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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Inquilab - the story... the commitment...the youth

1) Could you tell me the main theme of the song?

The intention is to give us the strength to stand up and unite against the terror.

2) Pls tell me a bit about the inception of the song. How do you conceptualise it? Tell us about the creative team behind it? Tell us a bit about Prince Ali and Raqeeb Alam? How long did you take to make this song? How do you plan to distribute the song?

We wanted to do a song on unity. And so Prince Ali was kind enough to compose the music for it and though we had recorded it in english first, brother Raqueeb Alam agreed to write it in hindi and it was very kind of him too. We have done this together, in order to help any initiative that may be out there, and as musicians, this is the first step for us. Film - makers are welcome to discuss taking it to the next level :-)
Still in the process of distribution ideas, however it is a song for the people and so it's only right that the people help distribute it.

Mr. Srinivas and Mohan, Bryan and James, all helped in getting this on the sites. Vithur and the arrahmanfans group have posted this everywhere online. Look forward to any other ideas from anybody out there on the same.

3) There seems to a very potent sense of revolution in the song, something on the likes of Lalkaar from Lagaan? Was this an intended effect?

I think the anger is evident in all of us, and we are trying to use it constructively through song, to provide strength.

4) How have the attacks in Mumbai affected you as an individual? Has it changed your perception of life?

It is very sad..and still a shock.. having lived there for several years, it deeply angers .. that there is so much hate... but again, only unity in strength and love can overcome this... so we pray.

5) You have openly spoken about bringing to task the crooked police? Tell us about that.

Whenever there is an issue that touches, we feel to write about it.. hence when the issues with policemen being in the wrong came to light, we felt the need to address it. But today, with the way the police who were there in mumbai, fighting for us, and the way in which the security services laid down their lives for us, it truly is a blessing that they 'serve to protect' even in the toughest conditions. They are true heroes and we salute them. Right now, we love the police - no doubt.

6) What do you think the youth should do in order to set things right? What do you think the government should be doing?

The youth need to unite. Need to vote. Need to study politics, actively, to be ready to join when educated about it, to serve the country and bring back respect. Government needs to be more sensitive to its people. We all need to appreciate the freedom we have today...

Q & A


1. What made you decide to choose this career?

Destiny… I wrote my first rap in 1991 for the elections in Zambia. Had written a poem and my father read it and got his colleague, Ben Chiyesu, to play the guitar on it, and we performed it Live on ZNBC, the national TV station. That same week, the president won the elections and it became news that an Indian guy had rapped! Ever since then, I knew the power of Rhythm And Poetry (RAP) in telling stories and sending messages. However, as a career, that happened only in 2002. Have been struggling throughout those years to make it a career, and when I finally gave up in ’99 and concentrated on my Film degree(BA Cinema) and started working as a Producer for a music channel, and then a radio DJ in Mumbai, India, the call from Mr. A R Rahman came. That moment defined my career’s struggle… and hence destiny decided this would work – finally – Amen.

2. When did you first realize that you were famous?

Famous? maybe when in Zambia and I wanted to perform in ’93 at my old school, Mpelembe, and the girls, who normally would have not even said, ‘hello,’ were asking me to autograph their clothes!

3. How and why did you choose the name “Blaaze” for yourself?

Firstly, my full name is Lakshmi Narasimha Vijaya Rajagopala Sheshadri Sharma Rajesh Raman:

lakshmi narasimha - from a pujari at ahobilya mutt who told my grandad lakshmi narasimha is coming
vijaya - as i was born on a vijayadasami day
rajagopal - grand fathers name
sheshadri sharma - great grandfather sheshadri as my sharma
rajesh - mum was a big rajesh khanna fan hence rajesh
raman - dad's name

and blaaze - to encompass all of the above ...

It started as MC Blaze. MC meaning Mic Controller… then the accent on the e’ for the sound, and the extra a to make sure it was pronounced right.


4. Your number in Shivaji-The Boss was a runaway hit… what was your experience working with “The boss”?

A R Rahman was ‘The Boss’… Am yet to meet Mr. Rajnikanth… for real… it’s all prayers…and I guess the blessing to get a break with Rajnikanth’s Baba, which was really well received, lead to the next song.



5. You have worked with some of the greatest music composers… who is your favorite and why is it so?

A R Rahman. The greatest. He is magical and truly knows how to get the ‘best’ from each of his artists.

6. What is the one song which you have rapped/sung that remains to be your favorite to this day?

In My Father’s Words’ – It is a song that emphasizes that all religions preach One God – ( I believe in the words of the Prophet Mohammed, never to underestimate the power of the moment / I believe in the sacrifice of Lord Jesus, with the resurrection I believe that he freed us / I believe in the teachings Om Namah Sivaya, I’m a say it again, Om Namah Sivaya / I believe in the words of the wise today, I believe in what my father had to say )

7. You are known as a “responsible rapper”… Is it a conscious decision to have clean cut lyrics?

It is a conscious effort to rap about issues which matter to me. The rest follows, I guess.

8. Who is your inspiration?

Tupac Shakur. He was the realest and most soulful rapper that ever existed. He truly is my Guardian Angel too.

9. How does it feel to be the first Indian artist to be featured on an international channel like Vh1?

Feels like a blessing. Feels like knowing that maybe I am on the right path.

10. You have always been politically vocal through your songs (In My Father's Words,Ban the Crooked Police do you think more artists should voice their opinions through their music?

Yes. Infact, Rap is known for its power of the word… and so I do believe the pen is mightier than the gun.

11. What are you’re the current projects in your pipeline?

Inquilab – Stand Up & Unite … a song for the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks. A song for strength and unity. Please support the song by hearing it and forwarding it to your friends. Its free and its sincere.
Slumdog Millionaire… working with Rahman and Danny Boyle was amazing
ZambeZi Funk … my album with Sagar. Due for release in March 2009.
Global One Music … an album with 20 singers from around the world. To release early next year.
The Thirukural Album … trying to bring the kurals to a new generation of listeners. The first one releases with Mr. A R Rahman this week on his forthcoming album, Connections.

12. What made you decide to come out with an all English rap album?

Zambezi funk… Its an album with Sagar Desai and its more African in style and I think it’s time our ‘funkalistic syllables’ were ready for the world.

13. What advice would you give someone who also wants to enter this field?

Pray.. keep the faith.. persevere.. don’t give up… keep it real !!

14. Good luck in all your future endeavors… Is there anything you would like to tell your fans out there?

Do something for your community. Do something for society… through whatever way you know possible. Make a difference whilst on this earth. Smile for me …

Monday, December 15, 2008

My mother's ordeal... 'open' letter to hospital



Rajesh Raman
Son Of Mrs. Sathyabhama Raman
Abhiramapuram
Chennai – 600 018
Date: 15th December, 2008

To
The Management,
Chennai Meenakshi Multispeciality Hospital Ltd.
148, Luz Church Road,
Mylapore, Chennai 600 004


Respected Sir,

It is with utmost disappointment that I am compelled to write this to bring to your notice the complete inadequacy and disrespect shown to my mother and fellow patients at your hospital.

My mother, Mrs. Sathyabhama Raman was admitted to the hospital on Friday, December 12th 2008. Having been under the care of Dr. GS Kailash, she is being discharged today, thankfully. Please note the following and do ensure the services are improved so as to help other unfortunate patients who may have to suffer the added pain of your services alongwith the illness already diagnosed. A copy of this letter is being given to all concerned departments.

Saturday December 13th 2008 - Room 211

9.27 pm – 10.00 pm

3 times was attended for medication / reports / drips
Nurse left patient on all three occasions half way…

(hospital excuse) – shortage of sisters

9.00 pm – previous 48 hours (since admission)

Patient has acute bronchitis alongwith other illness, and had been administered nebulisation – ON A BROKEN MACHINE !
Complaint in the form of a doubt was raised by the patient’s daughter-in-law, Nandini Raman, on first nebulisation, as it seemed to not work.(i.e. no trace of smoke from machine mask during nebulisation). No positive response from nurse who was attending and mentioned it is ..as is.
Second day of nebulisation, I, Rajesh Raman, was present in the evening, and being a severe asthmatic patient myself, knew the nuisances of the nebuliser, and this time when complaint was raised by myself, to the sister on duty, she AGREED that the unit being used since her admission to the hospital, was and still is…BROKEN.

(hospital excuse) – as a patient, you should have complained earlier, says the nurse!

Emergency Bell kept at bedside – response time - 7 minutes - after three rings and patient walking to desk to ask for attendance !

(hospital excuse) – there was nobody at the desk to attend to bell call.

10.12 pm

3 injections through intra-veinous (IV) was administered to patient in 21 seconds. Am curious as to whether this is common practice as my mother was in tremendous pain.

(hospital excuse) – this is the way it is done.

07.15 am Monday, December 15, 2008

After being in room 211 since Saturday, 13th December, the bedsheets of the patient have been changed only now, and that too after polite requests to do so by myself. 3 days later? A bedsheet change?

(hospital excuse-overheard) – lack of sheets

09.15 am

Dustbin changed and replaced WITHOUT removal of the bin liner inside, with cotton swabs and tea stains etc still in the new change. Complained to head nurse about some basic sense of responsibility required and prompt replacement was made.

09.30 am

Had to request for toilet to be cleaned … as it has not been cleaned since admission.

(hospital excuse) – not sure …


Am truly appalled by the further stress and pain an admission to your hospital may bring to fellow patients like my mother. Please do take action.
For God’s sake, if not for humanity.



Regards

Rajesh Raman
(15-12-08)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Light A Candle at www.blaaze.in

thanks to srini, mohan and the team at knack... vithur and the brothers for spreading the word.. and all of you for the strength... the track is being taken up by MTV to work on for a video, and is currently on my official site, blaaze.in , wherein you can 'light' a candle for the victims too whilst hearing the song... also officially on radio nri too...thank u bryan, james, david and the team... to mukul, blogeswari, kirthi and arun ..thanks... peace... Jai Hind !

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The sound of my soul




For the first time in an indian studio, there was a gentleman who came up and spoke to me about RAP... real rap music history.. to the legends... to the way it worked.. and that he loved the Baba Rap! To me, he was the ultimate man of musical knowledge unlike anybody i have ever known.

Mr. H Shridar.

Wisdom personified.

Ever since my first meeting with him at Panchathan studios, to every single song i have ever done with A R Rahman, he has been the man behind the sound. He taught me, ' how to hold a mic - correctly.' yes - he taught me how to monitor myself. He taught me how not to get caught up in this hustle of an industry, and he has patiently made sure that everytime my voice is on a song, it would sound 'just right' because he made sure it did.

When we toured the US, he was so amazing ! He was a man who would do so much work, and still be smiling. His smile was infectious, and i long to see that smile again. A longing which is not allowing me to think or write in clear ways. ..

During one of the tours in the US, we were at a huge basketball stadium, and he was engineering the sound for our concert from the centre on his console... on the walls around were jerseys of famous basketball stars, and as i shot that on my vdo cam, he mentioned that i should give him a copy... it still is with me... i need to give it to his sons, though my guilt is killing me for my laziness to act then.

In Atlanta, during our last tour, he came with me to the music store and he told me to buy my current 'in-ear monitors.' He was very busy, but took the time out to get me that set and taught me how to use it too. I joked that one day, i would use it a concert where only he would do my sound...

recently when the credit lists for yuvvraaj were out and my name was missing, i had been told that he wrote the credits and yet they printed wrongly... due to all the mess, it finaly came through that he had Indeed written it correctly, yet they* messed up.. he was truthful, sincere and a gem of a human being. I miss him a lot.

About 2 weeks earlier, on the last few days of slumdog millionaire mixing, i spent some nice nights with him in studio. He was smiling, working and puffing along... he reminded me not to smoke! He spoke about so many things that nobody else knew about rap. who will i talk to now?

He then mentioned how he had made my voice sound so smooth on the Dating song, for its hindi release and he had enjoyed it. He was there to make sure we sounded good, always.

He spoke to me about the thirukural song, 'Respect,' which i dedicate to him, as he loved the way he had mixed the voices so precisely... When you guys out there hear the song, you will know what i mean. Respect to you, Sir.. Respect for your life's dedication to music... Respect to your loved ones... Respect to Sound... ... for your sound lingers in my heart always and forever... in all i do... and all i hear... With Love... and prayers... ... ... though i may never have told you straight up - I love you man ...

Inquilab

we all need strength... to go thru the terror ordeal and the following weeks' actions are crucial to our resilience... (a word getting more familiar as we pretend all is ok time and again)... it is not.. and as a citizen of this world we all need to do something in our own ways to help create change!

we have a song called Inquilab, Stand Up - Unite, to give to the world... the hindi lyrics are by Raqueeb Alam and music is by Prince Ali. Have started by mailing it to all on my list.. trying to get it on radio and sincerely would appreciate ideas on getting it out there more... 

Do let me know how... am trying through the networks, but to no avail, as yet... maybe you should hear the song first... tell me how..?

May God Be Kind... 

Peace
BlaaZe