L Subramaniam releases video extolling unity

Legendary musicians in India with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Voices and global instrumentalists come together for the violin maestro’s video

Updated - May 20, 2020 06:09 pm IST

Published - May 20, 2020 04:49 pm IST

Most composers have found the lockdown an ideal time to refresh and recharge their creativity. Violin maestro, L Subramaniam, is no different. He released a three and a half minute video based on a verse from the Maha Upanishad underlining the unity of the world on May 20. “The video, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, has been my dream since the lockdown, given that the whole world is affected by COVID-19,” says Subramaniam. “I took the verse I used for the 4th Movement of Bharat Symphony that the City of Chicago had commissioned to celebrate the 70th year of India’s Independence.”

Bharat Symphony premiered in the Millennium Park in September 2017 at the Chicago World Music Festival. It featured Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam as a soloist with a hundred-member orchestra and choir.

Subramaniam says Bharat Symphony was a tapestry of four movements, symbolising the four major periods of India’s musical heritage — prehistoric Vedic, Mughal, British Raj and Post-Independence.

The lines that resonated with the violinist and composer were Ayam bandhur ayam neti gananaam laghu chetasaam udaara charitaanaam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam (this one is my relative, that one is not/ This is how the petty-minded think/ For magnanimous hearts, the whole world is their family). “This powerful verse makes me nostalgic. Now, when the world has to unite as a family, I wanted to make a video of the verse. I wanted to bring out the video before the release of Bharat Symphony as a full-length album.”

The video features musical stalwarts including Pt. Jasraj, KJ Yesudas, Begum Parveen Sultana, SP Balasubrahmanyam, Usha Uthup, Kavita Krishnamurti, Hariharan, Anup Jalota, Suresh Wadkar and Sonu Nigam with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Voices, and instrumentalists from around the globe.

“My wife, Kavita, daughter, Bindu and grand-daughter, Mahati feature in the video. I was able to include four generations of singers. I also have instrumentalists from different parts of the world representing different styles such as Ernie Watts (Jazz, USA), Corky Siegel (Blues Harmonica, USA), Oystein Baadsvik (Tuba, Norway), Jeno Lisztes (Cimbalom, Hungary), Miya Masaoka (Koto, Japan) and my son Ambi and I on the violin.”

Apart from musicians, the video also features dancers with Pt. Birju Maharaj and Hema Malini representing Kathak and Bhartanatya respectively.

Subramaniam was recently asked to become the goodwill ambassador for the Earth Day Network and the artist ambassador of the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation. “I composed music for the Earth Anthem in 2017 for the poet/diplomat Abhay K who wrote the lyrics. I have made two more videos during the lockdown — one for the Earth Anthem, which was released in April and the second for the Earth Song, which Kavita and Sonu Nigam sang.” Future projects include a tribute to doctors and the medical fraternity sung by Usha Uthup and Bindu.

You can view the video here:

Facebook:  https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10158219688514932&id=20826169931?sfnsn=wiwspmo&extid=J4UocUm9bLgrvIOX&d=n&vh=e

Youtube:  https://youtu.be/dOlf-Ho6Kw

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