25 September 2010

Here comes Bollywood!

(Paper label of one of the Bollywood records I bought, with the song title Dil me chupa ke)

I'm so glad that the two 78s records I bought from eBay arrived today, just before the weekend and very much earlier than I expected. The seller, based in India, stated on his eBay page that international delivery would usually take 20 days, but the records came in 10 days.

They are definitely going to be the focus of the micro-soundscape in the Chen family this weekend.

The four songs on the two records I received today are from Aan (आन, pride), a Hindi musical film which features an acclaimed soundtrack of ten songs. Among these four my favourite is 'Dil me chupa ke' (roughly translated as 'Hidden in my heart') sung by the famous playback singer Mohammed Rafi.

Listen to it; it's absolutely fantabulous. It really made my day.

(DVD available on WebMall India)

For those who are interested in what the song is actually about, please refer to the transliterated lyrics and translation, quoted as in Desi Film & Music - Bollywood Songs Lyrics.

Dil Mein Chupake Pyar ka Toofan le Chale
Keeping it secret in my heart, I am carrying the storms of my love

Hum aaj appni mauth ka samaan le chale
today I am carrying the ingredients/power of my death

Mauth ka samaan le chale
Carrying the tools/ingredients of my death

Dil mein Chupake Pyar ka Toofan Le Chale
Hidden in my heart, I am carrying the storms of love

Ha Ha Ha AAA
Mit ta hein kaun dekhiye ulfat ki raah mein
Let's see who gets destroyed in the pathways to love/friendship

Ulfat ki raah mein
in the pathways of love

Mit ta hei kaun dekhiye ulfat ki raah mein
Woh le Chale hein aan to ham jaan le chale
he is taking the oath so I am taking the life/soul

Maut ka Saman le chale
carring the power of death

Dil Mein...
in my heart

Ha Ha Ha AAA
Manzil pe hoga Fasla Kismat ke Khel ka
At the destination there may be distances for the games of destiny

Kismat ke Khel ka
for the games played by destiny

Manzil pe hoga Fasla kismat ke khel ka
Kare jo dil ka khoon wo
He who kills the heart

Meheman le Chale
am Taking that visitor along

Maut ka saman le chale
carrying the tool of my death

Dil Mein...
in my heart

18 September 2010

Our first-ever HMV gramophone at home

Just as a Chinese saying goes, 'Even the cleverest housewife cannot cook a meal without rice (巧婦難為無米之炊),' so I deem that a well preserved and properly serviced vintage gramophone cannot demonstrate its magic capacity of sound reproduction without a 78s record.

Although having long ago finished a doctoral thesis on popular music in 1930s and 1940s Shanghai and still conducting researches on music in the first half of the twentieth centry, I've never thought of having a gramophone at home until about three weeks ago.

Somehow, I was convinced that there should be a gramophone at home. Thus, I place a bid on eBay and won an HMV 101 portable immdiately after returning from the holiday in Britain. The machine arrived in great condition last Friday.

However, I couldn't operate it in the first place. The turntable did 'turn', but no music would come out as I had no records to play. Fortunately, two 78s records I bought from, again, eBay arrived yestday after a long wait.

This morning, while playing a record with my son in my arms stunned by the marvelous talking machine, the image of this most recognised dog in the world surfaced on my mind.

(Image taken from Wikimedia Commons)

Whereas in the painting, on which the HMV logo was based, the dog Nipper was listening to 'his master's voice' coming out through the horn of a wind-up gramophone, at Principle Wei's home, the father and son were watching the magic machine delivering the Hebrew folk song 'Hava Nagila'.

(The vintage Decca 78s produced in the 1940s—the first record purchased in my life and the first one played on this machine at my home)

12 September 2010

We're on VOGUE cover

Fanne was out of town on business for four days and therefore I played single fahter again. She returned home yesterday.

To make up for the family time we had lost when Fanne was away, we went to a department store on Sunday afternoon.

By chance VOGUE was, in association with some makeup brands, holding an event, in which customers who spent more than certain amount of money were offered a professional photo shoot for free.

As Fanne splurged a lot to replenish the empty drawers of her dressing table with tonnes of cleansers, lotions and cream, we were eligible for such a photography service.

So, we're on VOGUE cover (well, actually 'against' VOGUE wall).

03 September 2010

Another tough academic year head

Time flies; it's September 2010, only two weeks away from the new semester. My schedule was so tight during summer break that I just cannot believe I have already had a two-month summer break.

I received an award for the course I offered in Autumn 2009, 'Musical Cultures Around the Globe', the same thing I had received in 2008—'distinguished general education course'.

I was also, probably because of the award, requested to offer the same course in the whole July in certain summer college, organised by my University in collaboration with other twelve universities in North Taiwan. Thus, apart from those from my University, there were some more external students to look after.

All hard work paid off. I received the best score in a course evaluation among all the courses offered at the end of the summer college, and was invited to deliver a speech on teaching skills and course planning to other teachers in a symposium in November.

Immediately after the summer course, I flew back with Fanne and Ronne to Britain for in early August Ronne's christening, and thereafter travelled to Korea in late August to present a paper in a conference for East Asian musics.

After all these summer tasks were completed, I was notified yesterday that the long-promised TWD 2 million grant was finally confirmed (what a bloody long procedure and thus a bloody long wait) and is coming in mid September. The long waiting times once made me so nervous and insecure that at one point I thought the grant had been nullified, when misreading an announcement of certain grant results and not able to spot the project title on the list.

Right, more money is coming and so is more pressure. Since it's an industry-academia collaboration project, we have to work closely with IT engineers and programmers of our industry partner, and at the same time I will be teaching two courses. Moreover, as the grant is for the employment of more research assistants (not funding towards my own salary!), I will be busy producing a lot of contract renewal paperwork near the year end.

Hjckrrh, I don't think I'm ready for all of these.