Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gnu Banned

Oftentimes I find myself comparing life here in London with life there in Colombo, or at least the bits I know about each side. The musical elements of each city are specific qualities I compare frequently what with music being such a big part of my life.

I'm not talking about classical music at all. Sri Lanka is rich with her traditional music and drumming in particular is such a big part of the musical backdrop that I can only compartmentalise it as one of the fundamental differences between the countries. Comparisons would be fruitless, useless and pointless.

No, I'm referring here to good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. Well, not strictly rock 'n' roll but just modern music, the whole band and rock thing, the popular beat combos as Java would call them.

In Sri Lanka and in England I've seen fantastic bands and I've seen totally crap ones, along with pretty much everything in between. But, the main difference is the sheer number of people who play music.

Here there are rehearsal studios all over the show. You can pop into any one of these studios any night of the week and listen to a cacophany of muffled rehearsal sounds wending their way through the not insulated enough walls.

My impression, and correct me if I'm wrong as I'd genuinely like to know, is that in Lanka there are fewer bands, fewer studios, less venues, smaller audiences and of course, smaller people. And frankly, I prefer being involved in the British music scene.

Now don't get me wrong. I prefer the Sri Lankan weather, the Sri Lankan food, the cost of living, Sri Lankan sarongs and many other things. I love that I've been allowed to play a song or two in Barefoot and the Library over the years and that I can genuinaly class some of Sri Lanka's best musicians as friends.

It's the opportunity and spread of music here that I adore and continually feel grateful for. Colombo has a smallish pond of pop / rock musicians, a mix for sure. The talent and variety is there but it's a small pond. London has a vast ocean of the same. The total mix of quality and the huge quantity mean that the opportunities for a strictly amateur but totally passionate average drummer like me can fly at me and hit me when I'm not ready or looking. Which is nice.

And there I was, happily playing a gig with the covers band some time back when the idea of a splinter band came up. There's this girl singer / guitarist you see, well not so much a girl but a woman. She liked my drumming, though I'm used to the whole thing when they use that as a devious way to get me into bed (I wish), there's a great bassist who's keen and the guitarist from the covers band is up for it too.

We had a meeting last week and a chat about what we would each like to do, in terms of gigging, choice of songs and rehearsals. It was quite informal and we've all got the same attitude of giving things a go and seeing how it turns out.

I'm particularly excited at the prospect of playing behind a decent female lead singer and this one of far more of a "rock chick" type than the previous one in Mimosa. She's got that Alanis edgy thing to her which could be fun and also might be scary if she suddenly decides to hate every single man in the world. I don't reckon the last bit will happen though. She also wears a leather jacket, essential for the genuine rock chick image. She's totally passionate about music too.

We decided on five songs to learn and try out at our first band practice, which is scheduled for a couple of weeks' time. They're all quite melodic but with a grooving feel too.

Rehab - Amy Winehouse

Mercy - Duffy

That's not my name - Ting Tings

Sweet about me - Gabriella Cilmi

I kissed a girl - Katy Perry

I think it could be fun.

What do you reckon?


noorie said...


could we listen to? www-ily? (world wide webily. not wiwwiwwiiiillly wonka or willy pecker.)

Anonymous said...

Sweet about me - Gabriella Cilmi (Super)
That's not my name - Ting Tings (cool)
I kissed a girl - Katy Perry (alright)
Mercy - Duffy (don't know)
Amy's rehab certainly wanted as she is depicted by our media! Or is it English media?
Bored in Mountain View....

ViceUnVersa said...

One thing I don't miss here is Colombo's music scene, which while you have been polite, I must say is crap.

I do enjoy London's music scene.
And you never came for 'Flying Carpet'...
Love your song selection.


Good morning!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Noorie - There is no online listening thing yet but I'll let you know if it happens. You'll just have to get yourself over here for a gig in the meantime

KS - My judging is pretty much the same as your's on those. But the enjoyment of playing songs is very different to listening to them.

DD - Good Morning. Please accept my best wishes for the school run.The new band is very much in your neck of the woods. The singer lives in Watford and the bassist is in Amersham so the gigs may be local to you if they happen.

The other covers band has a gig in Chiswick on 4th Dec if you fancy it, I'll email details to you. Sorry couldn't make Flying Carpet as had kid stuff to sort out.

PseudoRandom said...

Wow all those sound cool, except for 'I Kissed A Girl'...maybe it's 'cos it's been played to death on the radio. So has Rehab, I suppose...but I personally think Amy Winehouse is more talented than Katy Perry will ever be. She's not bad though.

As far as Katy Perry goes, I prefer 'Hot n Cold'...but I don't how enjoyable it would be to perform.

I agree with noorie, it would be great to listen! I think lets you upload your own songs...?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Pseudo - In terms of listening kissed a girl and Rehab are my least favourites, but I think playing them will be fun.

The uploading of songs is a good idea but this new band hasn't even rehearsed together yet, let alone recorded anything, so it's a long way off.