Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Natty na gwaan so
February 1, 2010

I heard this song in the mat this morning and I couldn’t help laughing. It’s one of those songs that people expect me to know, because I have dreads. It’s also one of those songs that makes people smile cheekily when they hear anyone sing it.

The first time I heard it on Kiss FM, I only caught the hook, and since it’s pretty catchy, I just went right on hooking at the appropriate points. But then for some reason I started to listen to the actual lyrics, and, well, let’s just say I didn’t stop blushing for a long time.

Like many ragga songs, it has layers that are only hidden by inflection. I remember my cousins telling me why they switched from rap to ragga. Their mum banned rap for it’s inappropriate lyrics. So they switched to a genre where their mum could look at them in utterly blissful ignorance as they sang …

Ee-all vee-a-jin pu-ta-pu-no-and

I can’t say I’m a fan of ragga per se, I just like the beats and the cleverness of the lyrics. I mean who can help giggling as they listen to the words of the injection song, the drivers’ licence or the broomstick song, or even the mango tree song? Really now, those songs are not talking about fruit, documents and household appliances.

That diwali beat is pretty cool too, even though to a true ragga fan, saying I like Sean Paul is like telling a rock chick you’re into Katie Perry.

Now, would someone tell me who sang Natty na gwaan so and what the hook actually says, because I’ve typed this phrase on google [along with the snippets of lyrics that I can decipher … something about a girl on code red, and a kiss and a head…] and have come up with nadda.

Natty na gwaan so

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The joy of headphones
December 17, 2009

It’s that time of month when I get cravings for sugar and … other things … and when my face breaks out. Meh. I have got to find a way to fix that. The cravings I can handle, the skin problems, not so much.

So I’m sitting in my room with the lights off and my headphones on high. Also, some e-books from the pretty boy that I adore. Thank God for sweet guys.

About those headphones.

I have heard people sing with headphones.

Hehehehehe.

I always assumed the reason they sounded so … tortured … was because they can’t quite carry the melody. Like those people who try to sing you a famous song [and they will even tell you its name and artist], but you still have no clue which one they mean coz the tune is … well, it just isn’t there!

Or being serenaded by a teenage boy. Not the pretty castrato type, I don’t mean those. I’m talking about the regular my-voice-is-breaking type that vascillate between ‘sexy’ inaudible mumbles and frightfully girly squeaks.

Also, really, anyone singing Halo and sounding like a strangled cat has to be at least partially tone deaf, right? Can’t blame them entirely though, coz those modulations and ad libs can get tricky!

But I love to sing, and I do it fairly well. So when I’m getting some headphone therapy, I sometimes take said headphones off for a few seconds while I sing, so I can listen to my level of, you know, [strangled] catitude. Of course I sound fine, and conclude that my, er, singing, is bothering no one.

So here I am, singing along to Justin Timberlake’s ‘What goes around comes around’ as I read my e-book and wham! It hits me. It’s not about tone at all!

Well actually, it sort of is.

See, I assumed that the reason for headphone-itis is that you can’t hear yourself, so you can’t tell when you’re off key. Or, alternately, with songs in rock or Beyoncé … without the instrumentals or the ad lib, they just sound wrong. Try singing Naked Eye with the guitars & drums on mute and you’ll see what I mean.

Consider as well that many modern songs are more like, you know, chants. Every line sounds the same. Think Monica-Brandy boy is mine. Or Savage Garden-Truly, madly deeply. Take away the [instrumental] track and you basically have people droning. It’s not even real talking, coz there’s no inflection. Transcribing these songs into solfa is torturously dull. Believe me, I had to do it for music class.

But the true cause of headphone-itis is pitch.

Let’s face it, we’re no Justins on Mariahs. So while we may all be very good with the actual tune, it’s not quite so easy to jump between the high and low parts.

For example. What goes around. In the verses, his voice is kind of low and mournful. I believe the right term would be weepy.

Then in the chorus, he totally changes and goes all whinny.

Result being, I sing the verses an octave higher just so I can keep up, then when I get to the chorus, I can sing in my normal baby voice.

And of course it’s worse with the harmonies, since you will start out singing lead, then jump to the back-up then back to lead … and with true rock songs, you can actually sing the guitar.

Think 911 by Wyclef Jean and Mary J. You start out singing Wyclef’s part, then you jump to Mary’s part, and by the time you get to the pweo-pweo-pweo guitar part, anyone watching is thinking ‘Please God, just shoot me now!’

Now, this all sounds fine to you, you have an in-speaker orchestra.  But the person outside just hears rumble-rumble-rumble-squeak-squeak-tenenenene-bam-kaPow!

Hence, headphone-itis.

But but but…

… it’s just so fun!

Go on, grab some headphones. You know you want to…

♫  AwenaKassim

I just love the way he whines ‘penzi langu hulihitaji Awena-a-a-a-a-a-a … kipenzi changu Awena-a-a-a-a-a-a-a’ Then the instrumentals tu-lu-lu-lu-lu and the humming at the end na-na-na-na-na…

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*Sniff sniff*
October 24, 2009

That is all.

CavatinaStanley Myers

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In this moment I am happy. Yay!
October 21, 2009

The first key to the law of attraction is to follow your bliss. i.e. find things that make you happy. Many many many things. Feel good and good things will come to you.

Right now, I feel good.

Come here you good things you *cheeky grin*

This could probably have gone on twitter, yes? Looks about 140 characters long. Oh well 🙂

Why can’t I stop grinning?

Haiya Harry Kimani

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Twighap number γ: At the office
October 17, 2009

So a good friend of mine is trying to introduce me to the classics. Or more specifically, to the gymnastic power of the classics. My dabbling is restricted to Vivaldi, SSQ and Water Music. The Messiah is good too, I sang those in school.

Also, I have difficulty listening to extended sessions of wordless music. It’s like meditation – the mind drifts. So while I enjoyed singing ‘All we like sheep’ and I adore the canon and Vivaldi’s 3-minute piece in A minor, it’s excruciatingly … well … excruciating, to have to listen to an entire Concerto. I mean an entire concerto! That’s like two hours of nothing but strings!

That said, my week has been spent fighting with torrents and skiving the inevitable *cough*cough*candy* that comes on the homepages … **shudder** … Which attests to the affection I have for my good friend The Introducer aka K6.

For days the file wouldn’t torrent. At first I thought it was blocked ports, but I realised it was blocked brains, specifically, mine:

You are about to start a torrent … *gibberish gibberish* … will continue to upload … **more gibberish ** … to other users … **pretty html text** … stop manually. Are you sure you want to do this?

Yes.

Use default utorrent or Opera?

Opera.

**blink blink**

For we the unitiated, when you’re starting a torrent, it is generally a good idea to use default utorrent, coz, you know, it has the word ‘torrent’ in it. And yes, it is blonde to stare at the resultant Opera download transfer page and wonder why it isn’t doing anything.

Long story short, I got my Rachmaninov. Piano Concert No. 3 in D Minor, op 30 – III Finale Alla Breve [3rd Movement] has some funky bits, notably the first two minutes, and similar motifs between minutes 3 and 5, 9 and 11, and somewhere around minute 13. Plus, I have to say, its last two minutes is some good baby-making music. Fast, racy, authentic buildup, the perfect soundtrack to *almost there* Me like.

The rest belongs in a TCM movie. Or maybe that’s where I heard it. Now generally, I like TCM movies, but music that belongs in a TCM movie, to me, is like a musical. I love music, I love dancers, I love movies. But I don’t like them together. I have major issues with people dancing when they should be walking, singing when they should be talking, and using words in the one place you’d rather hear melody. Like, say, in the shower.

Hence, I don’t much like opera except on CD or radio. Or on my PC. That goes double for Bollywood. Except for the Indian Fist Jig. Rules, exceptions, whatwhat.

Also, I totally dig Michael Nyman. Especially the 69 different versions of the piano theme [The promise, The sacrifice, sth to do with talking hearts … same motif, different expression]

Oh wait, I forgot the office part.

Well, I discovered Microsoft Office 2007. Preeeetty!

And Twiggy forgot to reinstate my password when the domain crashed, leaving me with missing t’s, crossed IPs, and a PC that can only log in as admin.

On the upside, I have partial admin privileges … mwehehehehe. And he even gave me permission, so yay!

And why are my neighbours listening to Carmen sounding like Miley Cyrus?!

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All the above
September 17, 2009

I don’t particularly like Tpain. There’s something vaguely annoying about him and Lil Wayne and Lil Romeo and Lil Bow Wow and anyone with Lil initial in their stage name. Never mind that my own stage name is CB … and that this is a classic case of kettles and pots and lack of colour *grin* The point is, I don’t much like Tpain.

But when I heard this song some months back, I liked it. I didn’t know anything about it except that it had Tpain and there was a word in it that sounded like ‘love’. I was trying to tell my brother about it, since we share DNA and a mutual disaffection for Tpain.

I have Musical OCD. I get a song into my head and play it over and over and over until, well, until I don’t want to play it over and over and over. My song of the week is this one.

All the above by Maino ft Tpain

Released: February 17, 2009
Recorded: 2009
Genre: Hip hop
Length: 5:19
Label: Atlantic
Producer: Just Blaze and Nard & B

I haven’t been this excited since I discovered Rihanna’s Umbrella and Justin’s What goes around.

Being me, I played the song in the background about fifty times before I started to wonder exactly what it was about the song that made me like it so much. So I sat up and actually listened to it. I got lifted, literally, and I can’t stop smiling. This song is like 6 months old, I first heard it around May, and it’s getting lots of airplay here, so I’m wondering why nobody seems to know in +254.

There’s lots of things I like about it. One, it’s music, as in actual music, like Alicia keyes or Coldplay type music. When I say music, I mean notes and tunes and motifs.

Like, for example, if you listen to Alicia Keyes’ Kharma, you will hear that when she sings “what goes around comes around” the music actually does a round. You can almost see it spin.

And when she says “what goes up must come down”, the music follows. Listen and to it again and you’ll see what I mean. The effect is called … well I forget what’s it’s called … tonal painting, I think, that sounds vaguely familiar from all those lessons with Waks. Also there was a word like mellisma in there somewhere, but I forget.

Another example of ‘music’ is Swallowed in the Sea by Coldplay. I have no idea what that song is about, but it is so rich and evocative and layered that every time you listen to it, you hear something new. You will catch some new beat or sound or instrument that you hadn’t heard before. It’s haunting, absorbing, and utterly beautiful.

Anyway, this song has that same quality of music. It’s layered. It starts with this staccato violin theme for eight bars or so, then you hear a keyboard, possibly a clavinova or some kind of electric piano. Then you hear the same keyboard theme [hehehe tune] but an octave lower.

Then you get to the hook and the drums come in, beautifully syncopated and reminiscent of Timbaland. It’s at that point that I checked for the producer’s name. No, it’s not Timba.

As the song goes on, the layers are alternated so that sometimes you hear all four layers, sometimes only three or two, and every few bars you catch variations of the main motif or one-off mini-ideas.

There’s even an ornament somewhere in verse three. It’s like some kind of modern-day fugue! I’m guessing this Just Blaze guy is classically trained. It’s amazing!! I think this track [i.e the background music, not the lyrics themselves] is the kind of thing Mozart or Haydn would come up with if they were reincarnated at Atlantic Records and restricted to four minutes.

At the end it’s  got some electric guitar riff that gives the song an almost rockish feel, excuse for some air guitar if the air drums don’t already have you high. I notice a lot of hip hop artists are using this, right from Luda’s Rock Star to Lil Wayne & that Kevin guy’s Let it Rock. I’m thinking maybe rock is in now?

I also like the way they play around with the vocals, with these soulful chanty harmonies. I like chants. I’m actually partial to anything that lets me yodel along. Case in point:

  • Alanis [almost all her songs have a chanterlude]
  • Jewel [who will saa-aave your soul]
  • That Rihanna-TI song [live your life aaaay-aaaay-aaay]
  • Umbrella [-ella-ella-aay-aay-aay]
  • Bon Jovi [have a nice daa-aa-aay]
  • etc etc etc

The lyrics are pretty cool, with Tpain playing Mr Lenny, and some clever rhyming by Maino. It’s got those lines that I like so much and use so often –

When you look at me, what do you see?

I’m on a mission to fulfil my destiny [paraphrase]

There’s some accapella towards the end that is just whoa, if you like that kind of thing. The miracle baby line made me giggle, and the acca-mphasis on “When I think that I can’t, I envision Obama” made me smile. My favourite line is “the new benz is all white, call him John McCain.” Classic!

AND it’s all clean!!!

I can’t believe I’m writing so much about a song.

Oh well, next target, Deliverance by Bubba Sparxxxxxxxx [how many x-es is that name supposed to have?]

Twende kazi.

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Randomness-ness-ness
August 27, 2009

I miss Sheep. It took a while to grow on me, but something about Private Public, General Specific, The Ranting Swede and the Complimentary Ham just make my day.

Throw in some Danger Mouse [Oh Crumbs!], Duckula [Iiiii’ll get it!] and Darkwing Duck [let’s get dangerous!] and I’m in some kind of Valhalla. I could use some kind of Valhalla. I’ll even take the screeching vikings. Yes, I realise this makes no sense, I’m in one of those moods. Hence the randomness-ness-ness.

One of my favourite songs is Get out alive by Three days grace. I’ve no idea what the words mean, but each time I listen, deep inside my head,  I do my skater dance. Fun! When I learn how to skate like a pro, I shall do the routine on ice, and it will be soooo cool.

A few other songs that I love to listen to over and over and over and over and over and…

  • Downfall by Matchbox twenty
  • Unsung hymn by Tracy Chapman
  • First Try by Tracy Chapman
  • Paper and ink by Tracy Chapman
  • Promise by Tracy Chapman
  • Beautiful girl by Matchbox twenty
  • Already Gone by Crossfade
  • Breathing slowly by Crossfade
  • Pure shores by All saints
  • Fire by Krystal Meyers
  • Out of my mind by James Blunt
  • Three wise men by James Blunt
  • Lead sail and a paper anchor by Atreyu [I played this one so often that it got scratched … on my hard drive!! How now?!]
  • Here’s to the night by Eve 6
  • Jet pack by Eve 6
  • Come on by Ben Jelen
  • Fallen by Sarah Mclachlan
  • Going under by Evanescense
  • Wish you were here by Incubus
  • Bitch by Meredith Brooks
  • All your fault by Alanis Morissette
  • Bells of freedom by Bon jovi

Okay clearly, I have a thing for music 🙂 Off to find some audio therapy 🙂

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Ironic … in so many different ways
June 8, 2009

As I shut my eyes and dream. I let the music cleanse me. I let the riffs ring in my soul. And I am sad beyond measure. Let it flow. Take me away.

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
Cuz you’re the only one that I know who’ll keep
them
Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
I know you’ll keep them, and this is what I’ve
done

I’ve been a bad, bad girl for so long
I don’t know how to change what went wrong

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
Cuz you’re the only one that I know who’ll keep
them
Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
I know you’ll keep them, and this is what I’ve
done

I’ve been down every road you could go
I made some bad choices as you know
Seems I have the whole world cradled in my hands
But its just like me not to understand

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
Cuz you’re the only one that I know who’ll keep
them
Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
I’ve been a bad, bad girl

I learned my lessons
I turned myself around
I’ve got a guardian angel tattooed in my heart
She’s been watching over me

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
Cuz you’re the only one that I know who’ll keep
them
Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
I’ve been a bad, bad girl

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
Cuz you’re the only one that I know who’ll keep
them
Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
I’ve been a bad, bad girl

From Missundaztood, P!nk

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