Every great thing must come to an end

They say every good thing must come to an end. So must Blogswara. Yes, we are going to put a full stop to our project after 6 years, 7 albums, 65 songs and a whole new bunch of amazing singers, lyricists, composers, orchestrators and mixing engineers.

Interestingly, we’d never thought past a single music album. Those were the good old days of music blogging and many singers were just beginning to find their listener base online. We thought of bringing all these musicians together under one umbrella and that too, to create a set of original songs and music. Thus was born our first album. And that was four months before Facebook opened up to public.

The journey went on. What we thought would come to an end after the first two albums had kept going on strong and in the meanwhile new platforms were born. A whole new world of social media exposure was waiting for the artists to explore them. Still, we went strong. We produced seven music albums. We inspired people and similar projects/websites. It is truly a moment of pride. But over the years, the momentum was slowing down. There are richer and easily accessible platforms that handle the publishing and sharing aspects easier than ever, like Facebook or YouTube.

That was obvious and inevitable, by the way. You don’t have to get stuck in time with a project that was a need of the hour when there was none but to continue to do it when there are better platforms does not make sense. Now if there is an amateur singer who wants to make his voice heard in the public can create a network through social media and make himself heard. We realize that and it is one reason that we are leaving for good.

We are proud to see that some of the artists whom we had introduced through Blogswara have made it big in the mainstream. Divya S Menon has made her mark with the song “Anuraagam” in the Malayalam movie “Thattathin Marayatthu”. Shyam, Praveen and Prasanna of TSJ Studio have made their debut in the Tamil film music industry with the album “Kamban Kazhagam”. Praveen Lakkaraju, Sreenivas Josyula and Sindhuja Bhaktavatsalam made their entry into Telugu music industry with the movie album “Hormones”. Sunny Sanour made his entry as a music director to Telugu music industry with the songs in the Telugu film “Swamy Ra Ra”. We are so happy and proud of these wonderful musicians.

Blogswara is a project that is so close to my heart. The project had taught me that regardless of many differences – regional, linguistic, caste, creed, religious, political etc – people can come together to create something that will make everyone rejoice in music. Most of us have still not seen each other or spoken to each other, yet we have built a relationship strongly rooted in music that continues to the date. It is music that binds us all, which is why I chose the tagline “United in Music” for Blogswara.

Personally too, Blogswara has helped me learn many things. The early lessons of leadership and organization, the pains and pleasure of it, came through Blogswara. I can proudly say that I have never succumbed to the pressures that would compromise the very founding principles of Blogswara. There were times when the pressure was mounted up on me to bring in the commercial aspect to Blogswara, or to bring in the religious fervor to it through the songs but I have resisted all that. I would rather see Blogswara vanish to thin air than deviating from it’s founding principles. Of the free/open music culture with CC licensing and the secular nature of the project. Of bringing in people of diverse cultures and languages in an effort to appreciate music. I can proudly say that I have been successful in that.

Another moment of pride was when Jessica Keyes, a student of Department of Music in University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada chose  music blogging with a primary focus on BlogSwara for her academic defense. Her paper titled “Blogging Music: Indian Musicians and Online Musical Spaces” presented an ethnography of the Indian music blogging community and a critical analysis of the historical and technological foundation for music blogging.

There are so many people to thank. Narayanan Venkitu and Ajith Gopalakrishnan to start with. Senthil (Sen) for the spark of Blogswara. Ganesh D for the name Blogswara. Abdul Shafeeq for the initial art work and CD covers. Gopal M S for the name ‘Trunk Call’. Murali Krishnan of Connexions, Chennai for the initial support. Jyothis E for the continued support with web space through many albums. Nandu Mahadevan for bringing in a process in place. Roshan Ravi for the cover art of Blogswara’s album ‘Trunk Call’. Legendary Tamil writer Sujatha for his piece in Vikatan, Karthika Thampan of Manorama News, Asha Anilkumar of Indian Express, Shilpa Nair Anand of The Hindu, K Santhosh of The Hindu, Anita Iyer and Aparna Joshi of Sound Box Magazine, Sankar Radhakrishnan of Business Line, B S Biminith of Mathrubhumi, Deccan Radio, Poornima for Radio Mirchi Chennai coverage and bloggers like Amit Verma, Kiruba and Neha Vishwanathan of Global Voice Online etc. And many thanks to all Blogswara participants and member without whom this project would never have happened.

And thanks to you, our listeners, who have encouraged us and helped us grow. We will still be online if you wanted to hear our songs again. It has been a great ride and it couldn’t have gotten better. Peace and music to all!

Blogswaraites have gone mainstream!

Sindhuja Bhaktavatsalam

Sindhuja Bhaktavatsalam

Divya S Menon

Divya S Menon


Praveen Lakkaraju

Sreenivas Josyula

Sreenivas Josyula

After TSJ Studio, who have made their entry into Tamil film music recently, few more talented people who have worked with Blogswara earlier have made their debut in the mainstream film music industry. Divya S Menon, though she had lent her voice earlier in the movies, has sung a solo song called “Anuraagam” in the upcoming Malayalam movie “Thattathin Marayathu“. Sindhuja Bhaktavatsalam sang “Vatapi Ganapatim” for the Telugu movie “Hormones” that is set to music by Blogswara artists Praveen Lakkaraju and Sreenivas Josyula. Wishing all the very vest to these artists for a bright musical career!

Blogswara Version 8 – inviting entries!

Blogswara is inviting entries for the 8th online album. Those who are interested may leave a comment in our blog and go through the process page. Even though I was contemplating the relevance of Blogswara among an increased number of platforms available to musicians, I have been convinced that still a lot of people are looking forward to Blogswara to showcase their original work. So the journey started way back in 2006 is still going strong after six years and now on to the eighth album! Welcome aboard.

Blogswara, and taking stock of 2011

First of all, I’m happy to announce that Blogswara has released it’s 7th online album called Trunk Call on January 1st, 2012. I’m so glad to see that the support and enthusiasm for independent music has still not died down and Blogswara still generates interest after all these six years and six albums. Do listen to the four new tracks in Hindi, Malayalam English and Arabic. Do share it if you like the songs.

The year 2011

2011 was not a great year at all. My music posts and ordinary blog posts have seen a slow-down in 2011. I have posted only 5 songs in the last year. Though the year began with an original composition, that too a new year song, it slowed down. I can only hope that 2012 would get better. My father passing away was one major personal incident happened in the last year. Finances sucked throughout the year and expenses went sky-high, but none of them were avoidable.

On the positive front, I realized that Blogswara can still generate interest from many quarters. When I announced Trunk Call, the new Blogswara album with a theme, we had received 19 song announcements (though only 4 of it could make it to the final versions). Now I am sure that the spirit of independent music and Blogswara will continue to grow. Also I learned to drive a car in the last year. My ‘vintage’ second hand Maruti 800 has helped me experience the pleasure of driving, though I hate driving in the city on a weekday.

One of the good things that happened last year was that I started writing features for Sound Box magazine, a unique music industry magazine that has bagged a silver (in the Best  New Publications category for 2010) at ABCI awards in it’s very first year. I have always enjoyed writing and one of those childhood dreams was to be a writer. And I’m happy and proud that I am now writing on my favorite topic, music, in country’s premiere music trade magazine. My first feature in the magazine was about music blogging, titled Net Gain published in March 2011, an area that I had been actively promoting online and offline ever since I enjoyed the perks of music blogging right from 2005.

I also had an opportunity to host a radio show last year. Hosting the one-hour show “Hridayapoorvam” in All India Radio, Thrissur station was an exciting experience. I recorded in the same studio where I had recorded the first song I wrote and composed (and that was long back) and the memories poured in. Also had a good experience with a short film I made on a mobile phone. 🙂

What I learned in 2011…

…was more of what I learned in 2010 – about how to treat people with what they deserve. I was hesitant though I told myself that I would be nice only to those who are nice to me. This year, I believe I have learned more about dealing with people who take advantage of my weakness (of being nice) and give them back in the same coin. People among family and friends. And on the family front, Ryan is lighting up our days. It’s so wonderful to see him grow.

So that sums up an year and I am hoping for the best in 2012. Here are some blog posts I enjoyed writing and think that you would enjoy reading too.

Music posts

Happy New Year and a song!
Pavizham Pol
Nilaa Nilaa Mizhiye
Baliyaay Thirumunpil
Mazha Njaan Arinjirunnilla

Blog posts

Liu Xiaobo – A saint or a hypocrite?
To all the girls I loved before…
Save the space, please
Bringing back original instruments to music
The Drop-out Syndrome
A note to M Jayachandran, the music director
Hazare, the Hero
Anna Hazare and the Great Indian Middle-class
Redefining entertainment digitally
I don’t bleed blue; I never will
Enabling mobile technology for music
Thrissur Pooram 2011
Life, on a journey
The useless ‘royal, divine wealth’
Kerala’s YouTube Stars!
About friends and friendship
A young man’s tale
Group Activity
Da Vincing Code
The state of music retailers
Jagathy vs. Ranjini – What’s missing in the debate
Jan Lok Pal – the interim FAQ
The Steve Jobs effect
Yesudas – fifty years on
Santhosh Pandit vs. Malayalam Media/Cinema
My dear Appu

Trunk Call – song teasers posted!

Trunk CallWe are so happy to post the song teasers from Trunk Call, the upcoming Blogswara album! Trunk Call is the first of it’s kind in the history of Blogswara as the album has a central theme of bi-lingual songs which brings in the flavors of different languages and music genres into each song.

Contrary to the previous albums of Blogswara (earlier, Blogswara let itself to be the platform for ready-to-publish songs so people could send in what they had ready at hand), we had asked the song teams to work on a central theme that required each song to have a minimum of two languages. The theme stands close to the very basic principle of Blogswara, which is to unite people from different places using music as the medium to communicate. Even though we had received 19 song teams announcing their participation, only 6 song teams had submitted the songs out of which only 4 could make it to the final list. So we thank all the 4 song teams who took an extra effort to create new songs based on the given theme.

So here it comes, the song teasers from the upcoming album. Listen, share and show some love! 🙂 The new album will go live online (need I say that the entire album is free to listen and download?) on January 1st, 2012. So stay tuned for the full versions!

Brainstorming Blogswara

Blogswara logo

Starting from the year 2006, Blogswara has released 6 online albums with 61 original songs in 5 Indian languages (Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada) by 101 individual artists. So much effort has gone into the release of each Blogswara album by everyone involved in this project. What Blogswara aimed for was never a commercial benefit out of it, or to make a band of our own, but to promote amateur music and give a platform for musicians who otherwise would not have been heard in the public. People who have participated in Blogswara have dreamed of sharing the music for free using the power of Internet. Many people who have participated in the Blogswara, who have worked together on a song, have not even met in the real world but made music happen. It was proof that music can unite people. It was all this and much more that has kept the spirit of Blogswara going.

But we think not everything is fair. Our audience has been consistent but limited, considering the wide reach that the Internet offers. And I think that the Blogswara members / musicians deserve a wider audience for the effort they put in. And we tried to reach out to the world. We had our bit of media publicity too. But it seems that the best way to reach out to a wider audience is through tapping the offline audience that comes in huge numbers.

You need money and marketing techniques to promote an album offline. Since Blogswara is a non-profit entity, it is impossible to pour in money. The other way is to get your songs and the concept aired through the radio – but they don’t seem to be interested in broadcasting anything other than filmy music.

At this moment, I think the time has come to think of a revamp, a fresh outlook to the whole concept. Keeping in mind that the very idea of Blogswara came through various discussions with online friends, I request you to put your thoughts, answers or criticism in the comments section.

  • Do you think it is time to bid good-bye to Blogswara? A concept that has been widely admired over these years by anyone who have heard of it? If so, why?
  • What can be done to bring more life to the concept, keeping the founding concepts in mind?

Please take your time and give us your thoughtful inputs. look forward to that. Thank you!

Blogswara in the news – again!

I must thank Indian Express for their continued support to a non-commercial platform like Blogswara. This article appeared in their Kochi edition in the beginning of the month. Thanks to you guys, for your continued support to sustain the uncelebrated, off-stream music. (By the way, have you heard the songs yet?)

Express Features

First Published : 05 Mar 2010 12:48:00 AM IST

KOCHI: Blogswara , the internet music community that acts as a common platform for amateur musicians, has released its sixth album.

The album has 14 songs sung by 22 new artists in four Indian languages.

A free music movement where visitors/ listeners can listen and download mp3 files free of cost, Blogswara (www.blogswara.in) began as a blogging initiative by a few people around the globe, who loved to sing.

Till date, many of the singers associated with Blogswara have not met each other.

According to Joseph Thomas, who was one of the first to launch the concept of Blogswara, the attempt is to showcase the hidden talent of amateur singers before the world by producing original music and sharing it over the internet.

“Soon after the release of Blogswara version 5, we had begun with the work of the 6th album. For the first time, we have included a Telugu song, last time we had included a Kannada song. It’s the first time that so many amateurs are joining the effort, last time we had 15 new singers,” says Joseph.

Professional singers like Pradeep Somasundaram and TV anchor Divya have also rendered their voice for the album.

Blogswara proves that people, wherever they are or whatever languages they speak, can come together for a cause – here the cause being music.

And the digital age has made it easy for them to collaborate, the blog says.

True to its tagline, ‘United in Music’, the album has many lyricists and music composers from across the globe, who worked from their respective places together to come up with the album.

News link here

Blogswara V6 – Released!

What better way to celebrate this year’s Holi! Celebrate it musically!! Go and listen to the songs from Blogswara‘s 6th online album which has just been released. This album comes with 14 songs in 4 Indian languages and 22 new artists. Listen to the songs from the website and share the buzz with your friends. Tweet it, blog it, post it in your Orkut/Facebook pages and show support the best platform available for free independent music and let the Blogswara saga continue!

Our special thanks to Jyothis E for his continued support in providing the space to host the songs and to Pradip Somasundaran for all the technical help extended. Thank you both! And to the panel members who spent their time reviewing the songs – Vijay, Nandu, Roshni and JK. Thank you!!

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