Friday, 28 April 2017

Exploring Dubai via Google Street View

Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a part of the world I’ve never been to, but find interesting. I hope to go there one day. In this post I’m embedding areas from Google Street View of Dubai. I’ll give a description above each embedded view. The user can explore these embedded views in the blog post as well as make the embed full screen via the icon on the right hand side or open it in a larger sized new window by clicking the “View on Google Maps” button. If any of the embedded areas do not load in this blog post, you’ll be able to see them through the “View on Google Maps” button.

Here’s an area by the Dubai Mall. It has short palm trees, a wide calm highway and buildings.

Here’s a nice combination of green grass and buildings in Burj Park.

Fountains, Palm Trees and Buildings.

A nice set of buildings.

A road in Dubai.

A view from the Al Garhoud Bridge.

Festival Boulevard.

Buildings and Palm Trees.

The Emirates Towers.

Buildings, Palm Trees, a Lake and Parklands.

Inside Dubai International Airport.

First Al Khail Street.

Looking up at the buildings.

Buildings on a sunny day.

A view from the bridge on Al A’mal Street

The edge of Creek Park.

Buildings, Cars and Green Scenery.

Buildings, an Overpass, Palm Trees, a Lake and Fountains.

On the D73 Road.

Palm tree paintings.

Inside Dubai Creek Golf.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to comment. I’m interested in hearing from those who live in Dubai, have lived in Dubai or are a native Dubaian.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band Unplugged

This post deals with an imaginary Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band unplugged concert. An unplugged concert consists of no electronic instruments so I envision piano, acoustic guitars, acoustic bass, drums, organ (non-electric) and possibly other non-electronic keyboard instruments used for this concert. This concert would use a non-electric organ that produces a sound as close as possible to that of an electric organ (if one exists). I will now describe how some Bob Seger songs could be done in an unplugged format for this concert.

Hollywood Nights
The intro would be extended played on the piano sticking the melody with some improvisation from Craig Frost (Silver Bullet Band keyboardist) who’d be joined in soon by the other instruments.

This version would start off with the piano, be joined a few seconds later by the organ and few seconds after that by the other instruments. The piano would be more prominent in this version and there’d be an organ solo instead of the guitar solo.

Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
This version would have the strong organ presence as before, but it’d be a bit slower and have the addition of a piano. After the first chorus there’d be a saxophone solo by Alto Reed (Silver Bullet Band saxophonist). After the second chorus there’d be a rocking piano solo followed by the chorus one more time and the singing part at the end of the “Live Bullet” version. This would probably be the longest version of ‘Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man’.

Old Time Rock & Roll
This would be a piano solo version where Bob plays piano (as I’d like to see Bob play more rock music on the piano) featuring piano solos in place of the guitar & sax solos and Bob would ask the audience to clap in the section of the song where it’s just the drums and singing in the original version.

Her Strut
The original version had only electric guitars and I would have liked it if it had keyboards as well so I imagine this version starting off on acoustic guitars followed by Craig Frost’s piano a few seconds later that becomes the main instrument. This version would be a bit slower than the original and feature organ as well. I would love hearing a piano-driven unplugged version of ‘Her Strut’. Bob would play his guitar solo on acoustic guitar which would be followed by a piano solo. In the section just before the singing part at the end it would be piano only with subtle improvisation from Craig and then the other instruments would join in.

Sunspot Baby
This version would have the addition of an organ. The guitar solo in the middle of the song would be re-done as a piano solo and the solo at the end would be re-done as an organ solo.

Till It Shines
In this version the piano would recreate the special electric guitar notes from the studio version with the guitar solo two minutes into the song re-done as a piano solo and the end section would be going back and forth between the piano and the acoustic guitar.

Feel Like a Number
This version would start off with guitars and organ like the original and would have an organ solo instead of the guitar solo.

Miami & The Fire Inside
These songs should be included as due to them featuring acoustic guitar, it would be played with the same set of instruments (aside from the synthesizers on ‘Miami’), but allowing the usual room for changes in a live version. Bob would play piano on ‘Miami’ as he played piano on the studio version of that song.

Even Now
The main difference in the arrangement would be the replacement of the electric guitar with the acoustic guitar.

The Famous Final Scene
This version would be a bit slower with the main difference being no electric guitars and strings.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I didn’t include the number of songs that would be featured in a normal concert as it would go on too long. I might write another post at some stage giving more songs that could be performed at a Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band Unplugged show. I would enjoy hearing readers give their thoughts on the unplugged songs I chose as well as ideas on how other Bob Seger songs could be performed unplugged.   

Friday, 10 March 2017

Api Kawruda by Senaka Batagoda

In this post I am sharing a song I love called ‘Api Kawruda’. This song comes from Sri Lanka and was a Sri Lankan hit by the band Wayo in 2012. However, it was written by a songwriter named Senaka Batagoda whose version remained unreleased until December 2015. While this song is in Sinhalese, it has a Classic Rock feel where I see similarities with the music of my two favourite singers Elton John & Bob Seger. It sounds like Elton John’s song ‘England & America’ from the Deluxe edition of his 2016 album “Wonderful Crazy Night”, with the biggest similarities being the melody and the piano. I also find it to sound like a Bob Seger song (more on that later). I am embedding the song from Senaka Batagoda’s YouTube Channel here, and the YouTube video is a slideshow so the readers can listen to the song as they read this post where I describe it and point out what makes this song special.

It opens with acoustic guitars and is then followed by piano played by Janath Kulathilake. The first verse starts off softly using a mix of acoustic guitar and piano. In the second half of the first verse, the song becomes faster. In the chorus, the piano gets louder and throughout the song it is melodic and gives energy. In the first instance of the chorus, the song is able to be both gentle and rocking at the same time with the piano giving a rock feel. Janath plays a great piano riff throughout the chorus that’s a big part of this song.

The second verse starts off similar to the first verse. About two minutes into the song in the middle of the second verse, we noticeably hear the organ (also played by Janath Kulathilake) which gives the song a real Bob Seger feel being reminiscent of the usage of the piano/organ combination in some Bob Seger songs. After this verse is concluded, electric guitars come in the chorus making the song rock more. Once the electric guitars come, we can see that this song has the Bob Seger sound of piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and organ that he has used in some of his songs. The electric guitars give a new dimension to the song and it’s good to hear the chorus done differently. When the chorus ends there is a great rocking guitar solo which is accompanied well by the piano. The final section of the song is the chorus once again followed by some good electric guitar parts that concludes the song.

I’m writing this post to give exposure to what I see as a great Sri Lankan song to the world. The song has energy, a catchy melody and rocks in a good way. I think Senaka’s voice sounds a bit similar to the Sri Lankan songwriter and performer Clarence Wijewardena. He sings the song with passion that’s part of its strength. I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts on the song. I hope this song will grow in its reach connecting with people in all corners of the world. Thank you Senaka for writing a very special song.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The S Blog One Year On

It was one year ago in mid January 2016 that I launched my blog with the post ‘My fears and hopes for Star Trek Beyond’. My most recent post was ‘Opportunities for Sri Lanka After Recent Disappointments’ at the end of last year. This post is a reflection of my blog in the year that is passed as well as sharing some plans for the future of it. The title ‘The S Blog One Year On’ is a reference to my article ‘Impact of the 19th Amendment One Year On’ where I evaluated the impact of the 19th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution a year after it occurred.

The header of my blog is “The S Blog deals with the interests of a Sri Lankan abroad and is called The S Blog due to the many S topics covered. They include Star Trek, Science Fiction, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Sri Lanka, Songs and even other non S topics.” I have written about every S topic on the list, although I haven’t yet written about Science Fiction that isn’t Star Trek. I intend to write a non Star Trek Science Fiction post at some stage.

I will now show an image of words I’ve used in my 12 blog posts of 2016 created using the site

As of this writing, the post with the lowest views (60) is my review of Star Trek Beyond and the post with the highest views (357) is ‘News of Bob Seger’s Upcoming Album I Knew You When’ where I was discussing Bob Seger’s upcoming album. It pleases me that many Bob Seger fans interested in the topic have discovered that article by searching it on the internet. In fact, when searching ‘Bob Seger I Knew You When’ in Google, my article on the subject is the first result.

My favourite singers are Bob Seger and Elton John, and I do like Piano in Rock music in the the Classic Rock style. One article I wrote ‘Toto Tribute Album’ was an imaginary tribute album to Rock band Toto by big names in Classic Rock and I included Bob Seger and Elton John together as imagining them doing a duet of Rosanna.

I have a great interest in my country Sri Lanka, and hope to see it really improve. On Sri Lankan topics I write about in this blog, I will be writing about Sri Lankan matters I’m into, give my thoughts & analysis on political affairs and share ideas that I feel will benefit & improve Sri Lanka. As I have a planned trip to Sri Lanka in May, this trip will give me lots of information on Sri Lanka to write about. I’m waiting for this trip as it’s been three years since I was last in Sri Lanka.

As for the future of this blog, I intend to feature the same type of posts I’ve done so far as well as different types of posts and on issues I haven’t written on so far. I did write the post ‘Showcasing Sri Lanka from Google Street View’ where I embedded scenes of Sri Lanka from Google Street View and plan to feature Google Street View posts for other parts of the world. I plan to write more posts this year and hope to get more viewers. Another new feature planned in this blog are interviews. 2016 was just the beginning of my blog, with much more to come. I do hope the readers have enjoyed the posts of The S Blog.