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Things Are Tough All Over

Posted at 10:16 AM on March 25, 2008 by Fred Child

This news item caught my eye for several reasons. We hear so much nittering and nattering from Western classical commentators about whether the tradition is dying out...here's a current story from a DIFFERENT classical tradition.

Also...I'm always fascinated by traditionalists getting dewy-eyed about "the good old days" and railing against the new.

I also happen to be quite a fan of Bollywood music. (And if I can work the phrase "singing sensation of yesteryears" into a show, I'll die happy.) And...good for this 89 year-old gentleman for staying in great singing shape!

From "India's national newspaper," The Hindu:

Bangalore (PTI): The young generation of singers lack basic knowledge of Hindustani classical music, laments doyen of Hindi film music Manna Dey.

"Music is not totally out. While some have awareness and knowledge in general, it is lacking among the young singers of today," Dey said.

"There is no knowledge about 'swar' (notes), 'laya' (tempo) and 'tal' (rhythm) among young voices. For this it is necessary that they are guided and trained by good masters," the veteran said.

Dey said good film music is an amalgamation of lyrics and melody, adding "Obscene songs like 'Choli ke peeche kya hai' make a mockery of music itself".

Reflecting on Bollywood music scenario, the singing sensation of yesteryears said the fifties and sixties was the golden era of music while the early seventies had melodious music. The 1998-2008 period saw a lull, but some composers are now composing good music.

When asked which young voices he find good in the wake of changing trends in music industry, Dey showed all likes for Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan.

The 89-year-old classical singer said he still practices for two hours daily. "I also believe in good health and being physically fit," he added.

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