?"
Thus was the idea for a bar born.
Andre thought over his idea, and then discussed it with his friends. Herbivours, carnivours, omnivours, creatures of the land and creatures of the air ... all agreed that what the jungle needed was a BAR, loaded with drinks which didn't run dry whatever the season.
They got to work.
First, they formed a committee. A core group wit specific tasks and responsibilities Then they formed a working unit - those who carried out the committee's plans.
The elephants helped build. The beavers helped channel the water. The birds were the messengers. Every creature used its unique abilities to contribute to the task.
Soon, the jungle had a bar, and Andre did a flourishing business. He used the profits to expand the bar and take on other things the jungle needed. Within weeks, they had a hospital and an all-creature school and recreation centre.
The creatures were proud of Andre and wanted to honour him. They had a meeting while he was taking a nap.
"How do we show Andre our gratitude?"
"Andre is a monkey, he loves bananas," replied his cousin Josh. "Anything to do with bananas, he'll be happy."
They thought. The idea hit several of them at the same time, and they smiled at each other.
A BANANA BAR!
They'd build Andre a banana bar as a gift, as a token of their gratitude!
It was hard to keep it a secret, but they did. Andre didn't suspect anything at all. So when, on his birthday, he was taken to the clearing and caught his first glimpse of his new Banana Bar, he was speechless and then all teary-eyed.
ANDRE'S BANANA BAR
the sign read
where every visit is fruitful
"Yup," Andre chuckled, pulling his friends into a group hug. "Fruitful, built by my fruitcakes!"
|All Words: 359
Your Muse and Andre have decided to collaborate. They want to write a song together.
6.) Tell us why they decided to collaborate.
Cosmic forces are in play
Our meeting was meant to be, today
Like minds, like souls, like hearts
Lyrics and melodies flowed from the start.
And two voices rose as one
Bonded together like sky and sun.
Oh, the joy of this harmony
Resonating, reaching out perfectly
All the world stands still to listen
To tuneful messages as they glisten
Each word reaching something deep
Some smiled, some laughed and some did weep.
Actually, I don't think they 'decided' to collaborate. I think it was something pre-destined, something that was written in the stars. The acrostic they wrote together after they had hit the charts over and over, is proof that they felt this way too. It wasn't anything to do with them - it was to do with the cosmic forces that brought them together.
Why does this happen? Just randomly? Or is it shared karma, from a previous life? Or maybe when two beings love something as passionately as these two do, their very passion is bound to bring them together at some point.
Whatever it was, the collaboration was an epic one in musical history. Indeed, in the history of the performing arts in general. The music they created together reached many, many hearts. It inspired, it soothed, it cheered, it roused fervour. They were so deeply connected to each other that their connection with any audience had to be complete, all-embracing. There was a surreal feeling in the air whenever they performed together.
"It was uncanny, man!" says a security guard who was on duty at one of their concerts. "I've never seen anything like it, never felt anything like it. I was supposed to be working but I kept getting drawn to the music. Had to finally put earplugs in and turn my back to the stage, to be able to concentrate on my job of watching the crowd. They're magic, that's all."
Yes, some collaborations are magic, that's all.
48-HOUR CHALLENGE : Media Prompt
I don't know.
She's very pretty. She's got her full make up and jewellery and has obviously worked on her wardrobe. Yes, I'm jealous because I'm not as pretty, but that's not what this entry is about.
This is about prettifying the ugly.
She's getting an eviction notice, she can't pay her bills. Supposedly she's an ordinary person. So why does she have to be prettified for this video? Why can't an ordinary girl be saying these things? Not believable somehow coming from her.
Is it about sugar coating messages?
Is it about telling ugly people that pretty people go through problems too?
Why this obsession with looks?
I bet this young lady wasn't thinking about people who are about to get evicted, or about those which an alcohol problem, she was thinking about what colour lipstick would look best in the shot and which profile she had to show the camera.
I couldn't relate.
|All Words: 329
1.) What instrument does Andre play, why, and with who has he performed?
Andre is a simple fellow. He loves everything to do with nature. He is also widely travelled.
On a visit to India, he was fascinated by the Jal Tarang, and went on to learn how to play it, taught by none other than Vidushi Shashikala Dani herself. He learnt quickly and became her favourite student – so much so that they played together for All India Radio's 'Namaste Youth' programme.
Back in the US of A, Andre went on to give live performances on the Jal Tarang. He had to introduce people there to this instrument and the vibrant sounds it can produce. He soon won over the skeptics.
"There is a deeper meaning to using this instrument," Andre said, when asked. "Our bodies are made up of mostly water. We need water every day to live. So, we have to understand the rhythm of water, the poetry of its purity, the serenity of its soul. What better way to do this than by immersing oneself in its melodies?"
While some are surprised by Andre's new philosophical bent of mind, his close friends smile knowingly. "We always knew that underneath that goofiness, Andre is a deep guy," they say. Those who were with him on his now historical India trip recall the first time he heard the Jal Tarang. "He went in to a sort of trance. His eyes glazed over and he had this tiny smile on his face. It took him a while to get back to normal after that."
Obviously, Andre was deeply attracted to the Jal Tarang from his first encounter with it. He is now planning to ask some of his musically-inclined friends to learn to play the 'tabla' so that they can accompany him. "And maybe someone on the flute," he says, wistfully.
We wish Andre the very best of luck in his musical journey.
About the Jal Tarang