We all remember his affiliation with The Beatles, but Ravi Shankar stood on his own as a legend. He was a giant in the field of Indian Classical music, having toured the world several times before establishing the pop music affiliation.
Raga Ramkali (1964)
Indian classical music to this day is just as mysterious as it has ever been. With it’s varying rhythmic quality and ethereal nature, there is an air of unpredictability that cannot be encapsulated into the standard, Western sensibilities of 4/4 timing. The music never gets old, because it is timeless. It was that quality which attracted luminaries of the era; with people like Jazz great John Coltrane, David Crosby and even Bruce Lee seeking out the music of Shankar to free themselves from typical, condensed timing structures. In 1965 Coltrane would name his son “Ravi” in honor of Shankar.
David Crosby referred to John Coltrane and Ravi Shankar as “The world’s two greatest living musicians”. It was he who would make the introduction to George Harrison of The Beatles. The affiliation would prove to be a lifelong one, with the duo even touring long after the Beatles broke up. Harrison was even able to convince other members of his super-group to make pilgrimages to India, and embrace the music and culture therein.
Perhaps the “Beatles” most famous, (and my favorite) collaboration with Ravi Shankar.. a rare recording of “Across The Universe” serves to highlight the beauty of completely disparate cultures working together with respect for one another. Shankar was able to contain the seemingly unbridled nature of his classical perspective to enhance the blues chord-laden composition of Lennon/McCartney. George accompanies on guitar. The result was something that to this day gives me a feeling that great things can happen through music.
When I was younger (5th grade) I remember a discussion in music class about a famous Indian musician who played with the greats of the Western world, but he had a heart attack “back in the 70′s”. His name was Ravi Shankar…. and I spent the next DECADE thinking he was dead.
I also devoured every recording I could find with his name on it. Meanwhile he was continuing to record and release great music. The power of the internet allows us to find out what we need to know at a glance. I am happy to now see that this legend received almost every accolade he could during his lifetime, and passed away at the relatively young age of 92. He was also well-loved by everyone whose life he touched. We should all be so lucky.
I am no fanboy for any site, but I am going to answer the number one question I see everyone asking. “HOW do you make any money as a musician these days?” One great answer to this is BandCamp. It’s been out for a while, but people aren’t “getting it” like they should. (Including me)
The #1 Killer Of The Music Industry… PLAY COUNTERS!
A lot of things killed the music industry, but play counters did the most damage. Whoever decided to integrate them into social media probably had the best (greedy) intentions, but what they ended up doing was creating an environment where sheep-minded consumers completely FORGOT about whether they even LIKED a song or not. The value of art is QUANTified now. QUALity does not enter into it.
The current music industry is not about art. It’s about “How many spins it got?”. Musicians’ focus became about getting “spins” rather than creating good music. People are creating all kinds of crap THEY don’t even like for the “spins”. THEN they have the NERVE to expect fans to buy into it? Well they won’t because you aren’t getting enough “spins”… vicious cycle
Random Sheep Thought:
“I liked that song… but no one else does…. maybe it’s not so good after all”
Now there are exploitative business models set to help you FAKE the “spins”, and if you think the majors aren’t using them…. I have a bridge to sell you. The entire music industry is based on fake fans and hype. This is why “superstars” often play to empty rooms… because their “fans” are fake. Indies play to empty rooms because they cannot “fake the fans” as well as the majors. It looks like they have no draw because they only got 250 spins on “YouTube/FakeBook/FkFace”… what have you.
2) BandCamp is a same-day-fulfillment dream come true for a musician with no website. Set up, make music and sell it…. today. Then keep 85%. (NOTE* You need a PayPal and/or bank account) Fans can pay MORE for the songs if they want to! This lets you set up a tiered pricing model with rewards, depending on how much more they pay.
3) Bandcamp went mobile almost seamlessly, while SoundCloud (a true fanboy, circle-jerk website) stumbled through it. YouTube embarrassed themselves (completely changing their coding protocol) leaving millions of empty white boxes all over the net, like so many bastard children.
To make this… or any site worthwhile you need to constantly aim your fan base there. If you make a habit of letting people know they can find you somewhere… That’s where they will go to meet you.
Preview (and purchase) tracks from my new album…. As It’s Built
Think of it like a restaurant.
Will people look for you at McDonalds if you make it a habit of dining at the 4 seasons every morning?
Currently: As you release music, it eventually goes to Spotify… I love Spotify! I have about 200 songs there… but I will never see more than a dime from them. That means I have to stagger my release dates.
SO…For now…expect most of the music I make to be on BandCamp BEFORE it hits regular distribution channels. You might want to do the same.
Does taking a stand against Israel’s actions make you “anti-semitic”?
Or are you so afraid of a false, negative brand that you won’t speak up?
What happens if you speak out against the actions of Hamas?
I suppose that depends on your proximity to them.
This unfortunate scenario vividly demonstrates the politics of extremism. No one is willing to see the humanity in the other side!! So they cannot FIND it in themselves!!
Having a mindset rife with hatred and intractable opinions makes it so much easier to justify the senseless killing…. but who is doing the killing? Who is dying………, while politicians make plans and empty promises?
My favorite post regarding this latest mess: (click to enlarge)
Today’s news about bombing in the West Bank is really beginning to hit home, as pictures of the victims make the rounds.
Images of a burned, destroyed car that apparently held the leader of Hamas are hitting the net….. So are the pictures an anguished father, who worked as a BBC journalist, holding the dead body of his 11 month old son. Do you even CARE what “side” he is on??
As babies are burned to death in war…. one cannot help but to wonder… What are THEIR crimes? This is state-sponsored terrorism on both ends of the political spectrum. People around the world, Jewish, Arabic and otherwise are taking a stand against it.
We must Cease Fire.. and we must Cease to allow these corrupt leaders to continue talking / acting on our behalf. Only then can we find relief from the burdens of THEIR sins.
I asked permission to use the status update above, and this was the response:
I am honoured
Ive been attacked by hamas
Ive also attacked hamas
That brought things into a whole new light for me…. That is no “Armchair Quarterback” talking. It’s someone who has seen it up close, and realizes the futility of it all.
I wanted to re-introduce this track after watching “The Cannibal Warlords of Liberia”, thinking about Chicago streets, and more unrest in the Middle East. It seems CORRUPT POLITICIANS are at the heart of everything. These situations all have that in common.
“Streets Of Hell” was a track I made with Liquid Stranger for his Arcane Terrain project. It started off as this aggressive kind of Dubstep. Somehow he got the idea that Reggae Dub would be a better fit, and remixed his entire album in a matter of weeks. (Don’t doubt the mad skillz) It stayed at Beatport Reggae’s Top Ten for more than a year.
Anyway, this song was eventually remixed into “Vigilante” which was..OK… but this was my original vision…. Aggro, Anti-Gun-Violence anthem.
In the West we really have no concept of how others are living around the world. Adolescent heroin addicts, child soldiers, underage sex workers… abound in Liberia, a country the United States set aside for slaves returning to Africa.
The thing is the slaves didn’t just return. They brought their slave mentality with them. The end result is what we have today. Can things be any different anywhere in the world? What’s to stop YOUR city streets from becoming this way if you let YOUR mind become enslaved?
Me a tell you fi real..
It’s like The gun man out a road a shot down the innocent people all the while.
Me nuh wan rush to judgement you know? But still, if dem nah have no regard
fi de innocent only one way fi deal with dem. Send dem straight down a Hell
Gun Man Search For Glory, People dem feel the pain
Life in the wrong direction, Everyone else to blame?
In judgement you stand before me, You nah see the morning light
I am sending you to tell your story, Inna the streets of hell tonight
Corrupted politician next to go. People dem fi carry heavy load.
Tell me if a better way to roll. Don’t really want to know
BANG … Run It…
A so we stay. This is the retribution episode
Think you hard? In that regard you’re not alone, but nobody want civilian terror zone.
Devil we a go send you home.
Take up your cause, plead the case to the Vampire jury. Feel the fury.
Executioner future waiting.
Gunman report to the Vigilante Gun Court. I’d rather peace inna the streets.
The corrupted official and the money dem shouldn’t accept it.
The life of innocent dem should not take it…. check it.
I recently made a post about going to the polls dressed as a Black Panther, speaking in a thick African accent… or some craziness I described. Most people saw it for what it was. A JOKE.
Really, I went to the polls with my kids, voted (even for a few Republicans) and went home to cook dinner (yaaawwn); Meanwhile online I was being subjected to a LITANY of verbal assault from several conservative, racist-trash individuals, who although they are NOT even connected to me on social media… (Thanks Facebook Security) all read the post and decided they should “pray for me and my children”, because “I’m what’s wrong with this country today”…… you insolent SWINE.
Ultimately they removed their posts… COWARDS.
Just to show you all I am NOT afraid of any of you… I wanted to give you my current snapshot of AMERIKKA in 2012, as I see it. In fact, to commemorate Barack Obama’s 2nd election, and ALSO in the hopes that we can finally get this shit right, let’s put EVERYONE ON BLAST today!
The Top Two DREGS Of Society Right Now
RACIST WHITE MALES:
Beyond your WHITE vote, Mitt Romney does not give TWO SHITS about you; nor does Barack Obama. If your only worldly possessions are a bloodhound and a shotgun, There IS NO MONEY for the government to take from you! I have more news for you. The only reason your makeshift, meth lab has not been raided is because the ATF is afraid of blowing the entire trailer park sky high.
All you guys in the boardrooms, If you’re wondering to yourself… Am I a racist? I will tell you the one dead giveaway. If the only two emotions you feel on a daily basis are: 1. Fear and 2. Anger, then Congratulations… You Are The Oppressor.
SELLOUT BLACK MALES:
Are you out of your G*Damn mind? Pissed off at George Zimmerman but shooting up your OWN neighborhood? The few of you who ARE employed will KISS the WHITE MANS ASS one day, and then BEAT THE HELL out of a Black Woman on the next. Check YouTube for the evidence. Every time Whitey had a slave whipped, that whip was swung by YOUR Boot Lickin’, “Step ‘N’ Fetch It” azz… You did the dirty work while “boss” drank lemonade in the shade.
Fast Forward to 2012 and things have not changed one bit…. “Gangsta”. Got your GUN out to shoot-a nigga? Ridin’ Dirty to go make more babies you won’t support? 47 years old under house arrest at your grandmothers place…. working on that RAP album with no other form of income; Keepin’ it REAL, huh Dawg..?
P.S. If she’s a Hood Rat, it’s because of how you have treated / neglected her. ESPECIALLY if you are her father.
………Who’s Almost There?
While the debate over whether you BELONG in the USA rages, here’s something to consider.. THIS IS YOUR G*DAMN country!! You were here FIRST! You are the Native Americans who crossed the Bering Straight! This is why I support naturalization. The problem is that the ESTABLISHMENT has been against your progress, and far too many of you think that by hating Blacks, you’ll SOMEHOW be accepted by Whites… Scroll up to see how that turns out.
So many Latinos are hard working citizens whose children are poised to become true leaders in society, while a few have become ruthless wannabe drug lords #nobueno
They Play Us Against One Another
In the U.S.A. while the Super-Rich, FACIST press corp pretends that there is some war with Blacks, Whites and Latinos… Blacks right now are in a CIVIL WAR. Whites are beginning to see the game for what it is. The Latino community has also become more educated, cultured and vibrant. We need to stand strong and resist what has happened with class warfare in the past; continue the progress we have made in recent years and move away from the streets, into the colleges.
David Bowie/Nine Inch Nails – I’m Afraid Of Americans
Who’s Getting It Right In America?
Many of the top Singers, Rappers, Dancers and Actors right now are of Asian decent. But THEN AGAIN, so are many of the top STUDENTS. What’s the big difference you ask? Asian parents are USUALLY in the picture!! These kids by and large will never disrespect their parents. Their parents in turn HELP THEM to become whatever they want to be… then their COMMUNITY supports them! If it’s anyone close to living the “American Dream”…. it’s people from Asia.
You should know first of all that most Reggae singers do not give a damn about what consenting adults do in their bedroom. Also the way I feel about it, you should be able to marry your fkn CAR if you want to. Personally I have LOVE IN MY HEART for every human being… (From the waist down I deal with strictly ladies, but hey.. that’s MY thing.) Respect MY boundaries / I’ll respect YOURS! Also anyone at my concerts/parties/etc. have a problem with gay people being there… I would rather THEY leave instead. BULLIES ARE NEVER WELCOME.
WOW… Did you EVER Kick Mitt Romney and his cohorts IN THE BALLZ for 2012!! Many women I spoke to were on the political fence over the economic issues facing this country, and rightfully so. If the presidency were a purely financial argument I would want a multimillionaire to run things also… but it’s not is it? The minute Republicans started in with their “Religious Caveman Approach to Modern Motherhood”, it was all downhill from there. You showed them exactly who the hell is BOSS.
It’s HAPPENING!! Starting with COLORADO, Marijuana is slowly becoming LEGALIZED, which is GREAT for the economy! So many JOBS will be available now because you guys will NEVER take your baked-out asses to work on time Let’s not even TALK about the financial boon to the “snacking industry”! AND the air is thinner…….. I might just quit all this, and open up a chain of 7-11′s in Boulder somewhere.
America’s New Gold Rush… A bag of Doritos at 10,000 ft…!
I could go on, but you get the point.
Of course, like every rule has an exception: for every shining example within a community there are complete and utter disappointments (and vice verse). What we need to do is learn how to live together as a PLANET! Your heart has GOT to expand beyond the borders of your country, rise above the color of your skin. There is no such thing as YOUR OWN KIND! See every living thing as a part of you. This is how you embrace The Universe and grow closer to GOD… NOT by dividing.
Get it together and do not question MY wisdom, Heathens.
How can we stay like this? How can we remain elated, proud to overcome the damn near impossible situations life throws us as a people? What event can make us so happy that we’ll stop aiming guns at each other? Perhaps if there were to be a Black president elected… every …week…?
This is footage from 2009, the first time Barack Obama won the presidency. Since then statistics of Black on Black crime/murder have risen dramatically. In the city of Chicago Black people are shot and killed on an almost daily basis… by their “own kind”.
Why then does the specter of racism get us so riled up?
If YOU are not going to take advantage of the examples/opportunities that have been given to you, why do you even care about someone else saying the N*Word? Every time we hear or even think someone is a Republican, we know in our SOULS that they HATE BLACK PEOPLE… right?
I am going to tell you the GOD’S truth…. AGAIN.
True Republicans do not give a FLYING FK what color you are. They are greedy, super-rich elitists doing the best they can to NOT have their money “socialized”… meaning taken from them by the government, usually by way of taxes…. That’s it.
In order to throw you off that trail, what they have done is incorporate the most divisive, hot-button issues into their platform, because they need to build their numbers. The easiest way to get poor people to do the fighting FOR you: Create a PRIVILEGED CLASS. Treat them just a LITTLE better… and they will form your FRONT LINE on the chess board/battle field. People have been divided by race, religion, sex, preference in this manner, since the beginning of the industrial revolution.
Americans have gone so crazy fighting one another over these DISTRACTIONS that they fail to recognize the Divide And Conquer tactics of CLASS WARFARE.
Another very effective form of class warfare is to FINANCIALLY REWARD the least qualified of the bunch; Jersey Shore cast, Honey Boo-Boo, ANY given “gangsta” rapper who really CANNOT rap, but whose music sends the desired (destructive) message. Everyone else, in their rush for financial security, will emulate these same people. This is counter-intelligence at its finest. It keeps your mind occupied, while the extremely rich are busy subverting the economy.
GOD I hope I don’t get another cyber attack for posting this. The last cyber attack was when I made fun of Rick Santorum.
Anyway, as Big Dan T said in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”.. One of my favorite movies of all time… “It’s all About the money, Boys!!!”
End of October 2012: Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in the USA. New Jersey, New York and some surrounding states were just hit with possibly the worst storm in their recorded history. Meteorologists have dubbed Sandy as “FrankenStorm”. People are referring to various doomsday prophecies. I am seeing social media updates cite the mis-information commonly spread by political parties, regarding global warming/alignment. In addition to all this, no matter what happens in this world, there will also be those absolutely convinced… that GOD did it. Who gets to be right on this one?
One interesting phenomenon also occurs with cataclysmic situations such as this. The closer you get to Ground Zero the more people band together. Catastrophe certainly brings out the best in Americans. This is what I want to address… Quite simply, why do we need THAT? Is it possible under normal living conditions for us to maintain a healthy respect for the next person?
New York, being no stranger to chaos, will eventually rebound and become the thriving metropolis it always has been. The process will offer the residents quite a bit of time in reflection. City officials, so ready to dole out brutality to Wall Street protesters now know the real definition of “public nuisance”. The subway and transit system is crippled indefinitely in a place that relies heavily on it. Many differences will have to be put aside in order to rebuild, but New York will do it. How soon will it be though, before they go back to the business of fighting one another?
Meanwhile other parts of the world that were hit by Hurricane Sandy have been largely left out of the headlines. Their economy and media coverage do not provide opportunities for such speedy recovery. In such an environment you will commonly see lawlessness run rampant. This storm however, is now a shared experience with them. While so many social media status updates send “thoughts and prayers” to the East Coast of the U.S., let us not forget Jamaica, Cuba, The Bahamas and the island (Hispaniola) politically divided into Haiti/Dominican Republic.
The human spirit is not contained by man-made borders. When we begin to see EARTH as Ground Zero we won’t need tragedy to define us.
Things may not be going the way you want them to. I won’t patronize you by listing them. Let’s just suffice it to say that PERHAPS great opportunities are not coming your way. As a musician I am NO STRANGER to disappointment, but I have learned through the years to tell myself: Next time will be better. Next time usually is.
This is simply because I accept that it COULD be. Nothing more. That simple affirmation works in a myriad of situations. If I were to list them, that list would go here. Changing circumstances requires you to be almost irrational. I constantly ask myself “How do you WANT this to go?”, then I only concentrate on my expectations.
When you ignore EVERYTHING else; all the well-meaning advice, all the indications to the contrary, you will move in your chosen direction. Whatever you focus on, good or bad, it draws you in like gravity. The sun has more gravitational pull than the moon, simply because it’s bigger. Thoughts work in the same way.
Unforeseen situations aside, the main reason most things come your way is because of the amount of time you spend concentrating on them. This concentration makes you aware of more instances, further re-affirming your beliefs.
I remember as a kid my parents bought a car I really hated (Ford Escort). I would suddenly start to notice how many OTHER cars there were like that one. Soon it would seem like EVERYONE had that same car, I would be seeing it so much; but the number never changed. It was just my awareness of it. Every time I saw it I thought about how much I HATED Ford Escorts.
Thinking about it now, I’ll be DAMNED if the first two cars I owned weren’t BOTH FORD ESCORTS… A fixed picture in your mind changes your awareness. Soon enough it changes your circumstances.
One of the hottest stories going around the world of music today is that of Sixto Rodriguez. He was the son of Mexican migrant workers who made their way to Detroit. Sixto had a flair for songwriting which could be described as almost Dylan-esque… but there was already a Bob Dylan.
Rodriguez would release 2 full length albums that were met with critical acclaim, but did not sell at all… in the United States… Unbeknownst to him he had a legion of fans in South Africa, where his counter-culture songs about fighting political oppression held great meaning.
Upon hearing about this story, I got several things from it:
1) Music is a universal language.
Rodriguez is Mexican-American from Detroit who received his first taste of artistic validation from progressive Whites in South Africa during the Apartheid regime. It really is a dizzying concept.
2) Not every white person in South Africa was Pro-Apartheid.
In the USA the divisive media had us believing the entire country of South Africa was pro-Apartheid; while in fact there was a huge counter-culture movement going on, comprised of several races.
3) Ultimately the public decides who gets to be a star, not the critics.
I mentioned in another blog post recently. Roger Corman said “Ultimately the public is the greatest arbiter of your work”. That means a lot to me, because I do not quote people very often.
4) It’s all about how you end up
Rodriguez has spent the last 40 years in relative obscurity, working day labor as a demolition man. He had no idea about his massive fan base, but now he is reaping the rewards.
5) The whole world is not wrapped up in the United states marketing machine
Americans must liberate themselves from corporate mental slavery. Until Rodriguez found mass market validation in Africa no one here touched him. Even when it did start to work, his promotions had to be staged properly for us to finally “get it”.
I am sure this is not the last we’ll hear of Rodriguez. I also am hoping many other artists emerge like this.
I don’t speak on it much, but I have a theory; that In the absence of ECONOMY, only ANARCHY rules.
This is why turmoil has:
1) Increased in direct proportion to the growing financial crisis
2) Seemingly been contained within CERTAIN areas
The prevalence of gun violence in Chicago seems to be a direct result of financial warfare against a certain group of people. The Black community has been under siege ever since the days of slavery, but economic tactics seem to be most effective. These tactics have caused the community to turn on itself.
Meanwhile in other parts of the city members of ethnic groups that have warred with one another overseas for thousands of years (Jews vs. Muslims vs. Hindus) live side by side, with few incidents, in a thriving market (Devon Area).
Chicago Crime Map (Devon Area Circled) / Click For Latest Updates
In short, a working economy gives people something else to think about besides killing one another. Take that away and you get the situation we have here today. If you were to put a thousand fish in a bowl and drain the water out slowly, how would the fish act? Would they be civil towards one another?
This explains the situation in Chicago, and any “ghetto” around the world. We MUST see to it that the people around us are empowered FINANCIALLY and EDUCATED. We must also realize that these types of social experiments by nature will NOT remain contained within their chosen areas! It is in EVERYONE’S best interest to work for the betterment of the human race overall.