About: the world this week, 29 May to 4 June 2022, music is strained, a celebrity defamation hearing, a plane crash, ruthless fighting, and a Manhattan seaweed.
We Rapped: Moose Wala
This Sunday, 28 years old Moose Wala an Indian singer, rapper, actor, and politician primarily associated with Punjabi music and cinema was shot dead by unidentified attackers while driving near his village in Punjab State. A Canada-based person, Goldy Brar said to belong to the Lawrence Bishnoi Gang, took responsibility for the killing, in a Facebook account. Reasons unknown. The Police are investigating.
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu was born in Moosa Village, Mansa District, Punjab. He studied Electrical Engineering in Ludhiana and after graduation moved to Canada, in 2016. Sidhu began listening to hip-hop music from the Class 6, and learnt music from Ustad Harvinder Bittu in Ludhiana, before starting to rap. He was heavily influenced by American rapper and actor Tupac Shakur, considered one of the most influential rappers of all-time, with more than 75 million records worldwide to his name.
Sidhu started his career writing music for Ninja (Amit Bhalla-Indian playback singer) and then got his singing career going with a duet song titled ‘G Wagon’.
One year after moving to Canada, Sidhu released his first track, ‘So High’, under the name Moose Wala-a tribute to his village-and gained wide attention.
In 2018, he released his debut Album PBX 1, which peaked at №66 on the Billboard Canadian Albums Chart. Following the Album’s success, he started releasing his songs independently. His 2019 single ’47’ was ranked on the UK Singles Chart. In 2020, Moose Wala was named by The Guardian among 50 ‘up and coming artists’. Ten of his songs have peaked on UK Asian Chart with two of them topping. His song ‘Bambiha Bole’ was among the top five on Global You Tube music chart. In 2021, he released Moosetape, tracks from which charted globally including Canadian Hot 100, UK Asian, and New Zealand Hot charts. I’m breathless, that’s an awesome Chart line-up!
Since then, he has released three albums and more than 60 singles. At one time-the story goes-he was churning out a song a week. And became a household name in Punjab and among Sikhs living abroad. In a career spanning just four years, the rapper had become one of the most ubiquitous faces of Punjab’s fertile hip-hop scene. His voice blares from DJ turntables at Delhi’s flamboyant parties, rickety stereos at tea stalls in rural India and every possible radio channel in Punjab. His very distinctive rapping style enthralled and captured the nuances of life in Punjab.
Drawing heavily from the genre of gangster rap, his music was a jumble of gritty opulence showing-off guns and fancy sports cars, as he tried to make sense of life around him. His songs offered unvarnished commentary on the dark underbelly of the rural heartland, where drugs, crime, and corruption often make headlines.
Rap music is a genre that often has lyrical expressions of revenge. And Moose Wala was no exception to this trend. Jealousy of his rivals was also an overarching theme in his music, which was best captured in the smash hit, Jatt da Mukabla: ‘Don’t flutter so high, you birds, for if I want, I can buy the sky.’
Moose Walla had his brushes with the Law. In May 2020, he was booked for firing an AK-47 rifle at a shooting range during the Covid19 Lockdown. He also had a police case against him for seemingly promoting violence and gun culture through his song, ‘Sanju’. Though never convicted, he was accused of trying to normalise violence.
In politics, Moose Wala was a member of India’s Grand Old Party, The Indian National Congress, and unsuccessfully contested in the 2022 Punjab Assembly Elections, from Mansa.
Unbelievable that Moose Wala had bewitched so many people in such a short period. Wonder who (all) got jealous?
We Sang: KK
This week, Indian Music suffered another hit. Singer Krishnakumar Kunnath, aged 53 years, popularly known as ‘KK’ died of a cardiac arrest hours after performing in a concert at Nazrul Mancha for Gurudas College’s Fest in Kolkatta, after which he fell ill and returned to his hotel. When his condition deteriorated, he was rushed to the hospital where the doctors declared him dead on arrival.
KK sang hundreds of songs during his career which began in the 1990s with advertisement jingles. He made his film debut with an A R Rahman soundtrack called ‘Kallooori Salai’ (College Road) in the Tamil movie, Kadhal Desam.
In 1999, he launched his debut album titled ‘Pal’. The songs ‘Pal’ and ‘Yaaron’ from the album became very popular and are commonly used in school farewells.
His biggest hits and most popular Hindi songs include, Tadap Tadap from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Dola Re Dola from Devdas (2002), the Tamil song, Apadi Podu, from Ghilli (2004), Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai from Woh Lamhe …(2006), Aankhon Mein Teri from Om Shanti Om (2007), Khuda Jane from Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008), Piya Aaye Na from Aashiqui 2 (2013), Mat Aazma Re from Murder 3 (2013), India Wale from Happy New Year (2014), Tu Jo Mila from Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015).
KK’s other famous songs were, ‘Annanoda Pattu’ (elder brother’s song) in superstar Rajinikanth’s Chandramukhi. And by far, his most popular song in Tamil is Uyirin Uyire in the movie Kaakha Kaakha.
The romance of his songs had strings tied to his real life too. KK fell in love when he was in Class 10 and decided he would marry the girl who stole his heart: he proposed to Jyothy Krishna and eventually married her in 1999 when he was on a firm footing in his career. When asked, wasn’t it too early in life to propose, a confident KK said, “It is not about too early, when you feel something here (gesturing towards his heart), just say it.”
KK is survived by his wife, Jyothy Krishna, and his two children, Nakul Krishna Kunnath and Tamara Kunnath.
Wordsworth floods through that inward eye: ‘The music is my heart I bore long after it was no more’.
This Sunday, a Tara Air plane, with 22 people onboard crashed in Nepal. The plane was on a 20 minute flight when it lost contact with air traffic control, five minutes before it was due to land. The plane, made by the Canadian Aircraft firm, de Havilland, had departed from the tourist town of Pokhara early on Sunday, bound for Jomsom a popular pilgrimage site, and never made it.
Four Indians, two Germans and sixteen Nepali passengers were on board the plane. Search teams first located the crash site, one day after the crash. The remains of all 22 people onboard have been found since, after being awfully frustrated by bad weather and the treacherous mountainous terrain.
The four Indian nationals were identified as a family of two divorced parents and their two children, who were travelling together on a family vacation. They hailed from the city of Thane in Maharashtra State. Post-divorce, the family had been spending 10 days together, as per the court order, during which time they go for holidays, every year. Little did they know this would be their last.
“We are sitting on the plane. We will call you when we reach there”. Those were the last words of one of the parents.
Nepal has had a record fraught with aviation accidents, partly due to its finicky weather changes and airstrips located in hard-to-access rocky terrains. Insufficient training and shoddy maintenance have also plagued its air safety record, prompting the European Union (EU) to ban the flights of all Nepalese airlines in its airspace.
In early 2018, a US-Bangla flight carrying 71 people from Dhaka in Bangladesh caught fire as it landed in Kathmandu, killing 51 people.
More recently, three people died in a plane crash in April 2019 when the aircraft veered off the runway and hit a stationary helicopter at Lukla Airport — considered one of the most tricky runways to navigate due to its strong winds and high altitude of 2845 metres.
Nepal has a mountain of work to do, to ensure flight safety. Here’s hoping this is the last such disaster.
We Stopped at Amber, and Heard
In a blockbuster case that was running live on United States (US) Television for the past six weeks, Jurors in the US state of Virginia found that Actor Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean sequels) and Actress Amber Heard (Rum Diary, Pineapple Express) both defamed each other in public statements following their divorce.
Depp actually won his defamation trial against Heard, and Heard lost most of her countersuit, in a stunning finish to the celebrity trial that has riveted America.
Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for defamation because of an Op-Ed she published in The Washington Post in 2018. In the Op-Ed, headlined, “I spoke up against sexual violence-and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change,” Heard never mentions Depp, but she refers to herself as ‘a public figure representing domestic abuse.’ Depp said the article sullied his reputation, and thwarted his career.
Depp, 58, won all three of the claims he had made and was awarded USD 10.4 million in damages. Heard, 36, who had counter-sued for USD 100 million won only one of her three claims against Depp and was awarded USD 2 million.
In its verdict, the seven-member panel said Heard had defamed her ex-husband with false statements about their relationship. They also said the statements were made with actual malice, i.e., with reckless disregard or negligence.
Last heard, Amber Heard was ‘disappointed beyond words’ and ‘heartbroken’ by the verdict.
Depp has been nominated for three Oscars and been named People’s Sexiest Man Alive, twice. And Heard was not much heard of during the time Depp was at the peak of his popularity.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard got engaged in 2014 and married in 2015. Then, in 2016, Heard filed for divorce. Do marriages ever run green in Hollywood? It’s amber or red!
We are Still Fighting Russia
This Friday marks the 100th day of war in Ukraine, and Russia is closing-in on the city of Severodonetsk. Russia now occupies almost of Luhansk and neighbouring Donetsk. And in total, about 20% of Ukraine. The Donbas region is almost entirely destroyed and the destruction in Ukraine defies comprehension. Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin is banking on the world’s indifference to see him through this horrific disaster he created in the first place. And maybe is looking for an opportunity to declare some kind of a victory?
We are Australia
One keeps finding the weirdest things in Australia: be it animal or plant life — on land or under the sea.
The largest known plant on Earth, a seagrass (ribbon weed) roughly three times the size of Manhattan (about 59 sq.km) has been discovered off the coast of Australia.
Scientists have determined that a large underwater meadow in Western Australia is in fact one plant, believed to have spread from a single seed over at least 4500 years. The seagrass covers 200 square kilometres in Shark Bay, about 800 kilometres north of Perth.
The seagrass was discovered to be growing at the rate of 35 centimetres per year. Remarkable for its hardiness having grown in locations across the Bay with widely varying conditions.
More grown stories will be measured in the weeks to come. Rap and sing with World Inthavaaram.