The new homepage, the new year, and Hallelujah!

Firstly, I'd like to wish you all the best for the new year 2009 that has been gifted to us.
I have finally managed to upload SoulPepper to TuneCore, which is presently shipping off my music to iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, AmazonMP3, Lala, Shockhound, and a bunch of other Digital Service Providers. The album is scheduled to go live on the 10th of February, 2009!

So here's the new image for the landing page of

And you can check out the full home page here.

Another piece of news is the posting of my rendition of "Hallelujah" on YouTube. This song is special to me... and I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoy playing my version of it.

"Hallelujah" is a song by Leonard Cohen, notably covered by John Cale, Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and Alexandra Burke amongst others. My personal favourite is KD Lang's version, which I feel is the most emotive and unique. The one with Kurt Nilsen is also really nice. I apologize for some portions of the video being out of sync; I tried my best, but this confounded MIDI latency got the better of me.

The video's right here for you to watch. Have fun!

The Light

I walk down the forest path
The scent of moist mud in my nostrils
A chilled breeze tickles the twilit night
And strokes my face with whispered quietness

Glancing down the mossy way
I stroll, I wander, I wonder, I wander
I observe, I taste the wet night’s delight
The moon softly glows on the waxy forest floor

I am in the darkness. I see but faintly;
I smell, I taste, I hear, I feel, I hear
The things that around me manifest
In the lonely black.

And all at once I see a faint
But brighter than the moon’s silver paint
A pinprick, a flicker, a shimmer, a glow
It’s light.

Queer little flame, in the midst of the darkness
Spreading its light with no inhibition
It regales the night with its colourful empowerment
And lets me see myself.

I look in the warm relief of my eyes
Who have been freshly freed from blunt senility
They roll in jubilance and absorb the ecstasy
That to them has been gifted

I squirm with pleasure and transcendental delight
Nevermore will I be alone in the forests of the night
With the pinprick, the shimmer, the blessed almighty glow
The queer flame, the laughing spark, the closing door.

But the winds of fortune are evil to me
And they find among the leaves the squirming ecstasy
And seek to blow ever harder down the mossy way
I strolled, I wandered, I wondered, I fought.

The winds of change gush into my little world of peace
The queer flame tilts to the side
I cup it with my hands, savoring its presence
Trying to save it from its own frailty

My fingers are muslin, numb, nonexistent
The wind passes through them unfazed
I cry out in desperation and black hope
As the wind subdues the glow and kills it.

Gone is the light, gone with the wind,
As I walk down the forest’s corridor.
Its gift to existence it has decided to rescind.
I wander, but wonder no more.

~ Advait

(Who is the light?)

Kolkata, SoulPepper, and ALL THAT JAZZ!!!

I recently returned from Kolkata, where I was busy in the recording studio - finishing off the rest of SoulPepper! (If you don't know what SoulPepper is, you should check out my website,, for info.
I have a few pictures I'd like to share with you - this is just a preliminary report - the full one's coming a bit later...
Man, I really wish Apple would make a wireless power cord! (?)

Teaching my 2nd keyboardist, Tubai "Tubs" Rai, the chords to "As Long As It Takes"

Pointing out a part in the guitar notation where the incredibly talented Raja had mistranscribed from my demo! 

Kajol Da, my harmonica player, was the only senior citizen on the crew. He'd performed with R.D. Burman, so we all listened intently to what he had to say.

Raja and I.

My super-awesome flautist, "Bappa" Da, who also plays several string instruments of his own invention. One such instrument, the "sanjo" or "banjarod", is featured in "After The Rain".

Well, that's it for now, more later.... cya!

Bluesing along on Wine Glasses

I was on holiday recently, and was lamenting the lack of a piano - Why don't all hotels have pianos in the rooms, dammit? I mean, it's like a basic commodity!

Anyway, I decided to improvise, called room service, and asked for twelve wine glasses. The lady at the other end meekly replied - "but you already have two in your kitchenette, sir!" Hmmph. 

"Ok," I replied, "get me ten, then".

I sat and made a xylophone thingy out of them by filling them with different amounts of water. Then I started playing the blues! Yay!

Thanks to Dad and his handy-dandy camera we got it on film.
Thanks for watching!

© 2008 Advait Sarkar

Lessons learnt from a Mango Seller

I was on holiday in Coorg recently.

On the long six-hour trip to our resort, we saw a whole bunch of fruit sellers in a line on the highway:
As we slowed down to take a picture, a very young-looking boy (whom we later figured out was still in high school) ran up to us to sell us some mangoes.

We took four kilos of some arcane variety of mango. Then, as is the custom, we began haggling to get the price down from Rs.500 to Rs.400 (a difference of approximately $2.50). At this point, the mango boy said - "Please don't haggle. If you people don't give, then who else will?". 

It touched us somewhere inside. It didn't even matter that the mangoes were of poor quality. He was right: who else would pay for his food and education? If we could shell out a couple of bucks for a lousy coffee at some hip restaurant, why were we so stingy with the same cash even when it came to helping somebody out?

We paid. We even stopped on the way back and paid some more. And it felt good.

~ Advait

My brush with fame (literally)

A week ago, I flew to Calcutta to meet the one-and-only Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, one of the two Indian musicians to have ever received a Grammy Award.

As luck would have it, there were as few as seven other people with me as I sat in during a recording session he was doing with Maestro Tarun Bhattacharya, who has been nominated for the Grammy twice. I had a whole lot of fun with them. Here are a few pictures of the session.

1. Tarun Ji at the Santur

2. The Maestros Tuning Up

3. A close up of the "Mohan Veena" ( for more info)

4. Ramkumar Mishra at the Tablas

5. Me with Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Mrs. Bhatt.

Since we offered to accompany Mr. Bhatt around Calcutta (now Kolkata) for the weekend that we were there, I had private, one-on-one talk time with a Grammy winning musician! How cool is that? No, I'll tell you - it was REALLY cool. He's a very down-to-earth person, and listened patiently for me to say what I wanted before countering with his opinions.

On the second night of my stay he had a fantastic concert for Tarun Ji's santur ashram (school), and it was electrifying. There was magic in the music. I'm serious. My friends may make fun of me for liking classical music, but it's my opinion and I've never been prouder of having such an opinion. We even met a very nice man named Mr. Singhania, to whom I mentioned that I'd been playing piano for nearly twelve years, upon which he became very excited and offered to arrange a 2-hour solo piano concert for me! Well, we'll have to see how that pans out.

After that, Mr. Bhatt invited us to dinner! We stayed there until like 3:00 AM (no jokes) talking about the concert and about my future, at which point Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya gifted him a demo copy of SoulPepper. I really, really hope he likes it!

It was a blast. I have never been exposed to much Hindustani music, but this time I had a complete overdose of it, and it left me on high.

~ Advait

My new MX Revolution

Well, after a couple of weeks of slobbering over this mouse on the internet I've finally gotten my hands on one. It's quite a beautiful thing, actually.

Being a long-standing mac fan, I didn't think that I'd be able to adjust to its far-from-minimalist looks, but the sculpted curve of the top fits my hand beautifully and it's a real pleasure to use, especially in contrast to the Apple Mighty Mouse I was using earlier - (Apple has a long history of bad peripherals - the "hockey puck" mouse, iPod headphones etc...)

The mouse has seven programmable controls, including two scroll wheels, one of which is the glorified "hyper-scroll" wheel. The hyper scroll mode, when activated, removes the "click-click" or "ratcheted" feel of traditional scroll wheels. The result: a virtually frictionless wheel that can turn for up to seven seconds with a single flick before it stops - a really handy feature for scrolling long pages.
The mouse comes with clear instructions, a beautiful charging dock, and a tiny (and I mean tiny) USB receiver that works at a 2.4 Ghz refresh rate - very good for everyday use. Pictured above is the mouse in its beautifully designed reflective recharging station - dock for short. The mouse has long-lasting rechargeable lithium ion batteries that charge within three hours, and then last the average user for a week or so. There are three battery indicating LEDs on the side of the mouse that turn red if you need to recharge, so you'll always have fair warning and never lose your mouse in the middle of an intense work session.

A downside to this mouse is that being wireless, the mouse sometimes drops the connection and there is a few milliseconds of lag before it starts up again. This is negligible for the everyday user, but makes this mouse a big no-no for serious gamers that need a lightning quick hardware response. Another thing is that the 800 dpi tracking engine is a very mediocre resolution - again more than enough for the everyday user but totally bad for gamers.


Logitech includes its SetPoint software to configure the mouse behaviour. Though I've heard horror stories about the usability of the windows version, for mac users I can say that the logitech control center is one of the most powerful and easy-to-use mouse drivers I have ever used.

To summarize, this is what I would like to say:
  • I love the design - it's as hot as a mouse could get.
  • It's reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally comfy - you'll feel really weird switching to another mouse after this one, because the design fits all but the smallest hands perfectly. (Logitech is famous for making acquired-taste, massively-sized mice)
  • The battery lasts long, and recharges quickly - a godsend for busy executives
  • The performance of the mouse is rock-solid, and all but the most intense gamers will be satisfied with its response.
I'd definitely recommend buying one to anybody who's interested in speeding up their workflow. Though at $80 it's a bit on the pricey side, it's a one-time investment that pays back for itself in many ways.


Hark, the website hath arrived.

After a lot of pestering, a beta of my website is finally online for all to see! If you want, you can check it out at