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My music collection is an eclectic mix of songs from regions all around the globe. I don’t really know how it all started, but there I was (here I am!) listening to songs of different genres, in different languages (which I don’t speak, please note) and quite thoroughly enjoying myself.

I remember when my friend Sandhya and I were traveling in an auto-rickshaw up the slope of a mountain in Nuwara Eliya, the auto driver started playing Hindi songs. After all we had come from India. ‘Noooo!‘ I said, and so did Sandhya. The man was taken aback at our reaction. Probably he hadn’t faced anything similar from previous customers. But then, we were a different kind, weren’t we? Not the ones who’d want to listen to the same old music we could, and did, back home when we could well acquaint ourselves with music of the region we were in. At least that had been my thought and I was pleasantly surprised to note Sandhya thought the same too.

Accordingly we asked the man to play some Sinhalese songs. He obliged, and the rest is history… umm I mean, now I have a collection of Sinhalese songs in my repertoire as well. So, I was pretty much happy when the strains of a song in an unfamiliar language filled my ears from the speakers in the coach we traveled for sightseeing during the recently concluded Mauritius trip. I was just settling myself into the music when a voice from the back of the bus spoke up.

Excuse me, said a female voice in loud tones. Can we have some Hindi songs?

The tour guide immediately obliged, such was the no-brooking-of-any-opposition tone of the voice. From then on, till the week got over, it was Hindi songs each and every single day. Why didn’t I speak up, you ask? Yeah, good question. I have been asking myself the same too. To me, the answer seems to be that I knew I was in a sad and dismal minority, a lone voice in a sea of pro-Hindi (or The Familiar and/or the Tried and Tested) ones, so had given up without trying to resist. I know, rather shameful, right?

I am amazed at how many people won’t venture out of their comfort zone to check out something new (and umm… how many others won’t raise an objection!) Anything other than what they have been used to is a no-no. How the heck can we even hope to understand each other if we are not willing to try out something new? Anyways, I have not been idle since getting back and have been familiarizing myself with some morisyen music on YouTube. May be soon I will be adding a couple of them to my list too.

As of now, apart from songs from the different states of India, I also have songs from Ecuador (no, never been there, it is courtesy Sam, a friend on Facebook), Iran, Turkey, Russia, China, Japan, France, Ethiopia, Greece, Mali, Lebanon, Spain, Cambodia, Pakistan (Coke Studio songs from Pakistan are to die for), Nigeria… it goes on. Following the Worldstream World Music page on Facebook helps discover new songs. In addition, some wonderful people share wonderful songs on their updates on Facebook (By the way, that’s another point in favor of Facebook in my books), opening up your horizon to new songs, unknown genres.

Throat singing, for example. What did I know about throat singing till a friend shared a video on Facebook? Zilch. Nothing. Nada. And on listening to it, I fell for it like a ton of bricks. Nah, more like a mountain of bricks. Here it is for your listening pleasure.

Tuvan throat singing, Khoomei, Hooliin Chor (in Mongolian, ‘throat harmony’), or Mongolian throat singing is one particular variant of overtone singing practiced by people in Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, Tuva and Siberia. (From Wiki)

©Shail Mohan 2017