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My songs are obvious, or ought to be. There's an effort in writing them, sometimes delicate, sometimes stubborn. But in the ones that make it to my lips (or to my throat really), the craft doesn't weigh heavily. I'm not trying to leave chisel marks.

Song is an unfathomable inheritance, the neanderthal of literature. Songs nestle in the mind, and yield to fondling by the tongue. I do write these because I want to feel them. Like a prescient grandmother, I can tell when they've become pregnant, and then I begin to repeat to savor.

My songs contain an invisible identity. They're naturalized, not born. If you're into Carnatic music, you've got the babelfish, and you'll hear easter eggs everywhere. I'm not intent on representing - they're just good, if they are.

What they're about is a barrel-o-monkeys. Sacred music beats everything in rock paper scissors. I have a laundry list of annotations for each song, according to its poetics, its references to what-have-you, its special meanings needing 'splaining.

But don't worry about the hidden files - just play the game. In the lingua franca, lilt gives lay. Each song has a way it pulls the pocket. That's one of the main things. There's also the matter of "schwakaram", i.e. the integration of boredom into a good life.

The tunes have hidden corners which I didn't invent. I kinda sing old music. Singer-songwriter is an old profession too.

A mridangam drummer from Kalamazoo told me about "contrafacta", and yes, that's what they are. They follow a disciplined song form. Movements are iterative, and violations are deflating. They are meant to give glory by being healthy. Yes, I aim for perfection, but gimme a break.

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[ Buy the Songbook ] which On These Songs above is the afterword.

[ Handle the Songbook ]
@ The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

[ Preview the Songbook ] printed @ "The Possible"
Exhibition, BAM/PFA 2014.

[ Hear a few Songs ] sung @ "The Possible"
Exhibition, BAM/PFA 2014.