Alexa - Amazon Echo
This article is mainly about using the Amazon Echo device in India. However, a lot of the material is probably applicable to all Amazon Echo devices anywhere in the world.
The Amazon Echo series of devices are among the first devices to provide a voice interface to what is essentially an internet connected computer. The other similar devices are the Google Speaker and Apple Homepod. These devices represent the future of computing: a new interface for human to computer communications.
The way Amazon Echo works is by providing a voice interface to various skills. One of the skills is that of playing music, another skill is that of ordering things on the amazon market place. There are many third party skills available too: ordering taxis on uber, ordering food on zomato among others.
The way to get your hands on an Amazon Echo device is by requesting an invitation from Amazon. If you get an invite, you have to order your device in the 2-3 day period that the invite is valid for. You will need to follow the Amazon help article on setting up your device and the set up process is quite easy too. You have to make sure that you have a working wifi connection when you set up your device.
Getting Alexa to Play Hindi SongsThe most satisfying thing about the Amazon Echo device is its ability to play almost any hindi song you can think of. It plays entire movie film albums at your command. This makes great listening to film songs you haven't heard in a long time. One of the best things in this regard is that Amazon has tied up with Saavn to provide access to their vast library of music.
It is most gratifying to listen to old hindi film music, from the sixties and seventies or even earlier. All the great singers come alive and your nostalgia knows no bounds. However, after the first few obvious commands like "alexa play songs by Kishore Kumar" or "alexa play top hits of Mohammed Rafi", you find that the the same songs repeat for the same commands.
There is one simple way to get access to new songs quite easily. Saavn gives you access to radio stations which are essentially playlists of songs with a common thread such as an actor or singer. So, there is a "dev anand" radio station and there is a "kishore kumar" station and many others. The thing about radio stations is that the collection of songs change every day. So, using the command "alexa play station dev anand on saavn" gets you new songs everyday.
After a while, though, you want alexa to play very specific songs. You can try to play specific songs, with commands like "alexa play oh mere sona re" but that gets boring since you have to specify each song to play. So, you try to get Alexa to play an entire album at a time. But this is slightly challenging.
To do this successfully, you may have to specify many things. You start off with something simple: "alexa play album sangam". But this doesn't work. Alexa responds "I could not find the album sangam". So, you give it more information: "alexa play album sangam on saavn" and this works! And this makes you bolder and you want more. Eventually, you can play almost all kinds of albums by specifying more and more information. The list of commands below work. And once you get a sense of the variations, there is no limit to your possible enjoyment.
On the negative side, it can be quite tedious to find the right combination of information required to get Alexa to do what you want. Its like talking to a child who doesn't listen to you but does whatever she wants to. One of the most frustrating experiences with Alexa is getting her to play the album you want her to play and she doesn't. Sometimes, you can tell her to play a song or album till you are hoarse but she just wont understand. This is especially true if the name of the album clashes with a newer one. For example, "Gambler" by Dev Anand is always misinterpreted for "Gambler" by Govinda and you never get to listen to the songs from the older one.
CommandsHere is a list of commands that have worked for me and given me immense satisfaction. Hope it helps you too.
Simple CommandsAlexa play music by kishor kumar
Alexa play music by mohammad rafi
Alexa play songs of sanjeev kumar
Alexa play shammi kapoor playlist from saavn
Alexa play best of kishor kumar
Slightly More Complex Commands
Alexa play golden oldies on saavn
Alexa play mohammad rafi greatest hits on saavn
Alexa play station dev anand on saavn
Alexa play shammi kapoor station on saavn
Alexa play station 90s nostalgia on saavn
Alexa play retro playlist on saavn
More Complex Commands
Alexa play album sangam on saavn
Alexa play album kashmir ki kali on saavn
Alexa play album mere jeevan saathi on saavn
Alexa play album jewel thief on saavn
Alexa play album c.i.d 1956 on saavn ---> played "history of indian film music-vol 20"
Alexa play album asli naqli on saavn
Alexa play album khamoshi in 1969 on saavn
Alexa play album mahal by kalyanji-anandji
Alexa play album aa gale lag ja by kishor kumar on saavn
Alexa play album tere ghar ke samne
Alexa play album nau do gyarah on saavn
Alexa play album teesri manzil on saavn
Alexa play album tere mere sapne ---> plays from Amazon music
Alexa play album yadon ki baarat 1973 on saavn
Alexa play album hum kisi se kam nahin on saavn
Alexa play album dil hai ke maanta nahin on saavn
Alexa play album hum hai rahi pyar ke on saavn
Alexa play album professor 1962 on saavn ---> played "vintage bollywood music: Professor..
Alexa play album daag by laxmiikant-pyarelal
Alexa play album love in tokyo by shankar jaikishan
Alexa play album barsat ki raat by roshan
Alexa play album dil hi to hai by roshan
Alexa play album gumrah by ravi
Promising Commands (Not Yet Attempted)Alexa play album bees saal baad by hemant kumar
Alexa play album saraswatichandra by kalyanji anandji
Alexa play album anari by shankar jaikishan
Alexa play album who kaun thi by madan mohan
Alexa play album love story by rd burman
Alexa play album mere meheboob by naushad
Alexa play album taj mahal by roshan
Alexa play album milan by laxmikant pyarelal
Alexa play album do raaste by laxmikant pyarelal
Alexa play album carvan by rd burman
Alexa play album ran aur sham by naushad
Alexa play album jab jab phool khile by kalyanji anadji
Alexa play album dil toh pagal hai by uttam singh
Alexa play album baiju bawra by naushad
Alexa play album naya daur by op nayyar
Alexa play album junglee by shankar jaikishan
Alexa play album bobby by laxmikant pyarelal
Alexa play album shree 420 by shankar jaikishan
Alexa play album madhumati by salil choudhary
Alexa play album guide by sd burman
Alexa play album awara by shankar jaikishan
Alexa play album barsaat by shankar jaikishan
Alexa play album mere sanam by op nayyar
Alexa play album mera saaya by madan mohan
Alexa play album anarkali by c ramchandra
Alexa play album chori chori by shankar jaikishan
Alexa play album aar paar by op nayyar
Alexa play album parichay by rd burman gulzar
Alexa play album paying guest by sd burman
Commands That Did Not WorkI just could not get alexa to play the album "Gambler" of 1971 although it is there on Saavn. I tried all sorts of combinations like year of release, singer, music director. But it obstinately plays "Gambler by Anu Malik" every time.
I also could not get it to play the album "Talash" of 1969. But I later found that this album is not present in Saavn either.
I struggled to get alexa to understand the word "arzoo" but to no avail. So, it stubbornly wouldn't play this album.