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OK Listen! OK Play!

Tracy Chapman, Raghu Dixit, Shankar Ehsaan Loy- and a chance to sample a brand new collection of love songs.

Listen to Vijay Basrur’s recommended love songs, and win an exclusive love album by telling us what your favourite love song is

Every once in a while you come across a business that you want good things for.  It is a business as much of the heart as it is of spreadsheets and turnovers and annual reports. And it is backed by an idea for which the time seems just right. Vijay Basrur’s OK Listen! is one such idea.

A career entrepreneur, Vijay conceived of a platform for Indian Indie artists to sell their music directly to the end consumer- and more importantly to track for themselves how their albums and music were performing. It’s really quite simple. The next time you’re at a college concert grooving to the music of an unknown band, you can find the songs you loved right away and purchase them legally on to your iPod instead of searching for them on dubious Internet Forums. As for the artist, she can guide her listeners to a simple web page from where they can download her entire back catalogue or that one song that they can’t stop humming.

What’s more- both of you know exactly how much of the money you spent on the download is going to the artist herself. No unnecessary margin-eating producers or music labels in the way. Can there really be a simpler more beautiful idea than that?

No wonder that in just 2 years more than 300 artists have signed up with OK Listen! Apart from a legion of happy artists OK Listen can also boast of:

  • Their expertly managed exclusive launch of Raghu Dixit’s Jag Changa- an album that has managed to build quite a bit of buzz around itself.
  • Their exclusive tie up with The Orchard which allows them to help musicians distribute music to all international digital stores iTunes, Amazon, Google Music, Spotify and many more
  • The release of Shekhar Ravijani’s (Of Indian Idol and Vishal and Shekhar fame) Marathi and Telugu singles, symbolic of a growing mainstream acceptance of their model.

More recently, OK Listen! has also started working towards events and live performances to promote new music- with the help of events like Friday with Kiehl’s – monthly intimate concerts by some of Mumbai’s favorite acts

 

With an increasing number of artists speaking out against the hegemony of the big labels, the time is ripe for a smaller more punk player to upset the status quo bringing affordable music back to mainstream and indie listeners, and we hope that OK Listen will do just that!

At My Big Red Bag, we have to confess that we’ve let our music tastes slip a bit. (Our Valentine’s Day List consists of Bono crooning “With or Without You” since 1997 or so). And so we figured that there’s no better person to build a Love Playlist for our readers than Vijay- the brains behind OK Listen.

Here’s what he came up with!

The last three songs  in the list are from Ok Listen’s excellent compilation Love Sings.

And 3 lucky readers can get an exclusive voucher to try Love Sings for free. All you need to do is to tell us your favourite love song in the comments below, and to share this playlist with some one you love

1.    Fallen – Lauren Wood (from Pretty Woman)

You have to wonder why we haven’t heard more of Lauren Wood’s delightfully mature bedroom voice after this song. A generation of young lovers grew up to the sight of Julia Roberts’ curls and the sound of Lauren’s singer songwriter vibe, and we wish there was more of her to hear than just this gorgeous slow jam.

2.   Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein – Dominque Cerejo (from Rock On)

No one does a lazy afternoon sound as beautifully as Shankar Ehsan Loy. This song reminds us of sunlit Sundays, endless cups of coffee; and the bedrock of any successful romance- the conversations.

3.   I Love you – Sarah McLachlan

What is it with these Canadian songstresses and their ability to make you feel the big emotions? Sarah McLachlan’s I Love You is ostensibly a simple song about missing the one you love. But the pathos she builds into her voice as she segues from one impressive vocal bridge to another is guaranteed to make you misty eyed whether you like it or not.

4.   Accidentally in Love – Counting Crows

Isn’t that how the best love stories begin? With an accidental admission, a little bit of reticence and the clang of a thousand cosmic drums in the sky?

5.   Baby Can I Hold You – Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman tells untold secrets, in a voice soaked with pitchers of gin and tonic, laden with regrets and recriminations, and crackling like the pages of an incomplete book.  You share her anger at the lover who disappeared for years, but know; just like her that all he needs to do to make amends is to offer to hold you in his arms

6.   Dil Kho Gaya Hai – Vipin Mishra

As guitarist for Parikrama, Vipin Mishra created a formidable fan following in the heady early days of Indie Rock. His solo songs are mellower and more contemplative but have all the musicality of the best of Parikrama’s output.

(Listen to a sample here)

7.   No Man Will Ever Love You Like I Do – Raghu Dixit

The best of Raghu Dixit reminds us of the best of Indian Ocean. It shares the same playful sense of experimentation, just guys having fun in the recording studio, mixing a bit of beautiful instrumentation here with a little riff there. You can sense the sheer joy of playing together and creating together in their music. And this song with its winking nod to love is as good a representation of their style as any!

(Listen to a sample here)

 8.   Lovestruck Blues – Big Bang Blues

The Big Bang Blues create a sound not dissimilar to the kind you’re likely to hear in the boozy bars of Chicago.  But at the same time they manage to sound distinctly Indian. This little number may take a time to grow on you (it is not particularly easily hummable), but once you do fall for it, you will find yourself listening to it all the time. It is the one song in Vijay’s list which also makes a great background to a messy breakup and the heartache after!

(Listen to a sample here)

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