Goodbye Anoop

This recording is in memory of my good friend Anoop who was lost on 13th May 2009. (listen on Soundcloud)

The Deccan Herald in India reported it like this:

35-year-old man from Kerala was found dead on the railway tracks here on Wednesday. The Railway police are yet unable to ascertain if it was case of an accident or a suicide.

The train ran over Anup Adityan, a native of Thrissur in Kerala between the Elagi and Anekal Railway stations in Byapanahalli division limits.

He had booked two private bus tickets from Sangli to Bangalore, and from Bangalore to Thrissur. “It is not clear what he was doing on
the railway tracks. His family members have arrived in the City to collect the body,” said a top GRP official. The post-mortem was completed at Bowring Hospital on Thursday afternoon. The accident would have taken place around 9.30 am, the sources said.

Adityan had just completed his education in London and was keen on setting up an old age home in Bangalore, police added.
It doesn’t tell you anything much about him. He was a bright soul with a good heart but a troubled mind. We mostly talked about art and politics and his indexing of facts and figures was close to photographic memory ability. Up until I met him I hadn’t known Carnatic classical music much beyond one or two names. Anoop opened me up to the richness of the South of India and her traditions when most of what I was listening to was from the Northern tradition of Hindustani.

He set me up with the musicians for this recording which took place around 10 years back. It was with a young singer who went by Vamsi Das (Vamshikrishna Vishnudas) and had a wonderful tone and authority in his voice beyond his years. The songs were a mixture of light classical and folk tunes. We recorded on my mobile setup in the living room and hall of a semi in Maidenhead, England, UK and got the whole record done in a day.
Afterwards when I went to Kerala to record Scale is was he who provided me with contacts and information to insulate the impact of trying to run a studio in the middle of the jungle. He put his name on the line for the crazy foreigner.
The last time I saw him we were lying on the grass looking up at the stars during a suprise warm night for Manchester.
He left his book called ‘An Encyclopedia of Symbols’ that night.
Buy from CD Baby

Goodbye USA

Goodbye UK

Available from all iTunes stores by searching for ‘Vamsi Das’ or ‘Goodbye Anoop’


Death of a friend

I feel compelled to write a little eulogy for my friend who committed suicide – he was found dead on some train tracks in Bangalore a few days ago.

I could hardly believe the mail when I read it but in truth I wasn’t surprised as over the past few years he had went from not being contactable to sending distressing mails to his whole address book. These mails talked of accounting for sins and the mistakes he had made in this life. After some digging I found out that he was on psychosis medication and he had moved back from the UK to India where he was living with his parents.

I first met him in the UK when we were working together on tech projects. He was from Kerala and we soon became friends as a result of our common love of South Indian Carnatic classical music. He was a Brahmin and had clearly been well educated. I remember him telling me how he used to enter quizzes in order to get money for university. He said he was a ‘professional quiz competitor’ and he did well due to his photographic memory. He was erudite on tonnes of topics, unafraid of controversial statements and awkward situations and to top it off he was really funny with it. His grasp of English was better than most English native speakers. He used to tell me I was prone to hyperbole 😉

He hooked me up with a number of musicians in the UK and I recorded a light classical/folk album for him with some leading lights in the UK scene. We did it in his friends living room and it was a great experience. I really must release it.

When I mentioned that I was looking to go out to India to do some music for a few years it was him who advised me to “go to Kerala as it will be safer for you – you won’t be ripped off or hassled as much” He was right. He even helped me with connections in customs in order to be able to take a tonne of music equipment into the country. He opened up his friends in Kerala to me and was very generous indeed.

The last time I physically saw him was when he visited my place in Manchester. He was clutching a book on Symbols and we hung out in the garden under the night sky talking about the stars and life. He told me about how he was sad that the arranged marriage he was due to be involved in fell through. He discussed how difficult it had been living in the UK and that would return to India. He forgot his book of Symbols the next morning and it’s on my bookshelf today.

Near the end he had became obsessed with a variety of cults and suspect philosophies. He was lost to nearly all. I miss him.


Scale by Drongomala for Sale – Press Release and BUY link

Drongomala is set to release his first solo album Scale on Flying Mountain Records. Scale came to life in many locations including Southern India, a Greek island and the UK, before being mixed in the famous Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco – a life-cycle that gives the album a truly border and genre-busting feel.

This exciting new release makes a break from the hyped dynamics of today’s records, taking a particularly strong lead from collaborative performances by some of the top Indian classical musicians in the southern Indian region of Kerala. All is finally unified by Drongomala’s powerful emotive voice and acoustic guitar.

Opening with the fanfare of Rise and Fall the stage is set for the album’s themes of power, love, addiction and disconnection. ‘Be A Bird’ has a Nick Drake influenced mood of gentle introspection, ‘Money’ hosts a broken and bluesy feel reminiscent of early Beck records, ‘Poppy Flower’ phases in and out of focus like a drug dream surrounded by beautiful Santoor playing while ‘Out of Them All’ takes an 808 drum machine and flute for a ride through dreams of gold and the confusion of choices in life. The record is stuffed with jewels.

Drongomala was born in Manchester,UK, to an Irish mother and Scottish father. He spent most of his childhood in broken mining towns in Scotland and on the border in Ireland. Playing in indie rock bands during his teens he led the Scottish band Baby Bartok to great heights before they spectacularly imploded after an appearance on a primetime weekend TV show hosted by the enimitable Jonathon Ross.

After a period of recovery Drongomala went on to work in the drum and bass scene in Edingburgh with turntablists and musicians releasing through compilations and online communities, but soon the double time beats of jungle gave way to the percussive flurry of Indian tabla beats.

Scale is the record that captures Drongomala’s fascination with all things Indian. It is a unique love letter from India – a must for World music fans and a door into Indian music for those who find fusion to be too spicy for their taste.

Track Listing
1 Rise and Fall
2 Be A Bird
3 Out of Them All
4 Fear Is a Tree
5 I Am Me and She Is She
6 Love Is a Lifeboat
7 Money
8 Dig Up Yer Ancestors
9 No Man Is An Island
10 Poppy Flower
11 Stay Before I Go (aalap)
12 Stay B4 I Go
13 Pieces