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13 October 2013

The night I saw Barbra Streisand

"Back to Brooklyn" 2012-Oct-13

EXACTLY ONE year ago, I watched Barbra Streisand in concert for the first time in my life. I've been a fan since 1980, and seeing her live 32 years later was a monumental rite of passage. As I write this, I can still feel the sensation of complete, mind-blowing, breath-taking bewilderment when she walked out and performed on stage. This was for real. It was a collision at the crossroads of memories of listening to her music, watching her movies, collecting every available memorabilia in Manila, and always getting inspired by her commitment and dedication to creative excellence.

12 October 2013

FOCAL POINT : Mary J. Blige & Barbra Streisand, "When You Wish Upon a Star"

When You Wish Upon a Star

How I would have imagined the cover art
Image source: Paul Ancheta's Photobucket

MARY J. BLIGE has recorded a duet with Barbra Streisand on the 1940 standard “When You Wish Upon a Star” (from “Pinocchio”). The song appears on Ms. Blige's new A Mary Christmas CD, her first holiday collection. This is also the first time the two singers performed together—an inspired choice, considering how their styles so totally differ. Ms. Blige explains to Essence Magazine that she was “definitely not trying to make hip-hop soul Christmas songs or some club music Christmas songs . . . I don't like when people take the nostalgia out of the classics.”

Ms. Streisand and Ms. Blige have certainly taken the nostalgia out of this classic Disney song. It swells with orchestral strings, and then soars with those two voices. Their harmony on the title line is a pleasant sound. Who would have known a hip-hop diva and a theatrical queen would blend so well? Listen to the track; it's bound to be a regular Christmas staple:

05 October 2013

TRAVEL TALES : Stuck in strike in Vijayawada

MG Road in the day

THE MOMENT I switched on my mobile phone after landing in Vijayawada City in southern India yesterday, five missed calls registered.  They were from the head office, wanting me to return to Mumbai immediately. Unbeknownst to me (and them), a three-day public strike had formed in Vijayawada on the day I landed. From what they'd heard on media, the agitation in the city streets was ferocious and therefore unsafe. The alarm bells rang too late: return flights were no longer available. I had no choice but check into the nearest hotel for overnight safety. Besides, I wasn't really keen on lugging back to Mumbai a humongous package of display materials that I needed for opening a Globus store in this city.