[sixties-l] Mr Tambourine Man's Indian connection

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Fri May 25 2001 - 15:26:13 EDT

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    Mr Tambourine Man's Indian connection

    By Sumit Bhattacharya

    NOMINATED for the Nobel Prize in Literature, compared
    to Rimbaud and Baudelaire, voice of anti-Vietnam War
    protesters, father of 'folk rock', the enigmatic Bob
    Dylan turns 60 on Thursday, May 24, 2001. From being
    the young prophet who proclaimed Times they
    are-a-changing to a revolutionary figure in rock 'n'
    roll to a recluse shying away from public attention,
    he has influenced a generation to whom his songs sing
    of their hopes, fears, dreams and emotions. And the
    singer-songwriter holds a special place in the hearts
    of Indians too, proof of the universality of his work.

    Sharmadip Basu, a student of JNU who is headed for
    Iowa State University to do his PhD on 'The Sixties
    movement and its impact on the Indian youth' states,
    "We grew up with Dylan's songs. From Mr. Tambourine
    Man to Idiot Wind, I know all his songs by heart."
    Varuni Bhatia, another student, echoes his sentiment.
    "Dylan's music influenced the way we think. When I
    first heard My Back Pages, I felt like he was singing
    my feelings."

    But Dylan's Indian connection goes deeper than just a
    devoted fan following. He has recorded in the past
    with Purna Das Baul, a prominent Bengali folk singer.
    Suman Chattopaddhyay, the Dylan-imitator who spawned a
    whole new genre of Bengali music has even translated
    some of Dylan's songs.

    But it's not just the Bengali 'intellectuals' who have
    embraced Dylan's music. This year, Mumbai is all set
    to celebrate his birth anniversary with a concert
    featuring jingle-giants Louis Banks and Gary Lawyer.
    Word has it that the pop diva Suneeta Rao will sing a
    few Dylan numbers as well!

    The capital, not to be left behind, will have its own
    Dylan anniversary celebrations including a
    strum-a-Dylan-song gig at Greater Kailash, besides a
    host of Dylan nights at restaurants and pubs.

    Shillong, the idyllic little mountain town has been
    having a Dylan birthday concert every year for almost
    a decade now, with Lou Majaw, leader of the erstwhile
    band Great Society being a prominent feature. "It's a
    great experience," quip Orko and Vaishali Basu,
    advertising professional and college lecturer
    respectively. The recently married couple are
    Shillong-bound to sing along to Bobbie's immortal

    Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, burst on to the
    New York music scene with a trademark nasal voice,
    harsh harmonica stabs and ever-strumming guitar. He
    became the spearhead of the 'protest' singers and
    predecessor to Woodie Guthrie, his own idol.

    How many seas must the white dove sail, before she
    sleeps in the sand? The answer my friend is blowing in
    the wind. and A hard rain's gonna fall - sang a
    generation disillusioned with war and the American
    dream. At the peak of his near idol status as a
    protest singer, Dylan was already breaking new ground.
    Shattering his image as a gently strumming protest
    singer, he performed at the Newport Folk Festival with
    a full electric band, shocking folk music puritans.
    But then, Bobbie Dylan was never one to let the boos
    and the jeers of the crowd deter his own creative
    juices, and he went on to become the pioneer of 'folk
    rock', influencing all major artistes of his time,
    including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles,
    to name just a few.

    With his words still making people think, artistes
    still covering his tunes, scholars still studying his
    lyrics and people still buying his records, Dylan
    spends a quiet life these days. Occasionally bringing
    out albums, touring with his band and making cameo
    appearances in award ceremonies, his wit and cynicism
    still evinced in trademark caustic remarks. While
    receiving the Grammy for lifetime achievement, he
    said, "When I was young, my father said..." (pause)...
    "well he said a lot of things."

    Strum on Mr. Tambourine Man, and we Indians will
    surely 'come following you'.

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