It’s been 50 years since Hendrix’s ‘Electric Ladyland’ blew our minds


Go to the profile of Martin Johnson

The double album blurred the lines between musical genres and refused to let blackness be narrowcast.

For a kid born in 1960, I came to Jimi Hendrix’s music late. While I fondly recall lurking outside the door of my sister’s bedroom to sneak a listen of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and loving the iconic introductory guitar on the Temptations’ “My Girl” emanating from my brother’s room, I can’t claim that I stood in the hallway of my childhood home, in Chicago, playing air guitar to the power chords that introduced “Purple Haze.”

Then I went college. One night in 1979, probably in between Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and the Velvet Underground’s Loaded, a friend put on Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland and, like millions of other listeners, I was absolutely transfixed. At the time, I’d known Hendrix for remarkable three- and four-minute singles like “Manic Depression” and “Foxy Lady.” But hearing Electric Ladyland, whose 10th anniversary coincided with my freshman year, and whose 50th anniversary is upon us, was a game-changer.

On a personal level, it was an affirmation of sorts. As an African American with a diverse sonic appetite dating back to childhood, I’d been called an “Uncle Tom” by junior high classmates for liking Steely Dan more than B.T. Express, a taunt that left me with physical and emotional scars. Electric Ladyland confirmed that my interests were, and always had been, cool. Way cool. The album had a little bit of everything.

The jazz aficionado in me loved “Rainy Day, Dream Away,” while my inner blues lover dug Jimi’s take on Earl King’s “Come On (Let the Good Times Roll).” The rock head banger inside me loved “Crosstown Traffic.” By the time the recording ended, with a searing cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and a fiery “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” I knew I’d found my church.

So had a lot of people, especially African American listeners and musicians. More than any recording up to that point, Electric Ladyland refused to allow blackness to be narrowcast, and presented a vision of a diverse, accomplished African American future. Which is why it’s as powerful in 2018 as it was half a century ago.

Electric Ladyland’s inside cover. (Reprise Records)

In1969, legendary rock critic Robert Christgau raved that “no previous rock album flowed like [Electric Ladyland], and while jazz albums often support as many contrasting sonic moods, Louis Armstrong himself didn’t match Hendrix’s appetite for sound effects and general silliness. His spaced-out spirituality is the fullest musicalization of ‘psychedelic’ ever accomplished.” In 2017, Pitchfork ranked the recording number 11 in its top 200 recordings of the sixties. In his assessment, Nate Patrin wrote, “Hendrix was a master of both the boundless potential and the immediate simplicity of rock.” Yet this praise only skims the surface.

Electric Ladyland was released in October of ’68, a little less than a year before Hendrix’s landmark appearance at Woodstock, where his solo guitar version of “The Star Spangled Banner” would solidify his place in the pantheon of American musicians. It’s fairly easy to draw a direct line from him to other great guitarists like Robin Trower, Joe Satriani, Ernie Isley, Prince, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as shredders in different genres like Robert Randolph (gospel/Americana), Gary Clark (blues/rock) Eddie Hazel (funk), and Mary Halvorson (jazz), just to name a few. But Electric Ladyland’s impact goes deeper than just the work of a virtuoso guitar player.

“I think that the impact Hendrix’s work had on me was the sheer power of his visionary imagination,” Vernon Reid, a guitar wizard and leader of the group Living Colour, tells Timeline via email:

Hendrix painted murals of sound, a cosmology of artistic freedom. He didn’t seem to have any boundaries to his expression. Even as he was deeply connected to blues, he was not hemmed in by that traditional structure. He managed to find a way to be free within it. Jimi became a capital-O Obsession. The opener of Electric Ladyland, “And the Gods Made Love,” was hardcore psychedelia, total aural strangeness, a preamble to a dream question, “Have You Ever Been to Electric Ladyland?” The answer was decidedly NO, but I really, REALLY wanted to go.

Hendrix’s vision, his uncanny ability to be rooted in many genres yet see beyond aesthetic boundaries, is what makes Electric Ladyland an inspirational touchstone for so many artists. Reid notes that his group’s 1990 recording Time’s Up owes a significant debt to the Hendrix classic, adding that “a record like Prince’s 1999 or Sign ‘O’ the Times doesn’t happen without the existence of Electric Ladyland.” Neither, he says, does Lenny Kravitz’s Let Love Rule or Miles Davis’s Agharta or Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain or any seventies-era tunes by the Isley Brothers. And of course, he says, “the DNA of rock from Seattle is suffused with what Hendrix accomplished with Electric Ladyland, which makes all the more sense, given that Seattle was Hendrix’s hometown.

 

Electric Ladyland’s influence can be heard on recent recordings by Solange (left), Kamasi Washington (center), and Nicole Mitchell (right), despite the fact that none are rock albums. (Saint Records/Brainfeeder/FPE Records)

Evidently, Electric Ladyland’s DNA still runs strong in the current generation of musical artists. Or perhaps the confluence of Barack Obama’s presidency and the rise of Black Lives Matter have played a part in supporting a vision for a strong African American future. Either way, several recent, sprawling, epic recordings suggest a sonic itinerary that includes the multi-dimensional realm of Electric Ladyland.

A Seat at the Table, Solange Knowles’s 2016 exploration of contemporary black womanhood, draws on many styles, such as jazz, gospel, and hip-hop, and reimagines each to create a polyglot rhythm-and-blues sound that both is rooted in the past and reaches far into the future. Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, a 2015 meditation on African American masculinity, features a broad base of musical styles and goes so deep on the jazz tip that it provided the breakout moment for saxophonist Kamasi Washington, who then released his own appropriately titled recording, The Epic, which presents an Afro-futurist vision.

Flutist and composer Nicole Mitchell had her breakout in 2017 with Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds, which depicts a future world where technology and nature coexist peacefully. Mitchell, who was based in Chicago for more than 20 years, draws on blues, house music, and gospel, blending them seamlessly into an improvised context. None of these recordings are rock albums, so they haven’t been presented in the lineage of Electric Ladyland. But it isn’t hard to see their eclecticism and vision in a similar mold as Hendrix’s timeless double LP.

“Jimi Hendrix was lighting a pathway for, and setting a challenge to, subsequent generations of artists,” says Reid. “He showed me and many others what was possible to create and make happen. The greatest lesson of Electric Ladyland for me was finding myself.”

Back in college, while looking at the album’s liner notes (remember those?), I noticed that Hendrix was credited not just with producing the record but directing it, title that’s rarely used in recorded music. That’s because it isn’t simply a collection of songs; it’s one of the first concept recordings in popular music. What that concept is, of course, varies from ear to ear, listener to listener, artist to artist. “It wasn’t just slopped together,” Hendrix has said. “Every little thing you hear means something.”



Debdeep Misra performing at Golpark Ramakrishna Mission – Raga Yaman



By Debdeep Misra, FFM Ambassador for India

“Indian classical music is a genre of South Asian music.It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic.”

Indian classical music has two foundational elements, raga and tala. The raga forms the fabric of a melodic structure, while the tala measures the time cycle.

Indian classical music is a genre of South Asian music.It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic.

The raga gives an artist a palette to build the melody from sounds, while the tala provides them with a creative framework for rhythmic improvisation using time.

There is no concept of harmony in Indian classical music. 

Here Debdeep Misra performs raga YAMAN……WHICH IS INDIAN CLASSICAL RAGA. Yaman emerged from the parent musical style of Kalyan Vilambit bandish  ” kahe sakhi kayse ke ka kariye”
Debdeep Misra
Debdeep Misra, FFM Ambassador for India



हिंदी एफएफएम (Hindi FFM) – गांधी और संगीत …(Gandhi and Music)


अंकुर बीप्लव
अंकुर बीप्लव

महात्मा गांधी – राष्ट्र के पिता, हम सभी को एक स्वतंत्रता सेनानी के रूप में जानते हैं, एक व्यक्ति जो हमेशा सच्चाई और अभाव में, एक दैवीय आत्मा और अपने देश के लिए महान प्रेम और सम्मान वाले व्यक्ति हैं। हम सभी ने अपने जीवन के विभिन्न पहलुओं के बारे में सुना है / पढ़ा है, लेकिन आज हम संगीत के लिए उनके प्यार के बारे में बात करेंगे। हाँ! अधिकांश लोगों को लगता है कि वह सभी कलाओं और संगीत के खिलाफ थे लेकिन संगीत के लिए उनका विचार- “संगीत अकेले गले से आगे नहीं बढ़ता मन, संवेदना और हृदय के संगीत हैं ”

कुंआ! हम सब प्रसिद्ध भजन- “वैष्णव जन” और “रघुपति राघव” के पास आए हैं, ये भजन नियमित रूप से उनके आश्रम में खेले जाते थे। उनके अनुसार सच्चे संगीत में कोई बाधा नहीं है। संगीत वह शक्तिशाली हथियार है जिसमें उसकी भावनाओं को बदलने / नियंत्रित करने की शक्ति है। गांधीजी का दिन भजन के साथ शुरू होगा और भजन के साथ समाप्त होगा। प्रसिद्ध संगीतकार जैसे- पं। एन.एम. खर, मामा फडके, श्री विनोबा और बल्कोबा भावे अपने आश्रम के भजन सत्र का एक हिस्सा थे। उनके आश्रम में भजन के दौरान धर्म, जाति, पंथ, क्षेत्र, भाषाओं आदि का कोई भेदभाव नहीं था। उनके अनुसार संगीत एक था राष्ट्रीय अखंडता का शानदार तरीका क्योंकि यहां विभिन्न रिघीजेन्स के संगीतकार एक साथ बैठते हैं और एक संगीत कार्यक्रम में प्रदर्शन करते हैं। उन्होंने अक्सर कहा, “हम एक संकीर्ण अर्थ में संगीत को ध्यान में रखकर साधन लिखना और अच्छी तरह से खेलने की क्षमता का मतलब करेंगे, लेकिन इसके व्यापक अर्थों में, सच्चे संगीत तब ही बनाया जाता है जब जीवन एक धुन और एक ही समय की धड़कन के साथ होता है संगीत का जन्म होता है जहां दिल की तार धुन से बाहर नहीं होती है। ” जब गांधीजी दक्षिण अफ्रीका में थे तो उन्होंने आश्रम में शाम नमाज शुरू किया था। भजन का यह संग्रह बाद में – ‘नीतीवम कव्यो’ के नाम से प्रकाशित हुआ।

संगीत सुनने से हमें कई तरीकों से मदद मिल सकती है शायद, यही कारण है कि गांधी जी को संगीत की ओर आकर्षित किया गया था। संगीत एक शानदार मस्तिष्क व्यायाम है जो मस्तिष्क के हर ज्ञात भाग को सक्रिय करता है। यह जीवन के सभी चरणों में एक स्मार्ट, खुश और अधिक उत्पादक बना सकता है गांधी जी ने यह भी सोचा था कि संगीत लोगों के मन में शांति और सामंजस्य स्थापित करने का एक तरीका था। संगीत सुनना मानव मन को एक अनन्त शांति देता है, यह सुनिश्चित करता है कि उनका दिमाग हिंसा के प्रति आकर्षित नहीं है। किसी ने एक बार महात्मा से पूछा, “महात्माजी को संगीत के लिए कोई पसंद नहीं है?” गांधीजी ने उत्तर दिया- “अगर कोई संगीत नहीं था और मुझमें कोई हँसी नहीं थी, तो मैं अपने काम के इस कुचल बोझ से मर गया होता।” गांधीजी बहुत संगीत से जुड़े थे  22 दिसंबर, 1 9 45 को उन्होंने रबींद्रनाथ टैगोर को लिखे गए पत्र के जरिए संगीत के लिए उनका प्यार देखा जा सकता है जिसमें उन्होंने रबींद्रनाथ टैगोर का सुझाव दिया था कि भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत के साथ साथ पश्चिमी शास्त्रीय संगीत को बंगाली संगीत के साथ दिया जाना चाहिए। इससे यह भी पता चलता है कि गांधीजी को विभिन्न संगीताओं का बहुत ज्ञान था।     गांधी जी का जीवन लय और सद्भाव से भरा था उन्हें भजन के साथ अपना दिन शुरू करने की आदत थी और भजन के साथ अपना दिन समाप्त भी किया था। आजकल कई हिंसा देखी जा रही हैं शायद लोगों के बीच शांति, सामंजस्य और भाईचारे को सुनिश्चित करने का एकमात्र तरीका संगीत है।

English Translation

Mahatma Gandhi- The father of Nation, we all know him as a freedom fighter, a person who always believed in truth and nonviolence, a divine soul and a person having great love and respect for his country. We all have heard/ read about his various aspects of life but today we will talk about his love for music. Yes! most of the people think that he was against all arts and music. But his thought for music was-
“Music does not proceed from the throat alone. There is music of mind, of the senses and of the heart. ”

Well! we all have came across the famous bhajans- “Vaishanav Jan” and ” Raghupati Raghav”, these bhajans were played at his ashram regularly. According to him In true music there are no barrier. Music is that powerful weapon which has the power to change/control one’s emotions. Gandhijis’ day would start with bhajans and would end with bhajans. Famous musicians like- Pt. N. M. Khare, Mama Fadke, Sri Vinoba and Balkoba Bhave were a part of his ashram’s bhajan sessions.. During the bhajans in his ashram, there was no discrimination of religion, caste, creed, region, languages etc.

According to him music was a great way of national integrity because here only musicians of different religions sit together and perform at a concert. He often said, “We shall consider music in a narrow sense to mean the ability to sing and play an instrument well, but, in its wider sense, true music is created only when life is attuned to a single tune and a single time beat. Music is born only where the strings of the heart are not out of tune.” When Gandhi Ji was in South Africa he had started evening prayers in the Ashram. That collection of bhajans were later published under the name of – ‘Nitivam Kavyo’.

Listening to music can help us in lot of ways. Maybe, that’s why Gandhi Jee was so attracted towards music. Music is a fantastic brain exercise that activates every known part of the brain.  It can make one smarter, happier and more productive at all stages of life. Gandhi Jee even thought that music was a way of establishing peace and harmony in the minds of people. Listening to music gives an eternal peace to human mind thus, will ensure that their mind isn’t attracted towards violence.

Someone once asked the Mahatma“Mahatmaji don’t you have any liking for music?” Gandhi Jee replied- “If there was no music and no laughter in me, I would have died of this crushing burden of my work.” This shows how Gandhi jee was so attached to the music.
His love for music can be seen by the letter he wrote to Rabindranath Tagore on December 22, 1945 in which he suggested Rabindranath Tagore that due place should be given to Indian Classical Music as well as Western Classical Music along with bengali music. This also shows that Gandhi Jee had great knowledge of different genres of music.

Gandhi Jee’s life was full of rhythm and harmony. He had a habit of starting his day with bhajans and also ending his day with the bhajans. A lot of violence is witnessed nowadays around the world perhaps music is the only way to ensure peace, harmony and brotherhood among people.




Coltrane Pitch Diagrams



Go to the profile of Lucas Gonze

In the mid 90s I was browsing in the bookstore at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I was looking for Slonimsky’s Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns, a book of algorithmically-generated scales which had a following among jazz musicians, most notably John Coltrane.

Near it on the shelves I came across a similar but more peculiar book, Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns, by Yusef Lateef.

As a frontispiece he had included two surprising images.

What were these? A small note at the bottom of the acknowledgements said:

Geometric Drawings: By John Coltrane, 1960. Gifts to Yusef from John.

Over time I became fascinated by the Coltrane drawings and set about decoding them using a protractor, compass and tracing paper.

First I made a clean schematic of Coltrane’s marked-up diagram.

In thinking about it I realized it could be simplified from two rings to one without losing any of the intrinsic relationships.

Of course, from a musician’s perspective this had the surprising result of converting from a whole-tone scale in Coltrane’s original to a chromatic scale in my single-ring version. Then I realized there could be a three-ring version as well, with the intervals on each ring describing diminished triads.

This new three-ring version was visually strange and beautiful, and had a feature that wasn’t evident in either the one-ring or two ring versions: a winding pattern.

Pick a section starting with C and walk to the next C, one semitone at a time. The first four notes of the series would be C, C#, D, Eb. In the one and two ring versions D and Eb are adjacent, but in the three-ring version Eb is on the far ring.

That got me to thinking of the series as a winding banner.

And from there a 3D pattern, not a flat one.

I made a clean final version of this sketch.

From there it was natural to go on to versions with four, five and six rings.

When I had finished my six-ring version, I was sorry that I couldn’t go any further, because each set of rings shows a symmetric interval, and there are no symmetric intervals larger than this.

My drawings were complete, so I made a little title page for the collection.


Not long after I went to a Yusef Lateef concert. It was at Lincoln Center in New York City. He was a stellar player and the show was unforgettable.

After the performance I made my way to the crowd of people chatting by the stage door with the musicians, introduced myself, and asked him to sign my copy of his book.

We talked about the Coltrane diagrams. I showed him a version of my work. He told me that Coltrane had been drawing the original diagrams between sets on a gig they did together, and had given them to him. Lateef said this wasn’t the first time. “He was always doing that,” Lateef said.

That was probably during a period when Coltrane was studying Slonimsky and thinking about generative patterns for melodies. The year was 1960. He was growing from the modernist formalisms of bebop harmony — all bright lines and strict causality — to the ecstatic spirituality of free jazz. The connection between his post-bop and free jazz was numerology, a belief that divine or mystical phenomena can arise from quantitative thinking.

1960 was arguably his peak year. He founded his landmark band with McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones and recorded his signature hit, “My Favorite Things.” Whatever the diagrams meant to him, they were connected with his best art.


Lateef was warm and generous with his time. I promised to send my own schematics, and later that year I did, along with a cover letter.



Einstein’s violin could fetch $150K at auction




A violin owned by Albert Einstein will go under the hammer on Friday — and experts believe it could fetch up to $150,000.

“Made for the Worlds Greatest Scientist Professor,” reads the inside label.

The instrument, dubbed Lina, was constructed by Pennsylvania cabinet maker Oscar H. ­Stegerr in 1933, the year the German-born Einstein decided to remain in the United States after Hitler came to power. It is being sold by Bonhams Fine Art division in New York.

Einstein reportedly played the violin often and was known to crank out Mozart while working.

“Life without playing music is inconceivable for me,” he once said. “I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music . . . I get most joy in life out of music.”


The Phenomenal Alexander Hrustevich – A true virtuoso


Alexander Hrustevich – Accordion Virtuoso

…a virtuoso was, originally, a highly accomplished musician, but by the nineteenth century the term had become restricted to performers, both vocal and instrumental, whose technical accomplishments were so pronounced as to dazzle the public.

In recent years, the term virtuoso has been overused and downgraded to include any artist who has command over their instrument. The word ‘proficient’ should suffice when describing most accomplished performers however, once in a while, a musician will come along who goes way beyond just proficient. I am reminded of the likes of Paganini,  Pavarotti and Jacqueline du Pre when looking to fit this bill.

Alexander Hrustevich fits the description perfectly. There is nobody more proficient at playing the accordion than Alexander.

Ukrainian-born Alexander Hrustevich is one of the best bayanists in the world. Mr. Hrustevich is constantly invited to perform in many countries, including Poland, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Serbia, Brazil and many others. Just recently, he performed with legendary musician and composer, winner of several Grammy awards Bobby McFerrin in a sold out, three thousand audience arena in Kiev.

The very first notes will take your breath away… Alexader Hrustevich is able to play the most complicated transcriptions of violin, piano and orchestra pieces with the bayan; starting with Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra and finishing with a fragment from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” Using his ten fingers at the same time, he is able to easily play both orchestra and violin parts. For these extraordinary abilities people and critics call Mr. Hrustevich – “the man orchestra“.

As prof. David Yearsley writes about Mr. Hrustevich’s recording, which he saw on Youtube: “The small stage on which Hrustevich demonstrates his art is festooned with yellow and orange balloons and fake flower garlands. The camera is hand-held, but despite all of this, you can feel how great are this virtuoso’s gifts.” The professor also compares his interpretations of Bach Passacaglia with a pianist: “Tricky passages that the pianist divided between the two hands, Hrustevich manages with one. He revels in the virtuosic spectacle of fingers flying and sliding and contorting over buttons and in the same time picking almost every note cleanly. It’s rather like playing the Bach Passacaglia on a travel typewriter, only harder.”(The Musical Patriot).

Born in 1983, Alexander Hrustevich started to play the bayan by the age of 6.  He graduated Ukraines National Academy of Music as a student of prof. Besfamilnov. Apart from his solo activity, he is also a member of the National Academy Orchestra.




The Inescapable Sadness Of Christmas Music And how it paradoxically makes us happy.






Go to the profile of Julianne Ishler

I’ll just say it outright — Christmas music depresses me.

I’m pretty sure it goes back to when I was 5 years old and was convinced every time I heard Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” on the radio that it was actually my grandma singing to me from heaven. I’m not sure why I thought this—my grandma may have looked a little like Judy Garland, but she was (and still is) very much alive. But whether it was rational or not doesn’t change the fact that to this day, that song makes me indescribably sad every holiday season.

Lately, though, I’ve come to learn I’m not the only one who gets depressed by Christmas music. A lot of those classic holiday ditties, from the religious (“Silent Night”) to the non-religious (Elvis’s “Blue Christmas”) are totally melancholic.

This can partly be explained by history: A lot of iconic Christmas music was originally written during World War II. With so many young men fighting overseas, it was inevitable that themes of longing, grief and loss would predominate. In Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (1943), for example, the singer croons about how badly he wants to return home in time for Christmas, but something in his voice tells us he knows he won’t be. The song is a total downer all around.




Even Christmas songs that aren’t inherently sorrowful can still make us pine for the past in a kind of sad way. The lyrics of holiday music often reflect memories and traditions with loved ones. And whether it’s the image of “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” or the wintery feeling of “Jack Frost nipping at your nose” — both references are from Nat King Cole’s iconic 1950 ditty “The Christmas Song” — we’re attached to these lyrics partly because we’re nostalgic for our own childhoods, even if our childhoods didn’t involve roasting any chestnuts over any fires, open or otherwise.

As we grow up, the magic of Christmas fades, yet Christmas music is a time-hop back those memories. Irving Berlin touches on this notion in his song “White Christmas” (1942), which is a terribly depressing number despite its outwardly pleasing name. Written in a lavish Beverly Hills hotel, Berlin sings about his poor upbringing and how he’s longing for Christmas to be snowy-white “just like the ones I used to know.”




Music of any variety, Christmas or non, is inherently emotional. “Music is unique because it sparks activity in just about every circuit in the brain,” Nina Krauss, a professor of neurobiology at Northwestern University, told me. “This supercharge of activity integrates sensory networks, cognitive networks and emotional networks.” In other words, music is a direct bridge from our senses to our innermost feelings.

The sadness of holiday music may, paradoxically, comfort us. Researchconducted by graduate students at the University of Southern California last year found that songs that deal with emotions like grief and sorrow can purge bad feelings and actually have a healing effect on our brains. We find sad music pleasurable when it’s perceived as non-threatening and when it produces psychological benefits, the study found.

“If you’re the kind of person who listens to sad music during the holidays, you’re more likely to be an empathic person,” Matthew Sachs, one of the study’s authors, told the science website Inverse shortly after the study was published last December.


For so long, I thought I was weird for having multiple playlists dedicated to “Sad Christmas Jams.” I thought there was something wrong with me for cranking the volume on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” because of the (kind of twisted) way it made me feel connected to my grandma.

But I know now I’m not alone: The same thing has been happening to millions of other people at least as far back as World War II. So while Christmas music makes me depressed, I don’t necessarily mind it — it’s a yearly check in with myself, bridging my past with my present.



What music defines Indian youth culture?






Ankur Biplav
By Ankur Biplav, Indian Musician

When we think of the music that defines our current youth culture, genres like hip hop, jazz and indie music come to  mind. We are living in an era of autotune and lip sync where anyone or everyone can become a singer. On the other hand, classical music is probably one of the genres which many youth would be least likely to identify.

But, the notion of youth towards classical music is changing. The young superstars of any genre of music are the icons for  society and so is the case with classical music. The young maestros are the icons for the youth. The young maestros, who not only are great performers, but are also imparting the rich culture and tradition of Indian Classical Music to the generation next.

Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan
Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan

Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan, who comes from the great lineage of traditional musicians of Agra Gharana, is one of the finest vocalist of Agra Gharana in the country currently. The musicians of the Agra Gharana play with laya, weaving in words, to make patterns around the beat. Khayal in the hands of the performers from the Agra School is a progression — from the abstract to the concrete and from the divine to the human.

All these can be seen in the singing of this maestro.He took his initial taalim from his grandfather Ustaad Ata Hussain Khan and also his father Ustaad Naseem Ahmed Khan. Later, he joined ITC Sangeet Research Academy where he took his taalim under Ustaad Shafi Ahmed Khan. Currently, he is imparting his knowledge of music to the future generation as a faculty at ITC Sangeet Research Academy.

Smt. Kaushiki Chakrabarty
Smt. Kaushiki Chakrabarty

The sweet, melodious and the divine voice Smt. Kaushiki Chakrabarty, one of the most promising classical vocalists of Patiala Gharana of this generation. The famous thumri of Patiala Gharana “Yaad Piya Ki Aaye”, Kaushiki in her unique style has not missed a chance to impress the audience with this thumri, whenever and wherever she sings.

She, born into a musical family learnt music under her father Pt. Ajay Chakrabarty who himself is a legendary vocalist. She, with her mellifluous and melodious voice and her mastery over various ragas has made the music lovers her fan across the globe. She is also regarded as the “torch bearer” of the Patiala Gharana.

A very rising Shisya of a very able guru, Pt Omkar Dadarkar shisya of Pt Ulhas Khasalkar are two such great musicians of the country who can sing the gayaki of Agra, Jaipur and Gwalior gharanas with equal ease.

Omkar Dadarkar
Omkar Dadarkar

Omkar Dadarkar was previously a scholar at ITC SRA and now he is also imparting his unique style of singing to the generation next. Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar has been awarded to him in 2010 for his services to the Indian Classical Music.

The Indian Classical Music is very unique. In order to truly appreciate/learn this style of music, one must have patience and a true love for musical prowess. For current youth, it’s a process to enjoy Hindustani classical music, and it takes some research to find the right songs and proper singers as well. The complexities of the art include the taal (beats), the thaat (notes specific to certain raags), and the coming together of melody, beats, and scales that take years – even decades – to master.

But, one must understand that there is no need to understand music as along as it gives you peace and happiness. There are many musicians like- Ankita Joshi, Arshad Ali Khan, Ritesh and Rajnish Mishra, Brajeswar Mukherjee who are not only great performers but are also passing the rich ethos and tradition of Indian Classical Music to the next generation. The time will soon come when people, especially the youth will have Indian Classical Music in their playlists. Because Indian Classical Music is not only a music to ears but also a music for soul.

To Conclude, Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan talking about Indian Classical Music said-“If in every home one child was taught Hindustani classical music, this country would never have been partitioned.”

Help FFM by visiting our sponsor below







Our 14th window and out pops an unusual Bob Dylan song





If you’ve ever wondered what Christmas Eve at Bob Dylan’s house might be like, the video for his rollicking Christmas polka song “Must Be Santa” offers a window into what happens when Dylan and his guests have a little too much eggnog.



“Eminem? Jay-Z? They’re a combined 92 years old! Does their music even matter?” Yes, it does. Rap’s never been this great and this old before.





2017’s two most commercially successful and critically judged rap albums are assuredly going to come from Jay-Z, via June-released 4:44, and Eminem, with his December 15-releasing, ninth studio album, Revival. As hip-hop culture prepares to enter its 45th year, it’s possibly shocking to note that artists who are as old as Kool Herc’s DJ set at Bronx, NY address 1520 Sedgwick Avenue on August 11, 1973 (Jay-Z is 47 and Eminem is 45) could be at the vanguard of the genre. However, it’s astoundingly 19-year old pop rapper Lil Yachty who has the best perspective on how and why this turn of events has come to pass. As he told Hypebeast in August 2017, “[Now], you can do anything at any age, and we have it all at our finger tips. It’s amazing, it’s like the best thing ever.” In reflecting on what Yachty said, the idea that, maybe being a commercially and culturally viable personality in rap music is no longer intrinsically tethered to being between the ages of 18–40, is an evolution worth discussing.

Reasons why one should believe that hip-hop cultural excellence is a gift that’s only reserved for the young are many. Firstly, Biggie and 2Pac died at 24 and 25 years old, respectively. Also significant are facts like Will Smith released his last album at 37, and his children Jaden and Willow are currently a combined total 36 years of age. Last, but certainly not least, Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Uzi Vert are under 25.

Prior to a year where Jay-Z could win Grammy’s Album of the Year and Eminem could release a series of flyover state and #RESIST anthems, hip-hop’s most significant cultural icons were never allowed to age while maintaining pop relevance within the culture. Kanye is currently living through his Pablo-esque surrealist mid-life crisis at the age of 40. Apple employed, legendary, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted 52-year old billionaire Dr. Dre will still occasionally get grilled by the general public as to the release date for Detox.

Whether by invocation of some “27 Club”-esque rule or because, as Moby once told me, “22-year olds are always going to make great records and the most interesting culture,” there’s ample reason to believe that the idea that two rappers with a combined 92 years of age between them releasing rap’s albums of the year is a thing that should not be.

How then, is this happening?





The most significant thing to note about being well past 40 and making dope rap records is that the context into which your creativity is considered could heighten. The expectation for success if this occurs involves recordings having to successfully shift in tone to discover creative comfort when being judged by an advanced critical paradigm. If this occurs, the payoff comes in almost immediately achieving a more iconic level of success.

Songs made by young/younger artists just trend in teeny bopper and early adult bottle popper nightclubs, and the top of Billboard charts. Comparatively, the hubbub surrounding both Shawn Carter and Marshall Mathers’ more old age-aware 2017 output is a mind-blower when contemplating the breath and depth of the artists’ impressively dynamic socio-cultural reach.

  • Jay-Z matured from “big pimpin’ and spendin’ cheese” with then Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Damon Dash to discussing how his marital infidelities and subsequent psychological therapy sessions with 61-year old New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet.
  • As far as Eminem, he’s matured from being “interesting,” and “the best thing since wrestling” to being quite possibly the most ardent Midwestern and “red state”-representing voice in opposition to the chicanery surrounding the United States Presidential administration of 71-year old Donald Trump. As The Daily Beast notes, “Em has thrown himself into the center of the national dialogue on race, Donald Trump and white supremacy.”

Jay-Z has advanced to the status of being a wizened sage. Thus, he is not rapping as he once did. Rather, he has become a preacher of the gospel that we should all — as a unified, and nearly five decade old hip-hop adoring body politic — generally be able to be intelligent enough to be “smart enough to know better.” On 4:44 this idea is prevalent enough in the album’s narrative for CNBC to report that on 4:44’s brilliant “The Story of O.J.” that, “the rapper bemoans rising real estate values in his home city, calling out one of Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhoods and saying, ‘I could have bought a place in Dumbo before it was Dumbo for like $2 million. That same building today is worth $25 million. And guess how I’m feelin’? Dumbo.’” As well, they note that Jay “touches on return on investment — he earned on artwork he purchased years ago for $1 million that is now worth $8 million — and underlines the importance of a buy-and-hold strategy.”

Also, in a manner meant to invoke the — and I’ll coin this phrase here — Lauryn Hill doctrine of “adding a motherfucker so the ignant niggas hear me,” Jay also states in “The Story of O.J.” that “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit. You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.” The Atlantic was right to note that “it’s beneath Carter, a writer and artist of astonishing ability and sophistication,” to recall “the anti-Semitic canard that Jews maintain financial control of everything you see.” But, as related to the “Lauryn Hill doctrine” outlined in the previously linked Fugees’ track “Zealots,” in Decoded, Jay-Z notes regarding prior claims regarding his possible anti-Semitism that, “when I use lines like this, I count on people knowing who I am and my intentions, knowing that I’m not anti-Semitic or racist, even when I use stereotypes in my rhymes.”




Regarding Eminem, he’s recently premiered “Walk On Water,” a duet with intriguingly enough, Jay-Z’s wife Beyonce, as his lead-in single to Revival’s release. As Billboard notes, the track’s lyrical content offers something more refined and world-aware from the 45 year old and twice-divorced father of three, (including an adult Haile Jade Scott Mathers, who is now 21). “[r]ather than knife his way through the track with his brash, animalistic delivery, Em enters a reflective state and addresses his insecurities regarding fame and his current standing in hip-hop.” This includes Em saying that he’s “not a God,”and “a beautiful mess.” Moreover, he alludes to having gotten rid of the bleached blonde hair associated with his caustic career as a younger emcee, and also notes that he might one day “fall” from the “heights” of his career.

Unlike Jay-Z, whose success has afforded him an opulent, white collar and high class semi-retired rap life that very few men in the universe could ever achieve, Eminem is in a different situation. Jay is largely above any critical commentary. However, Eminem, by virtue of his blue collar and impoverished upbringing is old, yet still hustling for approval. Thus, he is likely, because he’s “too old to be doing this,” more critically approachable. Though the lyrics to “Walk On Water” may note that he may not believe it, Eminem’s indeed a Jesus-like “Rap God” who can walk among the “scribes and Pharisees” and be subject to their derision.

This critical concern makes itself even more apparent in an Uproxx report that notes, “Em is going back to the drawing board to reassess the release of his what will be his ninth solo album. The first step in that process appears to be be distancing himself from ‘Walk On Water,’ the album’s supposed lead single with Beyonce, as Eminem has stopped promoting the song as his lead single. The track debuted at #14 this week on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, a high debut for sure, but a disappointing one on the heels of Beyonce’s first musical appearance since Lemonade, an SNL performance, and a massive rollout.”

By virtue of being a white person, Eminem can’t “add a (metaphorical) motherfucker so the ignant niggas — and yes, this extends to ignorant people of all racial extractions who love hip-hop culture — hear him.” So, his “smart enough to know better” campaign has had a tougher road to navigate insofar as hip-hop fanatics who are entrenched within the culture. However, when it comes to those who are — and yes, after 50 years there are those who are — newly accepting of hip-hop having a place in their existences, it’s a different story. Eminem, because his age allows him to have established pop (meaning, beyond initially hip-hop specific) cultural resonance, stands to gain much in the way of support of the multi-racial, multi-ethnic, Democratic and Facebook adoring anti-Trump #resistance. To that end, somewhere between his instantaneously iconic and Trump-lambasting BET Awards freestyle and Revival’s “new” lead single “Untouchable” which literally starts “black boy black boy, we ain’t gonna lie to you / black boy black boy, we don’t like the sight of you,” the change in tone aligns well with a demographic in line with his age and the nation’s anger best collide for commercial success.




Speaking directly to the aforementioned point, The FADER noted that Eminem’s BET freestyle was “red meat for #TheResistance,” but also noted that, “the rap itself…is bad.” Via their own advertising site, The FADER lists its core demographic as being an 18–34 year old male college attender (note, not necessarily a graduate) earning $40,000 year. In the same FADER piece, it was written that Keith Olbermann, host of GQ’s “The Resistance,” tweeted, “After 27 years of doubts about rap I am now a fan. Best political writing of the year, period. 👏👏👏👏👏 #Eminem2020.” Keith Olbermann is a 58-year old male college graduate, who in 2011 was rumored to be earning $10 million a year on Al Gore’s Current TV. Clearly, numbers and words never lie.


On January 28, 2018, it’s more than entirely possible that 47-year old rapper Jay-Z will make a clean sweep of the Grammy Awards for Song (“4:44”), Record (“The Story of O.J.”), and Album (4:44) of the Year. As well, if there’s any justice, we’ll probably get a performance by Eminem of “Untouchable,” too. In the crowd, marveling at how the depth and scope of expectations for excellence have shifted in hip-hop will be rappers who are half these artists age who will be suddenly confronted with the fact that they now have twice as much to learn about how to succeed and sustain within the genre. Lil Yachty’s right. Because of their age-driven maturity, Jay and Em have everyone from the New York Times to President Trump within a fingertip’s reach, and have likely created 2017’s best and most important rap albums, respectively.

Maybe it’s true that youth is wasted on the young?