Shloka for Shiva is crossing borders
World music duo Nirali and Kartik have recreated a powerful hymn with 17 international musicians under lockdown, to offer hope during trying times
In a crisis, collaboration is key, whether political, medical or creative. And digital is the way to go. Maati Baani, made up of Nirali and Kartik, who are known for their world music, decided they were going to be ambitious when they planned to get 17 artistes together from across the world, to record a song, under lockdown, of course. Together, from places as varied as Mumbai, Israel, Russia, Spain, America, Germany and Italy, they performed the Karpur Gauram, an ancient Sanskrit Shloka related to lord Shiva, and a popular aarti in Shaivism. The result is a spiritual but strong rendition, which has you believe in the universal language of music.
Edited excerpt from the interview.
How did you conceptualise the mega project?
Nirali: This is a bittersweet time for musicians and artistes. While we are wondering when the live scene will open, the lockdown has also given us the chance to spend a lot of time to create. We chose to create music that would soothe, help and inspire listeners to hang in there until this phase passes.
We composed Karpur Gauram for the tele serial Devo Ke Dev Mahadev in 2011. This track became immensely popular and some videos of it have enjoyed 45 million views. When we looked at the comments, we saw that quite a few said that the song had helped them calm down, and find their inner energy and peace.
How did you choose the artistes?
Kartik: Since 2012, I have worked with over 200 musicians remotely for Maati Baani's songs. Before approaching them, I assess what a track demands. To jam over the Internet requires time and patience and I have a complete map of the song before I start looking for musicians. I go by the mood of the track.
This song needed a good balance of harmony and percussions, so we have used instruments like the harp, slide guitar and also heavy percs like taiko drums and the tabla. I wanted musicians not only from India, but also from the countries worst hit countries, and that led me to search for artistes in Italy and the US.
What were the challenges you faced?
Kartik: To manage different time zones is challenging, yet when we saw the final result, it was worth the effort. Also a lot of sound recording was done on the phone, which was difficult to mix. But the most challenging for me was to edit the video, which took 20 days.
Nirali: The biggest learning is that the community of musicians can come together for a purpose without so much as knowing each other's language. Music is a very powerful medium for peace.
What kind of effect will the song have on listeners?
Nirali: It's an ancient chant, so, anyone who listens to it feels recharged. The track is being shared on various social media platforms.
To listen YouTube.com/maatibaani
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