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An album for global peace

Posted on 11/10/2019 in The Hindu

  • By: Lavanya Narayanan

    The Thayir Sadam Project teams up with Aruna Sairam in their latest collaborative single

    “We all sat in a room and began to make music. Within a matter of minutes, we knew we had something truly special,” says Aruna Sairam. Alongside her, the young minds of The Thayir Sadam Project, a music collective featuring violinist Ambi Subramaniam and sister and vocalist Bindu Subramaniam, iPad artiste Mahesh Raghvan, mridangist Akshay Anantapadmanabhan and percussionist Karthik Mani, nod in complete agreement.

    They have all worked on collaborations before — in fact, the format is one that The Project, affectionately called ‘The TSP’ is known for. And yet, this year’s release, an amalgamation of multiple lyrics to essay the same, powerful message, is different in more ways than one.

    “Given that this is the first time we are collaborating with Aruna ji, we wanted to do a piece conveying peace and harmony. The famous chant ‘Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu,’ fit like a glove,” Ambi explains.

    Juxtaposed with John Lennon’s much-loved ‘Imagine,’ Ambi and sister Bindu set out to build the track, even incorporating specially-composed Tamil and Kannada lyrics by lyricists Rajalakshmi Balasubramaniam and K. Rohini Subbarathnam.

    “Seeing it all come together was beautiful, not to mention the culmination of the track that involved the voices of our SaPa kids,” Raghvan adds. Including the voices of the TSP’s passion project, a music education programme in local schools called ‘SaPa,’ made the process memorable, particularly for Aruna Sairam.

    “Music is not only about the talent that each artiste brings to a collaboration but also comes about from their feelings, their emotions, and their ability to respect and trust each other. Those qualities make a collaboration truly beautiful and memorable,” says the celebrated vocalist.

    Message of harmony

    The piece, released on Gandhi Jayanthi, spells much more than musical collaboration, while the release date is what the team calls “a sheer coincidence,” they say there is no time like the present to spread messages of happiness and global peace.

    “The lyric – namely, the verse of Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu – reminds us that each and every one of us is a part of the universe and holds the power to positively impact all of creation. It reminds us that to prosper as individuals, we must be able to prosper as a society as well,” Sairam adds.

    In what the team hopes to be received as a “rich, layered track incorporating a myriad of elements working in confluence,” there is hope for a better tomorrow. The piece’s ethos is brought to the fore by Anantapadmanabhan and Mani, who have lent their percussive techniques to the piece’s sound.

    “We’ve tried to complement the lyrics as much as possible. For example, the Tamil and Sanskrit parts sounded earthy and organic, leading me to use instruments that were both melodic and rhythmic — such as the frame drum and ankle bells. Whereas for the English parts, I focused on percussive sounds,” says Mani.

    The track, the artistes say, is a snapshot of what they have learnt throughout the process.

    “The collaboration has been an honest conversation which hopefully gets reflected in the track. Aruna Ma’s positive approach towards exploration and humility towards her art are so inspiring — it’s yet another opportunity for us to learn and grow,” says Anantapadmanabhan.

    “Subramania Bharatiyar says, ‘As long as you treat every day anew, learning something, you are living. Without this growth, you are simply existing.’ With young minds and fresh ideas like these, there is only room to grow,” Sairam smiles.


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